When you are injured on the job or suffer from an occupational disease, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation for your injuries. But what happens if you suffer from a pre-existing condition?
Impact of a Pre-existing Condition
An injury that predates the current injury you sustained at work can have an impact on your workers’ compensation claim. Your pre-existing injury can significantly impact your workers’ compensation claim if it is medically related to your current injury. For instance, if you have arthritis in your left elbow and then injure your left elbow at work, your benefits will be seriously impacted. An employer may be held liable for an exacerbation or aggravation of your existing injury. The key is proving that your pre-existing condition was aggravated or exacerbated by showing that either there was a specific accident that occurred to worsen the previous injury, or that an old injury flared up because of the cumulative effect of the job.
Subsequent Injury Fund
The Subsequent Injury Fund (SIF) was established to encourage employers to hire workers that suffer from pre-existing health conditions. The SIF is intended to compensate workers for the combination of the pre-existing health conditions and their subsequent work-related injuries. There are strict requirements in the Worker’s Compensation Act that must be met in order to recover from the SIF. If the requirements are met, the employer must pay the portion of the award that is attributable to the accident and the SIF must pay the portion of the award that was for the pre-existing conditions.
In order for a worker to collect benefits from the SIF, it must be shown that:
- The worker sustained an accidental injury or occupational disease at work
- The worker had a permanent impairment or disease that existed prior to the present accidental injury or occupational disease
- The previous injury was or was likely to be a hindrance or obstacle to the worker’s employment
- The combined effects of the recent accident and the previous injury were substantially greater than the effects of the recent injury alone
- The previous injury and the recent accidental injury each result n permanent disability for 125 weeks; and
- The overall disability is more than 50% of the body as a whole.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you’ve been injured at work, it’s crucial to have a workers’ compensation attorney by your side to help you through the process. The attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LP have over 30 years of experience helping injured workers. Contact us online or call us at 1-844-MDCRASH to schedule your free consultation.