While New York workers’ compensation laws are in place to protect you, employers and insurance companies are not always ready and willing to comply with them, at least not without a fight. This is incredibly challenging if you have a pre-existing condition when you get hurt.

If you have a pre-existing condition and sustain an injury at work, don’t risk losing out on collecting the benefits you need from insurance companies. Instead, contact The Weinstein Law Group, PLLC, and secure representation from a New York workers’ compensation lawyer.

What are pre-existing conditions?

In New York, injured workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of pre-existing or chronic medical conditions. You can even get workers’ comp if your most recent injury exacerbates or aggravates a pre-existing injury, whether that pre-existing injury occurred on the job or not.

What’s considered a pre-existing condition?

Any medical condition or injury predating the accident is considered a “pre-existing condition.” For example, if you have suffered chronic knee pain in the past.

Some of the most common pre-existing conditions that our NYC job accident attorneys see include:

  • Back, neck, or knee pain or injury
  • Herniated discs
  • Arthritis or other joint pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Orthopedic problems
  • ACL tears or other old sports injuries
  • Sprain, strains, or fractures
  • Asthma or other respiratory issues
  • Diabetes
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cancer or other chronic illnesses
  • High blood pressure
  • Neurological conditions

How can a New York workers’ comp & pre-existing injuries lawyer help?

No two workers’ compensation cases are the same, each with its complications. Even simple cases can be complicated by insurance companies who want to lower their payout. Our team has the know-how and the resources to thoroughly investigate your work accident and situations surrounding your pre-existing condition. Investigations may involve:

  • Speaking with your medical team
  • Consulting with outside medical experts for insight into your condition, its causes, consequences, and prognosis
  • Interviewing witnesses to your accident
  • Gathering input from your caregivers, friends, and family about your symptoms and limitations
  • Reviewing the causes and consequences of your pre-existing condition and how it affected, or did not affect, your ability to carry out work-related tasks

Collecting this evidence is just the first step. It takes skill and experience to analyze and present it in a way that demonstrates the strength of your claim to an insurance provider. When factoring in the pre-existing condition, your attorney will rely on medical and other experts to add commentary supporting the negotiations around which expenses must be addressed in your settlement.

Will a pre-existing injury automatically defeat a workers’ comp claim?

The impact of a pre-existing condition on a workers’ compensation claim depends on its relation to the new work injury. If unrelated, like a prior knee issue versus a new arm injury, it barely affects the claim. However, if related, such as a back injury worsening due to a pre-existing herniated disc, the claim process may become more complex, with the insurance company possibly contesting more vigorously.

It’s important to understand that insurance companies have valid reasons for protecting their interests against the possibility of a fraudulent claim. However, it can sometimes feel they are going overboard when it comes to a pre-existing condition and whether it is related to your work injury. Trying to argue for yourself can get confusing and stressful quickly.

Instead, you can rely on the skills of our NYC workers’ comp attorneys, who are familiar with all parts of the claims process and can anticipate any roadblocks. Our team will use their training and experience to determine how to overcome any concerns and give your claim the best chance at approval.

What should I do if I have a pre-existing condition and was just injured at work?

Of course, if the injury is severe enough to warrant emergency care, your supervisor will be made aware of the situation. Once treated and able, you must still fill out the required reports. Any work injury needs to be reported to a supervisor and documented as soon as possible.

The Workers’ Compensation Board (WBC) of New York requires that you notify your employer within 30 days, although it is better if you report the injury as soon as possible. If you let the 30 days go by without telling your employer, you could risk losing the eligibility to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, you should file an Employee Claim–Form C-3–with the WCB, which alerts the Board of your injury. If your injury is a repeat injury, which is one situation that counts as a pre-existing condition, you also need to file a Limited Release of Health Information form.

If you do not need emergency care, you must still seek prompt medical attention. A doctor will diagnose and document your injury and provide initial treatment and instructions to prevent your condition from worsening. Inform the doctor of your pre-existing condition so they can determine whether that condition contributed to your work accident or if the new injury is an exacerbation of that condition. Disclosure also protects you from accusations of fraud.

To put yourself in the best position to collect the benefits you need, once your immediate health and safety are secured, call The Weinstein Law Group and partner with an NYC workers’ compensation claims with pre-existing conditions lawyer. Workers’ compensation cases can be tricky even when there is no previous medical condition. In any situation, having a skilled lawyer manage your case is critical.

What are New York workers’ compensation laws?

Though insurance companies are in the business of providing coverage, the bottom line is that these companies are businesses, and the priority of any business is to make money. Insurance companies lose money when they have to pay out workers’ compensation benefits or settlements. That means the companies will often seize any opportunity to deny or reduce benefits.

The worker’s pre-existing neck injury had required surgery and other interventions, but it was a back injury caused by a fall at work that prompted his workers’ compensation claim. The company wanted to reduce, or “apportion,” the claimant’s benefits because of the pre-existing condition. In this case, the Supreme Court affirmed the first judge’s decision as the neck injury had prevented the worker from performing his job duties at the time of the accident.

The case highlights the importance of retaining a skilled NYC workers’ compensation claims with pre-existing injuries lawyer. New York’s workers’ compensation laws are extensive and complex, even for the most straightforward work injuries. For cases involving the added complication of a pre-existing condition, successful navigation of those laws is even trickier.

What is apportionment in New York workers’ comp law?

If it is determined that your pre-existing condition contributes to the disability for which you are claiming benefits, insurance companies may look to apportion your benefits. They will look to divide your disability and put part of the liability on the pre-existing condition, even if it is not a work-related condition, so they do not have to pay full benefits for your current disability.

Other times, a pre-existing condition may result from a prior work injury you already received benefits for. If your current injury is an aggravation of that injury, your workers’ compensation may face apportionment, depending on how your prior claim was resolved.

Why trust our knowledgeable and experienced legal advocates?

The Weinstein Law Group, PLLC comprehensively understands New York’s workers’ compensation laws. Our track record shows the value of our knowledge and experience. For over 30 years, The Weinstein Law Group has represented injury victims and secured millions of dollars in compensation.

New Yorkers are known to be gritty fighters–“tough guys.” Our team is committed to bringing that determination to your case by protecting your rights and securing your workers’ comp benefits. We fight hard to achieve those goals and want you to feel supported at every step. We also bring that confidence to the bargaining table, where we do not back down against insurance representatives.

When we fight for you, we fight with you. We will inform you of your case’s progress every step of the way and help you understand what’s happening, so you can be an empowered, informed participant in your case. We ensure you have the knowledge you need to make the right choice for yourself, putting you in command of how your claim proceeds while we manage the complex details for you.

We care and we don’t give up

The Weinstein Law Group, PLLC is proud of both our New York grit and our New York compassion. Yes, we already have our sleeves rolled up. Still, we are also ready to listen to your concerns and answer your questions. We see our clients as whole people and fellow New Yorkers, not as “professional opportunities” or depersonalized case numbers. We also have great respect for the law.

At The Weinstein Law Group, when you partner with a New York workers’ compensation lawyer from our team, you get superior legal representation with a compassionate touch. As we fight for your rights and fight to see the law upheld, we will not forget that you, a real person, are the reason for our fight, and we will not give up on getting your justice. Call (212) 741-3800 or contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We’re ready to get to work for you.