A man getting treated for a preexisting condition in Augusta before applying for workers' comp in Georgia.

How Do Pre-Existing Conditions Impact Workers’ Comp in Georgia?

If you suffered a work injury and have a pre-existing condition, getting what you deserve from your workers’ compensation claim could be challenging.

Workers’ compensation typically offers injured employees benefits for a work-related injury. Individuals can receive compensation for income loss and medical bills, as well as other potential benefits depending on their claim. However, if an employee has any pre-existing conditions with a workers’ comp claim in Georgia, getting their full due can be challenging.

Workers’ compensation claims can get complicated if you had a previous injury similar to the current one, or you injured the same body part again and already received workers’ compensation for the injured body part.

Getting the compensation you have a legal right to receive in a complex workers’ comp claim in Georgia with pre-existing conditions can be an uphill battle. However, you do not need to struggle on your own.

Contact a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer at Gregory Smith Law, LLC today to find out about your rights in a free consultation.

What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition typically describes any long-term medical illness, injury, or condition that an individual suffered before experiencing a work accident, injury, or work-related medical condition. Usually, a person knows about their pre-existing conditions and most likely already received treatment for them.

Generally, worker’s compensation benefits should not be denied or minimized due to pre-existing conditions, especially if the injuries are entirely unrelated. However, in some cases, an employer or insurer may look for excuses to deny workers their rightful benefits. That is why having a dedicated workers’ comp attorney by your side can be crucial for protecting your rights as well as your benefits.

Common Pre-Existing Conditions in GA Workers’ Compensation Claims

Examples of pre-existing conditions that may be at issue in a workers’ comp claim include:

  • Back and neck injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Herniated discs
  • Joint damage
  • Fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain injuries
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Cancer

If you have any pre-existing conditions and are unsure how to proceed with your claim, contact Gregory Smith Law, LLC for help.

How Can a Pre-Existing Condition Impact Your Georgia Workers’ Comp Claim?

Pre-existing conditions with a workers’ comp claim in Georgia could impact your case in the following ways:

  • Unrelated pre-existing condition – An unrelated pre-existing condition typically will not play any role in your worker’s comp claim. For example, suppose you have a pre-existing back condition and subsequently suffered a work injury due to the inhalation of toxic substances. In that case, your workers’ comp payout should not be affected.
  • Pre-existing condition not related to a previous workers’ comp claim – If you aggravated a prior condition due to a work-related injury and the pre-existing condition is unrelated to a work accident, you could receive workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits you could claim will only apply to the condition’s worsening due to the work accident.
  • Pre-existing condition related to a previous claim – If your current work injury aggravated a prior condition that qualified you for workers’ comp previously, you could receive benefits such as medical bills and income losses. Depending on your earlier claim, your benefits may be reduced.

A pre-existing condition could make it challenging for you to recover your full benefits from workers’ comp. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you with your claim and help you pursue everything you need and deserve.

What to Do If Your Claim Has Been Rejected or Undervalued Due to a Pre-Existing Condition

Workers’ compensation claims can be denied for a variety of reasons, some of which include:

  • Missing a deadline for submitting the claim
  • An employer contests or denies the claim
  • Medical records are missing or inconclusive

When your claim is denied, do not despair. You could still receive compensation for your injuries and losses. You should speak to a workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and receive professional assistance in fighting the denial. A workers’ comp lawyer can help you in many ways, including preparing your case for the next steps, such as the hearing.

After a denial of your claim, you will typically have a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). Having professional legal representation and guidance for this hearing can be of considerable help for individuals fighting a denial. Your attorney can prepare you for the questions you are likely to face and protect your rights during the hearing. They will also be able to help you with other crucial steps, including:

  • Gathering the relevant evidence for your claim – A workers’ comp claim can fail due to a lack of evidence, such as conclusive medical records of the injury. A workers’ comp lawyer can talk to your medical providers and help collect the required evidence, as well as present proof of your claim at the hearing.
  • Present your case at the hearing – A workers’ comp attorney knows how to build a case, gather the necessary evidence, and present your claim forcefully and convincingly to the ALJ.

Talk to a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now

Struggling through a complicated workers’ comp claim by yourself, especially when it involves pre-existing conditions, can be a mistake that could cost you some of all of your benefits.

According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, while you can represent yourself, your employer will almost certainly have a lawyer to represent them. Therefore, working with your own experienced workers’ comp attorney can help with your workers’ comp claim.

At Gregory Smith Law, LLC, we work exclusively with workers’ compensation claims. Our mission is to help injured individuals recover the benefits and compensation that they deserve. If your claim was denied, we can help you:

  • Find out exactly why your claim was denied
  • How to build a comprehensive case appealing the denial
  • How to guide and support you through the hearing and the entire process

Filing a workers’ comp claim can be complicated and stressful. We understand just how upsetting receiving a denial letter can feel. You do not have to go through this alone. Gregory Smith Law, LLC can work with you to seek workers’ comp benefits for your injury or work-related condition.

Contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our dedicated legal team.