Working a demanding job when you already have an injury can be a recipe for medical disaster. Even if your symptoms are currently under control, the work that you do may eventually lead to them flaring back up again.
You might think that you can handle the obligations that come with being an administrative assistant despite your carpal tunnel or that you can work on an assembly line with a bad shoulder or a history of hernia issues. Unfortunately, the work that you do on the job could make a pre-existing injury much worse. It could go from something you can live with or ignore to something that affects your quality of life and your work abilities.
If the medical issue you have stems from a preexisting condition, you might feel like you have limited options. A surprising number of people think that Pennsylvania workers’ compensation won’t cover a pre-existing condition. However, there are situations where it will.
Is your worsening condition a result of your job?
If the medical professionals who treat or evaluate you agree that your condition stems from your job responsibilities, you can theoretically claim workers’ compensation benefits. The only time a worker’s injury suffered on the job doesn’t qualify is if it is the result of employee misconduct or lawbreaking, such as performing job responsibilities while under the influence of illegal drugs. The Pennsylvania system does not have exemptions or limitations for pre-existing conditions.
Neither your employer nor their insurance company can deny your claim simply because you already had similar injuries or symptoms in the past. So long as your current flare-up is the direct result of your job, your current injury and symptoms should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Preexisting conditions can complicate claims
While those with pre-existing conditions have a valid claim for benefits, they can have more difficulty initially getting approval. You may need to pay close attention to detail when applying and to provide sufficient medical documentation if you have to appeal a denial or negotiate your claim for benefits.
The better you understand the workers’ compensation system, the easier it will be for you to get benefits for your injury.