Pre-Existing Conditions And Georgia Workers’ Compensation

Thousands of injured Atlanta workers file workers’ compensation claims in Georgia every year. Inevitably, many of these claims involve the aggravation of pre-existing conditions certain workers have. Pre-existing conditions can complicate the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. In fact, pre-existing conditions are often used as an excuse to deny claims, even though in most cases these should be covered by your employer. For this reason it is very important to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side.

What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?

There are many different forms that a pre-existing condition might take. For the purposes of workers’ compensation in georgia, they are defined as medical problems that existed before the work-related injury that you are filing a claim for.

According to Georgia code § 34-9-1, the aggravation of pre-existing conditions through employment are covered by Georgia workers’ compensation for as long as the pre-existing condition leads to a disability.

Common Pre-Existing Conditions Aggravated On the Job

Pre-existing conditions can be everything from chronic disease to previously sustained work injuries. For instance, a worker could have previously injured their shoulder on the job and then re-injured it or a worker could have a medical condition, such as arthritis, that was not directly sustained on the job, but is still affected by their work. Some common pre-existing conditions that can be aggravated on the job include:

  • Degenerative disk disease;
  • Various forms of arthritis affecting the knees, shoulder, or hands;
  • Previous back/shoulder injuries; and
  • Previous knee injuries.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Your Claim

When filing a claim to receive benefits for a pre-existing injury, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation decides whether the job injury is related to the pre-existing condition and to what extent. Basically there are three different types to consider.

  1. Pre-Existing Conditions Related to a Previous Claim. If your work injury is aggravating an old work injury you already filed a claim for, you can receive compensation, but your benefits are reduced to account for the previous claim. However, a distinction is made between the aggravation of a previous work-related injury and an entirely new injury. Speaking with your doctor and attorney will help decide whether you should file a new injury claim or an aggravated/worsening claim.
  1. Pre-Existing Condition Not-Related to a Previous Claim. If your work is aggravating a previous injury or a natural aging condition, such as an old car accident injury, you have a non-related pre-existing condition. Likely, your claim will only compensate you for the degree your condition worsened that can be attributed to your employment.
  1. A Completely Unrelated Pre-Existing Condition. If you have a pre-existing condition that is entirely unrelated, the condition should have little to no effect on your claim and your employer should pay you full benefits. An example would be if you had osteoporosis and broke your leg due to a fall on the job.

One of the circumstances where your claim may be denied due to a pre-existing condition would be if you were dishonest about having a pre-existing condition. If you need to file a claim related to a pre-existing condition, it is best to speak to an attorney about your options.

Consult With an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer About Your Pre-Existing Condition

If you have a pre-existing condition that is being aggravated by your job and you have questions about workers’ compensation, contact Workers Compensation Lawyers to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Atlanta. We will make sure you understand exactly what your rights are and can help you file a claim. For a free consultation call 678-504-6565 to discuss the details of your case and take the first steps towards receiving compensation for your pre-existing condition.