Employees in New York rely on workers’ compensation benefits after being hurt or becoming sick on the job. Although these benefits exist to pay for medical care and sometimes lost income after workplace accidents or dangerous exposures, insurance companies look for ways to reduce or deny benefits. Pre-existing medical conditions present a troublesome area. An insurer might try to link a medical problem to something that hurt you in the past instead of accepting that your work duties inflicted the injury. Knowledge of your rights and disclosure of previous medical issues could protect your best interests.
Previous work-related injuries
Some jobs, especially within the construction industry, expose workers to daily risks. A workplace accident that aggravates a problem already attributed to a previous work-related injury should qualify for all available workers’ compensation coverage. For example, a worker who was hit in the back by a falling object the year before may make a claim again when back strain occurs on the job.
Previous injuries unrelated to work
Not all injuries arise because of work duties or workplace accidents. You may have a bad knee from an athletic injury earlier in life or a bad shoulder because of a motor vehicle accident. If a workplace injury aggravates an old injury, then the insurance company may only pay for treatment related to the new injury.
Disclosure of a pre-existing condition
Within workers’ compensation law, a pre-existing condition arises from a medical problem documented before the workplace incident in question. You are likely aware of your pre-existing condition and whether or not your job was the source of it. When filing a workers’ compensation claim, you should inform the insurer about your pre-existing condition. Your disclosure establishes that you are not trying to hide anything and enables the clear determination of benefits.
Guidance when filing a claim
Injured workers sometimes ask lawyers to interpret insurance policies and to prepare important paperwork. Legal support may help you make accurate disclosures about the facts of your case as well as meet crucial deadlines.