When you are hired for a new job, the employer hired you as you are, meaning your new boss hired you despite the fact you have a pre-existing condition. What pre-existing condition do you ask? Are you a diabetic? Have a bad back? High blood pressure run in your family?
We all have a pre-existing condition; some are just more evident than others. It is up to you to disclose if you have a pre-existing condition, but the smart choice is to let your new employer know about it, especially if your position changes.
For example, you can be promoted to warehouse foreman, and it requires you to lift boxes to inspect them, and you had thrown out your back a few years ago. Or, you assume more job responsibilities because a co-worker is out for an extended period of time.
You could be doing work-related activities that might re-break a broken your tibia from an old workplace injury. If you do file a claim and fail to disclose the pre-existing injury, your claim can be denied. But you shouldn’t be afraid to file a workers’ compensation claim because of the pre-existing condition.
Many workers are afraid to file a claim because of their past medical history. These medical records can contain a number of pre-existing injuries that wouldn’t cross our minds, such as broken bones, obesity (or being overweight) or COPD. There is always the chance that a new work-related injury could aggravate or exacerbate the pre-existing condition.
For example, if you have COPD and you inhaled fuel vapors from a liquid-fuel tool. This can cause a flare up of the COPD. The key is determining if the pre-existing injury is connected to the new work-related injury. The worker would need to ascertain that the current pain for the new injury is not residual pain from a pre-existing injury.
It is important that workers know that they cannot be barred from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, the claim can be reduced, and the worker could receive only compensation for the increase in the permanent impairment. A pension can also be affected by the claim. It is vital that you get a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to retain all of your benefits.
In the current debate on health care and pre-existing conditions, the plan that is to replace Obamacare will have fewer protections, but it won’t allow insurers to deny coverage to those with a pre-existing condition. That’s the good news. The bad news is insurers could charge higher premiums for those without continuous coverage, but only for a year. This could mean that workers who work construction in areas of the United States where projects only happen two or three out of the four seasons. They might only have health insurance from employer to employer, from project to project.
What’s an IME and How Does it Affect a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
An independent medical examination (IME) can be arranged during a workers’ compensation claim and is done by a third-party doctor. This is when the worker’s doctor and the insurer’s doctor do not agree with the medical report.
In New Jersey, an IME can be done at any location within the state. Although a worker cannot have his or her attorney present at the IME, he or she can have their physician present. A worker can have more than one IME; however, the worker cannot miss one. Also, an IME is not binding in court, but it can sway the outcome in your favor.
If you have a pre-existing injury that has been made worse by a new injury, it is vital that you seek a work injury lawyer immediately. It is also beneficial to your case if you have witnesses, took notes of the accident and reported the accident to your employer as soon as it happened.
At Goldberg & Wolf, we have helped thousands of workers in New Jersey get the compensation they deserve because we specialize in workers’ compensation law and walk you through each step of the case. Contact us today or call at (856) 651-1600 if you have questions and need to file a claim.