Pre-Existing Conditions for Workers in Torrance

Most workplace injuries seem straightforward: it happens on the job, the injured worker documents the injury and files a workers’ compensation claim, and they receive benefits. However, sometimes employers and insurers resist workers’ claims and question the cause, location, and severity of an injury.

A pre-existing condition related to a workplace injury could fuel an employer’s skepticism, but pre-existing conditions for workers in Torrance should not destroy a workers’ compensation claim. Instead, California law allows compensation claims even if a pre-existing condition might have partially caused an injury. In some cases, depending on your work injury and your pre-existing conditions you may also be entitled to SIBTF or Subsequent Injury Benefit Trust Fund benefits, in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney from Silberman & Lam could help you understand your available options.

Pre-Existing Conditions Contributing to Workplace Injuries

Broadly, a pre-existing condition in the context of a workplace injury is any medical condition or issue from before the injury happened. It can include chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, or a heart condition, but previous injuries and surgeries can also count as pre-existing conditions.

Even a previous injury in the same workplace could be seen as pre-existing. As a result of it, an employer or an insurer might challenge if that claim should be covered. Sorting out a pre-existing condition from a workplace injury can present a problem, but medical documentation of the condition and the injury can help show each as a separate issue. Having a lawyer familiar with workers’ compensation claims and pre-existing conditions in Torrance could also help obtain that documentation and present it during the claim process.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Workers’ Compensation

Of course, documentation of a condition may only do so much good, as a pre-existing condition can contribute to a workplace injury. If a workplace injury aggravates a condition, an employer may try to deny the claim as work-related. Fortunately, the presence of a pre-existing condition does not alone defeat a compensation claim.

Instead, in some cases it may reduce the amount of compensation an injured worker receives, however in others it may increase the recovery based on SIBTF benefits. During the claims process, medical evidence given to an adjuster leads to assigning some of the cause of the injury to the condition but not denying the claim altogether. The adjuster calculating the value of the claim will reduce the total compensation by the percentage assigned to the pre-existing condition.

How much of that percentage should be included depends on the condition and supporting documentation. Workers with pre-existing conditions in Torrance should make sure that any pre-existing condition has been well-documented early on to remove any guesswork. In addition, hiring a workers’ compensation attorney can also prove useful. A lawyer could advocate on a worker’s behalf with the adjuster and even with an appeals board set up by the state should the worker receive a denial or reduced benefits based on a pre-existing condition.

Do Not Let a Pre-Existing Condition Stop Your Claim

After an injury at work that might involve a pre-existing condition, your attention will go first to medical care and only later to the cost. But if you speak with a tenacious attorney early in the process of making your claim, you can avoid a drawn-out process delayed by a pre-existing condition for workers in Torrance.

A well-versed lawyer could bring resources and staff to your case and offer a paperless process instead of the mountains of paperwork usually associated with making a claim. Speak with our legal team during an initial consultation to understand your options.