If a work accident makes an existing condition worse, Virginia workers’ compensation law may provide benefits for the injuries caused by the accident. However, a pre-existing injury or condition complicates your claim considerably. In any case involving aggravation of a previous health problem by a job-related accident, getting assistance from a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after the accident is the best approach to ensuring you receive the benefits you deserve under the law.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law on Pre-Existing Injuries
A substantial body of case law from Virginia state courts and Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission decisions provide interpretations of the provisions of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. Those opinions clearly establish that a pre-existing injury does not preclude an injured worker from receiving benefits for an injury received in a work-related accident.
Virginia law from court opinions states that an employer takes an employee as they are. If the employee has an on-the-job accident that accelerates, exacerbates, or aggravates a pre-existing injury or condition, the employer is usually responsible for the injury resulting from the accident. Court decisions do make a major exception to this principle if a claimant misrepresented the pre-existing condition to the employer when the employment relationship was established.
Some court decisions involving previous injuries allow benefits and others deny benefits. The outcome in any case involving a pre-existing injury depends significantly on the facts in the case, as established by the evidence provided by the worker and the employer. That means it is paramount to provide the right evidence in a case, and apply the law to the facts correctly. Those are both extremely important reasons why you should have assistance from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if you have a case involving a pre-existing injury.
Getting Workers’ Comp Benefits in a Pre-Existing Injury Case
An important rule for the worker to remember if a work accident aggravates a pre-existing injury is to always tell the truth about the pre-existing condition from the very beginning of the claim process. Trying to hide the previous injury can create problems with your claim. With the help of a skillful workers’ compensation lawyer, you can be proactive about the prior injury and develop evidence to substantiate your claim for the injury caused by the work accident.
The employer and insurance company likely will try to use the pre-existing condition to deny or reduce your claim, but that ploy can be overcome by solid evidence that supports your case. Your claim is more complex if an accident worsened a pre-existing condition, but in many cases, you are still eligible to receive benefits. You and your lawyer will together to compile medical and other evidence that supports your claim for benefits from the accident injury.
In addition to compiling medical records and evidence about your previous injury and the injury from your work accident, you and your attorney need to document your life and your abilities both before and after the accident. Information about your work abilities and duties is extremely important. So are details about your family and leisure activities before and after the accident.
Documenting all the details about your work and life before the accident and after the accident is critical to establishing your entitlement to benefits. Often, a log of daily activities, pain levels, and medical treatments is part of the evidence you compile to support your case.
Your workers’ compensation claim is much more complex if you had a pre-existing injury before your work accident. But with help from an attorney, you can still recover benefits in many cases.
When Should You Talk with a Lawyer?
For any workers’ compensation claim, talking with a lawyer as soon as possible after a work accident is important. For a claim involving a pre-existing injury, contacting a lawyer immediately is especially crucial. You should expect the insurance company to create problems because of your previous injury. A lawyer can help you address those issues and get your claim started on the right track.
Virginia workers’ compensation benefits include medical treatment and expenses, as well as wage loss compensation. To make certain you receive all the benefits you deserve, get help from an experienced workers’ comp lawyer at the earliest possible time after your work accident.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you have an accident at work that worsens a pre-existing injury, you can count on our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys to make certain you recover the benefits provided under Virginia law. Our Richmond injury lawyers at Renfro & Renfro are here to help with your claim and work with you closely throughout the entire process. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation.