Do Pre-Existing Conditions Void Maryland Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Workplace accidents can happen despite the best safety practices, so workers’ compensation laws operate to get injured employees the treatment they need and help them return to work. In Maryland, the employer is required to pay benefits when a covered employee is injured or killed while on-the-job. This provision raises important questions about whether a pre-existing condition or injury would be covered. The trauma did not occur while at work, so you might wonder whether workers’ comp benefits are available if you find yourself in this position.
The answer is that you cannot be denied workers’ compensation benefits because of a pre-existing condition, if you otherwise qualify. However, there are complications with these cases. You will likely encounter pushback from your employer’s insurance company, so you should retain a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer for help. A closer look at this common issue may also be helpful.
Classifying Pre-Existing Conditions: Though you can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you have an injury or medical condition in your past history, you should be aware of the different categories.
- While working, you could exacerbate a pre-existing condition that you were treated for in the past. If the previous condition was something that occurred before you started employment, or unrelated to employment, you have a new workers’ comp claim for the current injury.
- You might aggravate a pre-existing condition that you never knew you had, which also involves a new workers’ comp claim. For instance, an employee might have no known injuries before hurting their back at work. When seeking treatment, the physician diagnoses a spinal cord damage or disorder.
- In some cases, you could re-injure a medical condition for which you were previously treated and received workers’ compensation benefits. Under the circumstances, you might qualify to reopen your claim.
- If you re-injure a condition while working, but the previous trauma was unrelated to employment, you would file a new claim.
Challenges with Insurers: The laws say that you still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits after exacerbating a pre-existing condition, but insurance companies frequently dispute these claims. They will argue that your injuries are not work-related because they were from a prior incident, shifting blame and denying you your rightful benefits.
The strategy for addressing these challenges is to provide solid evidence of your pre-existing condition diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. You have a baseline for showing how a recent workplace accident changed the status quo, and for the worse. It is useful to have your treating physician provide an opinion on exacerbation of pre-existing conditions.
Get Legal Help from Our Maryland Workers’ Comp Attorneys
While it is good news that a pre-existing condition does not void your benefits, you can see that dealing with insurers is tough. You will need legal assistance to fight the company’s denial, so please contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC to learn how we can serve your needs. We can schedule a free consultation with a workers’ comp lawyer who will review your claim and provide personalized details.