You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when you have been involved in a work-related accident. However, you can guarantee that having a pre-existing condition or another non-work-related injury will influence how the insurance company handles your claim.
Since insurers lose money every time they settle a workers’ comp claim, you can expect them to look for opportunities to reduce benefits or deny claims altogether. Fortunately, if the insurer wrongfully denies your claim or tries to reduce your settlement, your workers’ compensation lawyer will be ready to help you through the appeals process.
How Workers’ Comp Is Supposed to Work
You can usually file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider when involved in a work-related accident. This is true no matter who is responsible for causing your accident or resulting injuries. Whether you are a temporary, part-time, seasonal, full-time, or salaried employee does not matter.
As long as your employer has workers’ comp insurance coverage (as is often required by state law) when you get hurt at work or on the job, you have the right to specific types and amounts of benefits. Such benefits could include the following:
- Total compensation for your medical expenses
- Disability benefits to replace a portion of your lost wages
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits so you can re-enter the workforce
- Death benefits for surviving families of those who suffered fatal work injuries
However, insurance companies are often known for their greed and profit-driven tactics. When the insurance adjuster sees that you have a pre-existing or non-work-related injury on your record, you can expect them to jump at the chance to deny your claim or reduce your payout. But do not worry. Your attorney will be there to step in and protect your right to workers’ comp benefits.
Common Types of Non-Work-Related Injuries
There are some pre-existing medical conditions and non-work-related injuries that insurance companies know to look for when processing your workers’ compensation claim. Some of these include:
- Back injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Degenerative disc disease
- Elbow injuries
- Herniated discs
- Knee injuries
- Neck injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Torn ligaments
Your lawyer will be prepared to handle the insurance company if they argue that having pre-existing injury means you are not entitled to the workers’ comp benefits you deserve.
What to Expect When You Have a Non-Work-Related Injury
Just because you have a non-work-related injury or medical condition does not mean that you do not deserve or qualify for workers’ comp benefits. In fact, as long as your work accident caused your injuries or exacerbated your pre-existing condition, you have the right to specific benefits from your employer.
Immediately after the accident, obtaining a medical evaluation and getting the treatment you need is crucial. This way, your healthcare providers can begin documenting your injury as soon as possible after the accident. When you file your claim, providing these medical records to the insurance company should be enough to compel them to approve your claim and start sending you the benefits you are entitled to.
But do not be surprised if the insurer pushes back after you have filed your claim. They can either deny your workers’ compensation claim outright or will attempt to reduce your benefits.
However, you are only asking to be compensated for the exacerbated condition, not for medical costs related to the non-work-related injury. Insurance companies may initially deny your claim when they suspect certain medical costs related to your pre-existing condition, not your worsened or work-related injuries.
Build a Powerful Workers’ Comp Claim Despite Your Non-Work-Related Injury
You should be prepared to build a strong workers’ compensation claim to avoid going through a lengthy appeal process. First, make sure you fill out your application completely. You must include all necessary supporting information as well.
If possible, you should include photos of your injuries and the work accident scene. This way, insurance adjusters can see for themselves how severe your condition is. If you can obtain video of the accident from surveillance cameras at work, that would also be helpful supporting evidence.
Medical records should also be included. Suppose you can have your physician and healthcare providers include how your non-work-related injury has been exacerbated or note that your pre-existing condition has no bearing on your work accident injuries. In that case, this could go a long way in getting your workers’ comp claim approved from the start.
How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
When you have a non-work-related injury, you are fighting an uphill battle with the insurance company. During this time, you should be able to heal from your injuries and start to pick up the pieces of your life without the stress of a complicated insurance negotiation process.
Your dedicated workers’ compensation attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm is here to ease your burden and get you through these challenging times. Once we take on your case, you can rely on our team to:
- Obtain copies of your medical records to submit with your claim
- Identify witnesses and experts to depose
- Make sure the insurance company has the supporting evidence they need
- Negotiate with insurance adjusters for a reasonable settlement
- Prepare to move forward with a formal appeal
How You Can Help Your Own Case
If you hope to get your workers’ comp claim approved, despite your non-work-related medical condition, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Start keeping a personal journal that details your pain levels and the ways your work injuries have affected your life
- Never post information about your injuries or workers’ comp claim on social media or the internet
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Help Today
When you have a pre-existing medical condition or other non-work-related injuries, it could impact how the Insurance Company processes your claim. Do not be surprised if the insurer initially denies you the compensation and workers’ comp benefits you deserve.
Your workers’ compensation lawyer at Shelly Leeke Law Firm will be by your side, ready to go up against the insurer to get your claim approved. Contact our team for a free, no-obligation consultation today and determine what is next for your non-work-related injury claim. Please complete our online contact form or call our office to start working on your case today.