Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation If My Injury Made My Pre-Existing Condition Symptomatic or Made it Worse?
Yes. You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if it made your condition worse or you have new symptoms.
We all have physical problems, whether it is the degenerative arthritis that most people develop over time, or it could be a condition such as a bulging disk that becomes a herniated disk because of a work injury. It doesn’t matter – an employer is responsible for providing workers’ compensation benefits when a work-related incident makes you worse or makes a previously unsymptomatic condition symptomatic.
For example, you might have worked for many years in a job that made you lift or bend a lot. Over time, you might develop a herniated disk or have problems that require knee surgery. As long as your doctor confirms that your job activity made you worse, even if it is the type of activity everyone in that job does. Our office has handled many cases like this. We had two clients who repaired 747 airplanes for UPS, and both blew out their shoulders. We obtained workers’ compensation benefits, then got them a large cash settlement. We had another client with a rare condition known as cryoglobulinemia, which is made worse by the cold. The client was the frozen food manager for a local supermarket. We had to take his case to Commonwealth Court, but ultimately, he was paid all of his wage losses and a large cash settlement.
So, yes, the easy answer is that the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act covers all injuries that happen during a worker’s employment – even if there were underlying conditions before you were unable to work. It is important to tell your employer about your symptoms as soon as possible because they often claim that workers never said a word and try to avoid paying benefits using this loophole.
We understand the workers’ compensation system and the situation and regularly advise clients on handling pre-existing and asymptomatic conditions.
If you would like to speak with our office about a work injury or occupational disease, call (610) 446-3457, send an email, or fill out the form below and we will respond promptly. All workers’ compensation matters are handled on a contingent fee basis, which means that you only pay a fee if our office gets you benefits or successfully prevents your employer from stopping your benefits.