Preexisting Conditions & Workers’ Compensation in Georgia
What happens is a preexisting medical condition is made worse by your job? Is it covered by workers’ compensation? Do you have to disclose your condition to your work before filing for workers’ comp in order to be eligible?
These are questions many people ask themselves when they find themselves in need of workers’ compensation benefits. In Georgia, there are situations where an employee can claim benefits for a preexisting condition, but only under certain circumstances. We discuss some of the rules regarding workers’ comp and preexisting conditions below.
Call (770) 629-9321 to speak with our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney if you have a preexisting condition that has been made worse from work.
What Is a Preexisting Condition?
Preexisting condition does not mean a condition you had before you started your job, though these do qualify as preexisting condition. However, that definition alone does not include conditions that manifest while you are employed that had nothing to do with your work. For instance, if you developed diabetes after you started work, and your job did not contribute to the development of your illness, then it would be considered a preexisting condition.
If you started suffering complications from your diabetes because your work did not accommodate for you to properly manage your condition, then you may be able to file a workers’ comp claim for aggravation of a preexisting injury.
Can I Claim Workers’ Compensation for My Preexisting Injury?
In Georgia, you cannot file for workers’ comp to treat your preexisting injury, but you can file if your injury was made worse because of work. Most cases of preexisting workers’ comp claims involve muscle and joint pains. If you had degenerative disc disease, and your back started experiencing more pain as a result of heavy lifting at work, you should have grounds for a workers’ comp claim.
Do I Have to Notify My Employer of My Preexisting Condition Before It Is Aggravated at Work?
In most cases, no, your employer does not need to be aware of your preexisting condition in order to file a workers’ comp claim for an aggravated injury. Informing your employer of these injuries can make it easier to file a claim should the need arise, but it is not required.
As it happens, you do not even need to be aware of a preexisting condition to file a claim for an aggravated injury. This is because there are instances where people have asymptomatic conditions, meaning that they have had the condition for some time but it was not causing them any noticeable discomfort. It can be difficult to prove the existence of this preexisting injury to an insurance company, but a skilled workers’ comp attorney can help you with this.
Do I Need an Attorney?
You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when a preexisting condition is aggravated by work, but the insurance company may be skeptical of your claim. They will likely start investigating your claim and contact you to ask probing questions about your medical history. Though the agent you speak to may seem friendly, the company as a whole is only interested in diminishing your claim so they can minimize their expenses.
When you hire an attorney, they can speak with the insurance company on your behalf. It then becomes your lawyer’s job to prove the validity of your claim. Our Atlanta workers’ comp attorney interacts with insurance companies on a regular basis. He understands how to handle these claims so that our clients receive everything they are entitled to.
Make sure your workers’ compensation claim is taken seriously. Contact us at (770) 629-9321 to arrange a meeting at the Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC.