Many people think that if they have a pre-existing condition, they will not be able to recover for a work injury to the same body part. However, under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 42-9-35 (A)) a worker can still receive workers’ compensation benefits, despite the existence of a pre-existing condition. If a medical condition is aggravated by an on-the-job injury or by an occupational hazard, you are entitled workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, if the presence of a pre-existing medical condition aggravates the injury you received on the job, under South Carolina law you are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
As an example, let’s say you have had three previous back surgeries. You still have daily back pain that is well documented, however you are still able to work. While at work, you make a slight movement or lift something which wrenches your back in such a way that you are in even more pain than normal. If you have suffered a new injury or aggravated your pre-existing injury, the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Commission has stated that the employer is responsible for this new injury or aggravation and will order the employer to pay for your medical care and time out of work until you have reached maximum medical improvement for this new injury or aggravation.
I frequently speak to people whose doctors have told them that their work injury caused a “flareup” or aggravation of some pre-existing arthritis. Because it is arthritis many times the person thinks that it would not be covered under workers’ compensation. Sometimes the doctors think this too. However, if something that you did at work aggravated your arthritis, then your employer is responsible for that “flareup” or aggravation.
So long as you have not lied about a prior ailment or condition or tried to hide it from your employer, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured in an accident at work that aggravates or exacerbates a prior condition or injury.
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury, you may be worried about your health and lost wages, while being confused by the information you are receiving and the forms you are required to fill out. Each case is different and requires an experienced attorney to look at the specific facts of your case to make an adequate determination of the success of your claim. Call Venus Poe today for a free consultation at 864-963-0310 or fill out this online form and we will contact you.