If you have a preexisting condition, it doesn't block you from claiming workers' compensation. However, there are some additional steps you may need to take to make your claim.

What Is a Preexisting Condition?

A preexisting condition generally is some sort of injury or disability that you got in the past. For example, you may have back problems from falling off a ladder while working on your home years ago. As such, that back injury existed before you filed for workers' compensation.

Why Does a Preexisting Condition Matter?

Workers' compensation will not pay you for a preexisting condition. The purpose of workers' compensation is to protect you from injuries that happened at work. Therefore, it's important that your workers' compensation claim be for an injury that came out of a workplace accident and not something long ago. Some people may wonder if the law protects preexisting conditions. This is a concept from health insurance. The role of health insurance is to cover all of your health problems, so health insurance must cover preexisting conditions. Workers' compensation is not health insurance. It is a specific type of insurance coverage that only applies to workplace injuries.

What if You Have a Preexisting Condition Aggravated By a Workplace Injury?

It is possible to have a preexisting condition that's aggravated by a workplace injury. In that case, you'd have neither a brand new injury nor the same injury that you had before. Instead, you'd have an injury that was made worse. In this type of case, workers' compensation would cover the difference between the two injuries. This might include your additional medical costs versus the total costs including any fees you were already paying. It may also only cover a portion of your wages instead of all of your lost wages.

How Do You Prove Your Injury Wasn't From a Preexisting Condition?

You will need to get medical proof of how your injury happened to document your workers' compensation claim. This will include your past medical history as well as a doctor's examination after your workplace injury. In many cases, this can be subjective. It might be clear that your injury was made worse but not exactly by how much. You can increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation by having an attorney fighting on your behalf.

To learn more about filing for workers' compensation when you have a preexisting condition, contact a workers' compensation lawyer.