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How Do You Prove Your Work Injury Aggravated a Pre-Existing Condition?

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act exists to help people in the state who are accidently injured at work, during a work-related function or who acquire an occupational disease in the course of their employment. Through a workers’ comp claim, most Virginia employees can seek employer-provided benefits that provide compensation for lost wages and medical expenses related to their injury, whether it is a new injury or illness or one that exacerbates an existing condition.

When a workplace injury or occupational disease aggravates a pre-existing condition, proving a cause-and-effect relationship between the injury and the necessary treatment can become challenging. Establishing the connection is necessary for any worker who wants to have their medical bills covered by the employer, because employers are only liable for the cost of medical care if the required treatment was caused by the workplace injury. The burden of proof is on the worker.

Employers and their insurance companies may try to deny claims simply because a person has a pre-existing condition. The company may issue a denial on the premise that the worker’s symptoms are the result of the pre-existing condition, not the work accident, or that the work injury did not aggravate the pre-existing condition. To help build a strong case for your benefits:

  • File your claim promptly — Report the accident to your employer as soon as it occurs and then file your workers’ compensation claim. If you delay filing, you may forget important details, or the insurance company may claim that your aggravated condition occurred separate from the workplace accident.
  • Be forthright — Disclose your pre-existing condition. If you hide a previous injury or illness, the insurance company may use that as an excuse to suspect fraud and immediately deny your claim. By admitting that you have a pre-existing condition, you can work to show that the condition was made worse by the accident.
  • Establish a record of your injury — Write down or record your detailed account of the accident as soon as possible after it happens. Get a medical evaluation after your accident and let the doctor know exactly what happened and how it has affected your health. Document changes to your ability to work or to engage in other life activities as a result of the accident.

The law firm of Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C. has obtained sizable workers’ compensation settlements for numerous clients in Virginia. We respond to claims disputes with skill and persistence, and we assert our clients’ rights at every step of the way. To schedule your initial consultation, call 434-973-7474 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Charlottesville, Palmyra, Harrisonburg and Staunton.

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