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Can you get workers’ comp if you were already injured?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | workers' compensation

Workers’ compensation is set up to cover injuries that happen on the job. For instance, a worker could fall from a ladder or slip and fall while coming down the stairs. 

One of the most common counters to a workers’ comp claim is that the injury did not happen at work at all. For instance, an employer may believe that their employee was injured at home over the weekend, but simply pretended to get hurt at work on Monday so that they could get workers’ comp benefits. Because they already had the injury when they came to work, they will not qualify.

That said, there are some situations in which a pre-existing injury may still qualify for workers’ comp.

Has it been significantly aggravated?

This can happen if the pre-existing condition is significantly aggravated by something that happened at work. The workplace accident may not have caused the condition initially, but it has made it much worse.

For example, perhaps an employee was moving over the weekend and they strained their back carrying boxes and furniture. They can still work, but their back feels stiff. Then they slip and fall on the stairs, and they throw their back out entirely. They can barely move and they certainly can’t come to work, so they want to seek workers’ comp benefits for aggravating the back injury.

A situation like this can make things very complicated. Both sides may not agree on when the injury took place or how much compensation is really necessary. That is why it’s important to understand exactly what legal steps to take.


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