Aggravation Of Pre-Existing Conditions
Most of us experience some medical problems as we age. For many workers, these medical conditions can worsen as a result of job-related activity. Often, it is not a sudden accident that results in significant medical expenses and difficulty working, but a gradual onset of physical ailments that get worse and worse, until working in the same position, with the same duties, becomes impossible.
Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits are available to workers who have a pre-existing medical condition that worsens due to job-related activity. Very few workers are in perfect health, and repetitive stress injuries can arise even if you have taken precautions against further injury.
It is important to begin working with an attorney as soon as possible after becoming seriously injured because of work-related activity. There are strict deadlines to file a workers’ comp claim.
Ohio Workers’ Comp Law On The Aggravation Of Pre-Existing Conditions
Under Ohio law, pre-existing conditions are generally not compensable in workers’ compensation. The only time an injured worker is able to receive benefits for a pre-existing condition is if he or she can prove that:
- The current medical condition is related to job duties
- It is medically necessary to now obtain treatment or refrain from current job duties
As to the first point, a pre-existing condition can be an allowed condition when the injury you have would not have occurred unless your work caused it to occur. For example, if you previously had a back condition, but repetitive stress from lifting heavy boxes as part of your work led to a torn disc, you may qualify for benefits.
As to the second qualification, pre-existing conditions may influence the treatment of other injuries you sustained on the job, leading to workers’ comp benefits. For example, diabetes can affect your recovery from surgery. So, if you had back surgery from a work-related injury that is covered by workers’ comp, the costs associated with your further treatment for diabetes will also be covered. However, the diabetes will not be an allowed condition under your workers’ comp benefits alone (because it isn’t work-related).
We Offer Free Consultations
If you are unsure about whether a pre-existing condition may qualify for workers’ compensation, contact our Cincinnati office to schedule a free initial consultation. Our experienced lawyers have been helping injured workers for over 40 years, and we accept no legal service fees unless we help you obtain benefits.