Workers’ Comp Settlements and Benefits for Aggravation of a Pre-existing Conditions
A pre-existing condition is a current injury or illness that developed prior to employment. In the event that work conditions or activities aggravate or worsen a pre-existing condition, employees may be eligible for worker’s compensation. In order to be eligible for benefits, however, Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law dictates that an injury must be directly related to a specific workplace accident or activity.
These guidelines create unique questions and challenges for Pennsylvania pre-existing injury workers’ compensation claimants concerned about their eligibility.
Average Workers’ Comp Benefits For A Pre-Existing Injury
The value of workers’ compensation varies from case to case depending on the body part affected, the severity of the injury, and the cost of medical care needed. Below is a table of estimated workers’ comp settlement amounts based on the NSC claim cost average for injuries for each body part.
|Body Part Affected||Average Settlement|
Disclaimer: Every workers’ compensation case is different and these settlement values are not guaranteed. Final settlement depends on the severity of the injury, the body part affected, wage loss from the injury, and medical expenses incurred from the injury.
Pre-existing injuries include any condition a worker developed prior to employment. Some common conditions include:
- Sleep apnea
- Back injuries and other back problems
- Knee injuries
- Herniated discs
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Aggravation Of A Pre-Existing Condition
In the evaluation of workers’ comp claims, Pennsylvania law considers the aggravation of a prior injury to be an entirely new injury, mandating that liability be assumed by the employer for whom the claimant was working when the aggravation occurred.
While employers or insurance companies may attempt to deny a workers’ compensation claim by arguing they were not aware of an employee’s previous injury, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act requires employers to provide benefits regardless of the visibility or awareness of a pre-existing condition.
Proving Your Worsening Condition Is Work Related
Pre-existing injuries can be job injuries from previous employment as well as personal injuries acquired outside the workplace. In order to be compensated under Pennsylvania law, an injured worker is only responsible for demonstrating that workplace conditions or activities resulted in an increase in symptoms.
How Are Workers’ Comp Benefits Decided?
Workers’ compensation protections, provided under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law, afford workers financial protection and security in the form of full medical treatment coverage, disability benefits, ongoing physical therapy, and replacement of lost wages for a work-related injury
Especially in the event of an occupational injury, CT scans, x-rays, and even physical therapy can be necessary- and expensive. In Pennsylvania, weekly compensation loss benefits are generally provided at between 66.6% and 90% of average weekly wage (AWW) and capped at $1,081.00 per week.
Workers’ compensation benefits are determined based on:
- Severity and classification of the injury
- Wage loss from the injury
- Medical expenses
Pennsylvania requires employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, and it is the employer’s insurance company that will provide coverage for the cost of medical care associated with the injured employee’s work injuries.
Compensation and coverage for medical bills afforded under the law are typically determined by the severity and type of the workplace injury an employee suffers, as well as the amount of lost wages and period the employee is unable to work.
Reduced Benefits and Previous Workers’ Compensation Claims
Claimants receiving workers’ compensation benefits due to a previous workplace injury, their benefits may be reduced to account for the prior workers compensation claim.
The amount of the reduced benefit is dependent upon the amount of compensation the claimant receives from the previous claim, as well as the nature of the new injury. Claimants should expect to receive a reduction in both wage loss benefits and permanent disability benefits.
Start On The Right Path For Your Work Injury Case
Many Workers’ Compensation cases can take a year or more to resolve. During this time, it is important to receive proper medical treatment for your injuries. At Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo, our attorneys can help you through the Workers’ Compensation process from start to finish. We will help you determine answers to your most pressing questions, including your entitlement to medical treatment and the compensation amount.
As part of a Workers’ Compensation claim, a comprehensive record of your immediate and ongoing medical treatment is as important to the claim process as your healing. From the moment the injury takes place, it is important you let someone know and seek proper medical care. Pain is a sign that something is wrong. If you suffer an injury or just feel pain, let your employer know so they may provide you with a list of approved doctors.
Take The Correct Next Steps
A Workers’ Compensation claim begins the first moment an injury takes place. Knowing the proper steps to take immediately following the incident can help your case dramatically. Upon suffering the injury:
- Report it. Go to your supervisor or human resources.
- Accurately complete an incident report.
- Seek medical treatment from an approved provider.
- Give your medical provider a complete and accurate list of prior injuries and illnesses.
- Give a detailed account of how the injury occurred.
Work-related injuries are handled differently from other injuries, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a say in your care. You may choose to see your own doctor once you have been evaluated by an approved provider. You also may choose to take one doctor’s advice over the others. Sometimes these choices are difficult, but our experienced lawyers have been helping injured workers in the Philadelphia area and throughout Pennsylvania with these decisions for over three generations. In addition to being rated as Pennsylvania’s Premier Workers’ Compensation Law Firm for 2015 by The Best Lawyers in America,* attorneys at our firm have been listed in The Best Lawyers in America* guidebook since 2009.
Get Workers’ Compensation Case Started Today
For help getting started your injury claim, it is a good idea to consult an experienced workers’ comp lawyer for best results.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at our law firm Krasno, Krasno, & Onwudinjo have significant experience helping clients with pre-existing medical conditions navigate the Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system.
Contact us today at (844) 243-4932 for a free consultation.