Can You Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits If You Had a Preexisting Condition?
Under the workers’ compensation laws of New Jersey, you are entitled to pursue disability payments if you meet two tests: you were working and you suffered the injury while on the job. But what if you had a preexisting condition? What if you suffered an unrelated injury in a motor vehicle accident or some other incident in the past? Can your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company argue that the injury was not work-related and that you’re not entitled to benefits?
Under New Jersey law, a workers’ compensation claim cannot be rejected solely on the basis that the injured worker had a preexisting condition. If you can show that your current injury is an aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing injury, and not simply the consequence of that prior injury, your current employer’s workers’ compensation carrier can be required to provide you with benefits.
One of the key factors when you have a preexisting condition is showing that some current work-related activity has made the prior injury worse. For example, if you hurt your shoulder playing tennis as a child and you get a job lifting boxes above your head, the fact that your new job causes you to experience pain resulting from the tennis injury will likely not suffice to allow you to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, if you slip and fall on the shoulder, or if you are suddenly required to lift boxes or items that are much heavier, and there’s new pain, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
We handle all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis. There will be no attorney fees unless we get compensation for your losses.