When it comes to workers’ compensation, one topic that garners much debate and misunderstanding concerns the right of an employee to receive workers’ compensation benefits for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, particularly when it relates to arthritis and degenerative disc disease. It is important for every worker to know that an injury or trauma on the job that reactivates a condition, makes a condition worse or makes an underlying, dormant condition symptomatic gives the injured employee the right to file a claim and be compensated for medical treatment and wage loss. Let’s take a closer look at:
- Workers’ Compensation and Pre-existing Conditions
- Common Types of Rheumatic Conditions Aggravated Through Work
- Jobs That Aggravate Arthritis & Degenerative Disc Disease
Workers’ Compensation and Pre-existing Conditions
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act provides medical treatment coverage and wage loss compensation to workers suffering from work-related injuries or diseases. The law dictates an injury must be directly related to a specific workplace incident, repetitive workplace activity causing a chronic injury, or the aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
Unlike a lot of other states, Pennsylvania workers’ comp cases involving pre-existing injuries do hold employers responsible for compensation for the entire injury, rather than just the aggravation of an already existing injury. In fact, our law considers aggravation of a prior injury to be an entirely new injury—mandating liability be assumed by “the employer for whom the claimant was working when the aggravation occurred.”
Employers or insurance companies may try to deny the claim by arguing they were not aware of any pre-existing condition. That said, the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation act requires employers provide benefits regardless of the visibility or awareness of a pre-existing condition.
Common Types of Rheumatic Conditions Aggravated Through Work
The term arthritis is associated with joint inflammation and is generally used to describe the many different types of rheumatic conditions that have an impact on a person’s joints, the connective joint tissue, and the tissue that surrounds the joint. Common types of arthritis that can be aggravated through work include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
People diagnosed with arthritis often experience stiffness, swelling, redness, and pain around their joints, and can be impacted by functionality limitations of their knees, wrists, hands, hips, and shoulders.
Degenerative disc disease on the other hand is a widespread condition that can lead to debilitating lower back and neck pain. This is a condition that many people deal with at some point in their lives, simply due to the fac that spinal discs degenerate and lose the ability to absorb shock, naturally, through the years.
Any injury to the disc can accelerate and aggravate the condition. In fact, most of the pain associated with degenerative disc disease is not from the condition itself—but rather is due to an injury of the neck or back. These include:
- Slipped Disc
- Bulging Disc
- Ruptured Disc
- Herniated Disc
- Disc Tear
Jobs That Aggravate Arthritis & Degenerative Disc Disease
Any job can lead to neck and back pain, but there are certain industries that produce a higher volume of these types of injuries due to the sheer nature of the work. Manual labor jobs that require heavy lifting, twisting, and turning are the main culprit. Repetitive motion work, along with jobs that require a worker to remain sedentary for too long, can also aggravate these conditions. They include:
- Truck Driving
- Heavy Machine Operation
- Construction Work
- Healthcare and Nursing Jobs
- Factory Work
Call Lancaster PAs Top Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Aggravations of Pre-Existing Conditions for a FREE CASE EVALUATION!
If you or someone you know has aggravated a pre-existing condition, like arthritis or disc disease, and your claim has been denied or delayed, call us right away!
Navigating Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system is not easy, and you should not go at it alone. As soon as possible after suffering an injury on the job, you should call an experienced workers’ comp attorney to help you get the right medical treatment, receive all of the proper wage loss benefits and deal with the employer and insurance company so you don’t have to. There are a lot of missteps that can happen along the way that can drastically impact your right to compensation or the amount of compensation you receive.
At Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C., we’ve won 99% of our cases and have recovered more than $50,000,000.00 for our clients. We can help you too. Call us at 1-800-HURT NOW. Your consultation is absolutely free and there is never a fee until we win money for you!