Will a Pre-Existing Injury Bar Me from Filing a Workers Comp Claim?

We don’t walk through life unscathed, no matter how careful we are. Recent statistical data show that between 20 and 50 percent of American adults live with a pre-existing condition or injury. The question is: if you are one of them, can you still file a workers comp claim? A Bluffton workers comp lawyer will explain your rights in detail for your specific situation.

In this article, we will discuss the general aspects related to workers compensation and pre-existing conditions in South Carolina.

Workers Comp Laws Do Not Exclude Workers with Pre-Existing Injuries

South Carolina law on the workers compensation system does not include any clause barring people with a pre-existing injury from filing a claim. The system is created to offer workers injured on the job compensation for medical care costs and wage replacement.

Even if you are more fragile and at risk to suffer severe injuries, you still have the right to receive workers comp benefits. However, you will need an experienced attorney to win your claim.

Common Pre-Existing Conditions that May Get Worse after a Workplace Accident

Now let us define the concept of pre-existing condition in the context of workers compensation laws. Here are some examples:

  • Arthritis – this is a general name for several conditions resulting in the inflammation of joints
  • Herniated disc – which can be caused by a sudden trauma (car accident) or repetitive lifting of heavy items
  • Torn ligaments
  • Autoimmune conditions – including diabetes, lupus and inflammatory bowel disease (also known as Crohn’s disease)

What You Need to Prove in Order to Get Benefits

The insurance company assigned to your claim will start by claiming that your current symptoms are a result of your pre-existing condition, not the workplace accident. Thus, they will try to deny your claim.

Your lawyer will have to prove that the accident:

  • Exacerbated an old injury
  • Aggravated a pre-existing health condition
  • Made an old injury flare up again
  • Made your overall physical condition worse

To do so, the lawyer will need access to your medical records and to talk to your doctor. Armed with pre- and post-accident diagnostic tests and medical observation, the attorney will be able to prove that you are eligible to receive workers comp benefits.

old injuries do not exclude you from workers comp benefits

How to Maximize Your Chances of Filing a Workers Comp Claim Successfully

Hiring a Bluffton workers comp lawyer is one of the best decisions if you have a pre-existing condition and want to file a claim for workers comp benefits. But you also need to protect your rights by following these useful tips:

Document Your Accident Diligently

The best way of proving that you suffered injuries in the workplace accident is taking lots of photos and videos at the scene. Focus on your visible injuries and on what caused your accident.

These photos will be more effective than one thousand words when your attorney starts negotiating your claim. When the adjuster tries to downplay your injuries, the images of your wounds and lacerations will speak louder than any claim.

Obtain Testimonies from Co-Workers

Eyewitness testimonies are also very powerful pieces of evidence in a workers comp claim. If the area where you were injured is not covered by CCTV cameras, these testimonies will serve as unbiased evidence of your accident.

You must note that some of your colleagues may not want to get involved in your claim for fear of employer retaliation. Do not insist and force them to give a testimony against their better judgment, as they may recant later and hurt your chances of winning benefits.

Tell Your Lawyer about Your Pre-Existing Condition

Last but not least, make sure you inform your lawyer about your old injury or pre-existing health condition. You cannot keep it hidden, because the insurance adjuster will find a way to access your medical records.

No matter how skilled the attorney is, it is much harder to negotiate without this critical piece of information. So, be honest and trust your lawyer to find the best tactic to win your benefits.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Skilled Bluffton Workers Comp Lawyer!

After a workplace injury, you have the right to file a workers comp claim and obtain benefits. However, insurance companies will try to deny your claim in any way they can. And a pre-existing condition is often used to justify this denial, although it is not legal.

To protect your rights, you need the professional and aggressive defense of a Bluffton workers comp lawyer at McDougall Law. We do not let insurers take advantage of injured workers and deny their rights.

As a new client, you benefit from a free case review, so call us as soon as possible after your accident at 843-588-1795!