California has some of the most employee-friendly labor laws in the country. And although the Workers’ Compensation system has issues, it still includes many provisions to help employees get medical attention for the injuries they get in the course of their jobs. It also ensures that workers receive the wages they’ve lost due to their injuries. This doesn’t just help the workers – thanks to Workers’ Compensation, employers avoid ruinous lawsuits every time an employee is injured at work. But does Workers’ Compensation cover you if your workplace injury aggravates a preexisting condition? The answer is a little more complex than just “yes” or “no.”
First of all, what injuries are covered by Workers’ Compensation?
There are certain factors that must be met to ensure an injury is covered.
- The injured worker must be employed by the firm.
This does not include contractors, only the employees hired by the employer – but if you’re listed as an independent contractor, don’t despair; you might still be eligible for Workers’ Compensation.
- The injury in question has to be verified by a medical practitioner, who determines whether it’s work-related or not
- The injury must happen either at work or because of workplace duties.
If you trip and fall on the way to the bathroom at the office, that injury is covered. If you get into a car accident picking up your boss’s dry-cleaning, that’s covered, too.
What injuries are excluded from Workers’ Compensation?
There are some factors that can render an injury ineligible for Workers’ Compensation. The following kinds of injuries are not eligible:
- Intentional self-inflicted injuries.
- Injuries occurring due to intoxication
- Injuries caused by a fight in which the injured worker was the first aggressor
However, the first aggressor rule is not as hardfast as it can seem. Pacific Workers’ Compensation managing attorney, Bilal Kassem, has proved that a client whose case was denied based on the first aggressor rule was acting in self-defense, and therefore not actually the first aggressor.
- Injuries occurring as a result of the injured worker committing a crime
Can you get Workers’ Compensation even if you have a preexisting injury?
So, what happens if your existing back problems or knee problems or even mental health problems are exacerbated by a workplace injury? If your injury is eligible for Workers’ Compensation, it’s covered!
There should be evidence to determine that the aggravation of your existing injury is connected to your increased disability, but you have access to all the benefits of California Workers’ Compensation, including up to $4800 per month in temporary disability, free medical care, and payment for permanent disability.
You should, however, make sure to contact a qualified Workers’ Compensation attorney to help you with this matter, since cases involving preexisting conditions are more complicated than the average Workers’ Compensation claim.
Pacific Workers' Compensation, The Lawyers For Injured Workers, is the leader in Workers' Compensation.