When you’ve been hurt on the job, your first (and often only) recourse is to file a workers’ compensation claim. But don’t be surprised if what is obviously a legitimate claim is turned down. A large percentage of initial claims are rejected as a matter of course, as your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company seek to minimize costs. One of the most common arguments used to deny workers’ compensation benefits is the assertion that the injury was pre-existing or only happened because of a pre-existing condition.

Alleging that your injury was caused by a pre-existing condition simply says that you had some prior injury and what you are experiencing now is due to that prior injury. For example, if you were in a car accident and hurt your back, your employer and/or the workers’ compensation insurance company may assert that any discomfort you experience because of work-related trauma is only because of your prior injury—that the pain you feel is entirely because of your earlier injury or that the work-related injury exacerbated a condition that made you more susceptible to injury.

Just because your employer can show the existence of a pre-existing condition, however, does not mean that you can receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you can show that your employer was negligent and you would not have suffered any injury without that negligence, you can still receive compensation. Furthermore, if you can show that the pre-existing condition had completely healed, any new injury is compensable. For example, if you had a car accident 20 years ago and hurt your back, you can still recover workers’ compensation benefits for a back injury at work if you can demonstrate that you had medical treatment for the car injury and that it had healed.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured workers throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

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