It is a situation more common than most people would believe, and it can happen to anybody. However, for anyone who has been injured at work while also having a pre-existing injury, it can mean a tough road ahead when it comes to filing for worker’s compensation in Minnesota.
Consider, for example, that you were in a car crash and you suffered from a neck injury. Everyone at work saw you wearing that neck brace and eventually it healed up. However, somewhere down the line at work, you were hit in the back of the neck by a falling piece of debris and you manifested neck pain and headaches because of the incident. It seems like a straight-forward case for worker’s compensation, and in essence it is. However, you soon find that the worker’s compensation insurance company is arguing that it was your old injury flaring up and was not because of the work accident. What do you do then?
When a Pre-Existing Injury is Aggravated
While worker’s compensation insurance adjusters will try to use a pre-existing injury in order to not pay you, the truth is that they really can’t. Having a pre-existing injury due to any cause does not disqualify you from collecting benefits if you were hurt in the same area by a work-related injury. Even if your pre-existing injury is excessively aggravated by your normal work conditions, that will still qualify you to collect workers compensation benefits.
Unfortunately, while you are still within your rights to collect worker’s compensation, pre-existing conditions often require a higher burden of proof that your current injury is work related. While a good worker’s compensation attorney is crucial in any injury, it will be more important in these cases. Medical records and witnesses to the injury as well as expert testimony for aggravated old injuries must be reliable and established early in the claim.
What to Do When Worker’s Compensation is Denied?
Any workplace injury can be denied by insurance adjusters depending on the circumstances. However, it is more common if you were injured in the area before. While some may give up at one simple denial, it is important to remember that just because you were denied doesn’t mean you can’t fight.
When your worker’s compensation claim is denied, you have two options. The first is to just let it slide. You take the thousands of dollar in medical bills and just pay it out of your own pocket. You lose out on potentially weeks of pay because you are left unable to work while you heal. Maybe you decide to argue the denial later when it all becomes too much for you to handle, only to find the statue of limitations on your claim has expired. Needless to say, this option is not ideal.
The second option is to contact your worker’s compensation attorney. They will look over your claim, find the reason for the denial over a work injury, and decide if it is valid. In most cases, a worker’s compensation denial is just a cost-saving measure by insurance companies and it is actually not a valid reason. By gathering the proper evidence and medical records, your worker’s compensation lawyer will help you reopen the claim and fight for the compensation that is due to you.
If you have been injured at work in the St. Paul area and think your claim is hopeless because of a pre-existing injury, contact us today. The Law Office of Joshua Borken knows how difficult the worker’s compensation process can be for people in your exact condition, and we are ready to fight for your right to compensation for work injuries.