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Can You Get Worker’s Compensation for Worsening Pre-Existing Back Conditions?

When it comes to pre-existing conditions, there is a widespread belief that you can’t get worker’s compensation for them. This is true if you developed the condition before working at your current job and it has stayed the same or progressed at the expected rate while you are working. However, if your pre-existing condition worsened because of the demands of your job, then you can indeed get worker’s compensation benefits to cover it and any future treatment.

When it comes to back injuries, typically this is a common dispute when it comes to getting worker’s compensation. When filing for worker’s compensation, if you are found to have arthritis or degenerative disc disease, many insurance companies will try to deny your claim on account that you likely developed it due to genetics or age and not because of your work. However, that denial has no basis and you shouldn’t have to accept that it.

When Work Injuries Aggravate Pre-Existing Back Injuries

While your job may not always be responsible for developing back conditions like arthritis or degenerative disc disease, it certainly can aggravate these conditions. Certain jobs can make a worker more susceptible to aggravating their back conditions based on certain demands that are put on them. Typically these jobs require the worker to perform frequent repetitive motions, endure high impact activities, or even remain seated for too long. This usually include factory worker, construction work, and manual labor, but office jobs can also be responsible at times if it requires the worker to be seated for a long period of time, as office jobs often do.

However, while pre-existing conditions aren’t covered, if they were aggravated at your job, this qualifies you for worker’s compensation. While the nomenclature makes it sound like they are two different things, an “aggravated condition” is often just a work injury that is made worse by the fact that you already had arthritis or a degenerative disease. So, while your worker’s compensation insurance might say it is not a work injury, but a natural progression, a doctor can likely attest otherwise.

Getting a Medical Opinion on Workplace Back Injuries With Pre-Existing Conditions

While there no real good news about having a degenerative back condition, if you have been dealing with it for awhile and had it aggravated at work, the good news is you can prove it rather easily. Unlike other workers without degenerative issues, they likely don’t have pre-existing medical records that document the condition of their back. This can lead to worker’s compensation denial if it is found that they have the beginnings of a degenerative disease since the claims adjuster can say the injury is just the beginning of that.

However, if you have been visiting a physician for awhile, they have documentation of the rate of degeneration in your back. If that rate suddenly accelerates in conjunction with your work injury, then that is concrete proof that your job was the cause. In any worker’s compensation claim, having a long and detailed medical paper trail is a major boon to your case, so having one before the injury even occurred can make it very hard to argue that your job didn’t cause the acceleration in your back issue.

Have you been hurt at work or had your back injury denied for benefits because of a pre-existing condition? You don’t have to settle for that. Contact us today 507-779-7529. Many workers give up after a claim has been denied when they have every right to appeal it if they were hurt at work. The Law Firm of Harvey & Carpenter is dedicated to representing Minnesota’s injured workers and we aren’t afraid to fight for you.

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