A Preexisting Condition is Not a Bar to Virginia Workers Comp Benefits
We see it all the time. An employee works for an employer for years without problems. He can do all of his job tasks without hesitation – even though the job requires heavy lifting and frequent bending. Then he hurts his knee, shoulder, back or neck. Suddenly he is in pain and unable to work.
At first the insurance company agrees that the employee suffered an injury that is covered under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. They pay for treatment and lost time from work even though the Commission has not entered an Award Order. The employee thinks they will receive all Virginia workers compensation benefits to which they are entitled. Maybe they won’t need to hire a workers compensation attorney until they reach maximum medical improvement.
Weeks go by, but the injured employee is still in pain and unable to return to work. Their treating physician orders an MRI, which shows arthritis and degenerative changes. The insurance company thinks this is great – now they have a basis to deny your claim.
Insurance companies defend many claims by arguing that the injured employee’s disability and need for medical treatment are related to a preexisting condition. Many injured employees are so used to hearing that preexisting conditions are not covered by private health insurance that they think this defense is impossible to overcome. But it’s not!
Here is an example. Let’s say I’m a construction worker. Ten years ago I felt pain in my knee and went to the doctor. He diagnosed me with arthritis and released me to full duty work after one week. I haven’t returned to the doctor in ten years and have been able to perform my physically demanding job without a problem.
A few days ago I tripped on a piece of debris on the job site and twisted my knee. Now I have excruciating pain and cannot walk. I undergo an MRI, which finds a torn meniscus and worsening arthritis. Will I win my case?
Yes. I will win if my treating physician says that the work accident worsened, aggravated, or accelerated my knee condition. The Commission will find the medical evidence supports my claim, and will find it important that I was able to work for years without problems.
So there you have it. Do not take no for an answer! A preexisting condition is not a bar to winning your Virginia workers’ compensation claim.
Have a question about your case or injury? Call workers compensation lawyer Corey Pollard for a free consultation. We have obtained benefits and top dollar Virginia workers compensation settlements for employees who re-injured their backs, necks, knees, and shoulders at work after undergoing serious surgeries for their preexisting conditions.