Worker’s Compensation Protects Workers with Preexisting Conditions
One of the biggest myths regarding Wisconsin worker’s compensation is that you shouldn’t file a claim if you have a preexisting condition.
Some people – coworkers, bosses, even doctors – tell injured workers they are not eligible for worker’s compensation because they have suffered other injuries in the past. For example, a worker who has had a bad knee for decades, then feels a sudden pain while picking up a heavy load at work, might believe worker’s compensation can’t help them. An employer or a worker’s compensation carrier might even try that argument.
But the truth is, you don’t have to be in perfect condition to file for worker’s compensation in Wisconsin. Employers take workers as they are. They have to accept that some workers are more vulnerable than others to workplace injury, whether from a degenerative condition like arthritis or an old injury like a fall.
How Preexisting Conditions are Viewed Under WI Worker’s Comp Law
Imagine that you had suffered a back injury some years ago. You underwent surgery and did the hard work of physical therapy. Eventually, the doctors say that you have recovered— though you might still feel a twinge now and then, and you are more careful than you used to be.
Ready to go back to work, you find a job working for a trucking company. Every day you load pallets of freight, operate heavy machinery in all weather, and drive vehicles with minimal suspension across unpaved ground. You come home every night with a stiff, sore back. One day your pain becomes so intense that it is hard for you to work through it. You see a doctor, who tells you your back is in bad shape, that you might need more surgery and that you need to work with restrictions.
Your employer and their worker’s compensation carrier might try to convince you that you cannot win a worker’s compensation claim. After all, your back was injured before you ever started working for the trucking company. But the reality is, injuries can have more than one cause. What matters is whether work caused the injury or made it significantly worse.
Workplace Injuries of Any Kind Fall Under Worker’s Compensation
If something that happened at work directly caused your injury, that injury should be covered by Wisconsin worker’s compensation insurance. If something that happened at work aggravated a preexisting condition beyond its normal progression, the treatment of that condition should be covered by Wisconsin worker’s compensation insurance. If exposure over time to strenuous, physically-demanding work was a material contributory causative factor in your health condition, that should also be covered by Wisconsin worker’s compensation.
If you’ve suffered an injury at work, whether it happened over time or because of a single traumatic event, consider contacting the experienced worker’s compensation attorneys at Hawks Quindel for a free evaluation of your claim.
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