Pre-Existing Injuries & Workers' Compensation

Posted By Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund || 17-May-2017

Were you recently injured at work, but you just so happened to be injured in the exact place that you were injured before? If your answer is “yes,” the location of your new injury can be a bit unsettling. Perhaps now you’re wondering if the injury will be covered by workers’ compensation, especially if everyone at your work knows about the old injury.

Suppose you were in a bad car accident a year ago, and you had to wear a neck brace. Everybody at work knew about the neck injury because you two weeks from work and when you returned, you were wearing the neck brace. Fast forward to today, you were recently struck in the head by a fork lift and you’re complaining of significant neck pain and headaches, and your doctor says you need surgery. Will your neck injury from the year before preclude you from filing a workers’ compensation claim? After all, your previous injury is recorded in your medical records.

Pre-Existing Injuries Are Sensitive

If you were struck by a forklift, or if you had another perfectly legitimate injury that happened to affect an area that was injured before, the pre-existing injury should not bar you from filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, depending on the nature and severity of the old injury and the new injury, you may have to tread carefully. It is possible for your employer or their insurance company to want to deny your claim because of the pre-existing injury.

In reality, it may be much easier to convince the insurance company that you need workers’ compensation because of a traumatic accident that involved several witnesses. On the other hand, if you’re claiming that you have a repetitive motion injury, or disk degeneration, or an injury caused by a recent auto accident (work-related), it may be harder to convince the insurance company that the new injuries are work-related, even if they 100% are.

Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in New York

If a recent workplace accident aggravated a pre-existing injury, you will have to present a strong case. You will need to show evidence that the pre-existing medical condition was made worse by the workplace accident. Since your employer can try to argue that your complaints stem from your prior medical condition, it’s imperative to have an experienced New York workers’ compensation attorney from our firm by your side, advocating on your behalf.

Contact Katz Leidman Grossman Wolfe & Freund today for a free case evaluation!