Stephen Hasner | Workers' Compensation | November 14, 2018
Individuals often wonder what they can do if they sustain a back injury at work, but already suffer from such an injury. Far too many people fail to seek legal advice because they assume that their previous injury precludes them from seeking compensation. However, it’s important to know that this is not the case.
According to the current workers’ compensation laws in Georgia, individuals who suffer a new injury cannot be denied benefits due to a pre-existing condition. These claims can prove complex, however, and often require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Insurance Companies May Try to Mislead You
Despite the state’s protection of injured workers with pre-existing conditions, insurance carriers and employers regularly deny workers’ compensation claims due to such conditions. Typically, injured workers receive the denial, accept it as valid, and fail to appeal, despite continuing to suffer physically and financially as a result of their injuries.
Insurance companies don’t want injured workers to know that they may be eligible for compensation following a work-related accident, regardless of if they suffer from a pre-existing condition. Victims may seek compensation even if their injury is:
- A flare-up of an old workers’ compensation injury
- Related to a physical condition they’ve suffered from in the past
- Related to injuries that commonly occur as people get older
Working with an experienced attorney will ensure that you understand your rights. So many people give up thousands of dollars each year in workers’ compensation claims due to a misunderstanding of their rights and a lack of adequate legal representation.
Types of Claims Insurance Companies May Illegally Deny
Workers’ compensation insurance companies frequently deny numerous types of injuries, citing pre-existing conditions. However, it’s important to understand that this practice is illegal. Insurance companies are not legally permitted to deny the following injuries under the guise of being precluded by a preexisting condition:
- Herniated disks
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments
- Neck strains
Back issues are commonplace in the workforce today. Many workers suffer from some degree of degenerative disk disease or another back injury without even realizing it, as it may not cause them any pain. However, once discovered, insurance companies may attempt to use this pre-existing condition as a basis for denying your workers’ compensation claim.
Three Steps to Avoid Having Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Denied
If you are concerned that your employer or its insurance carrier may deny your workers’ compensation claim due to a previous medical condition or illness, there are three steps that you should take immediately:
- Make sure you have ample documentation of your accident and injury. When you visit your doctor, get copies of all of your medical records, which will prove useful if your claim is denied.
- File your claim right away. Any delay sends the message that the injury was not severe and that you do not need immediate compensation.
- Talk to an Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney. Filing a claim without the guidance of a lawyer puts you in a very vulnerable position, as you are much more likely to have your claim denied.
If you need an attorney to represent you in your workers’ compensation claim, whether to help file your initial claim or to assist with appealing a denial, Hasner Law is here to help. Call us today at 678-888-4878, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.