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Aggravation or Exacerbation of Pre-Existing Conditions

New Jersey Attorney Assisting Injured Workers with Complex Claims

Workers’ compensation is a mandatory program that covers almost all employees and employers in the state of New Jersey. When an employee is injured or becomes ill during the course and scope of his or her employment, he or she may file a claim for benefits, such as medical treatment or disability payments. While there must be some connection between the work injury or illness and the employee’s job, the fact that the employee had a pre-existing condition does not necessarily mean that he or she cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits. The seasoned New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall regularly handle cases involving an aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition. We will be glad to explain your legal rights in such a situation if you have recently been injured on the job.

While having a pre-existing condition such as back pain, an old knee injury from high school sports, or a respiratory illness can add layers of complexity to a workers’ compensation claim, it does not necessarily prevent an injured worker from being eligible for benefits like paid medical care, temporary total disability benefits, or permanent total disability benefits. The employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier may argue that the employee’s pre-existing condition is the sole source of the injury or illness from which he or she suffers, but it is ultimately up to an administrative law judge to determine whether a certain claim is compensable under New Jersey law.

Claims Based on an Aggravation or Exacerbation of a Pre-Existing Condition

Unlike situations involving traditional health insurance coverage, in which a pre-existing condition may be a legitimate reason for denial of a claim, employers are said to take employees “as they find them.” This means that, if an employee has a pre-existing condition and something happens at work that makes this condition worse, the employer can be held responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits to the employee. This is true even if a different worker who did not have a pre-existing condition might have had a better outcome from the same accident or injury.

In order to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, the injured worker must give notice of his or her injury within a certain time period, or else his or her legal rights may be jeopardized. The employer should then fill out the necessary paperwork in order to report the injury to the state workers’ compensation department and make sure that the employee gets the medical treatment that is necessary under the circumstances. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company should be financially responsible for this medical care, rather than the employee’s health insurance carrier.

If the employee is unable to work for a period of time, he or she may also receive temporary disability payments. If the worker is left with a permanent vocational impairment as a result of an aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, he or she may also be entitled to a monetary award for a permanent disability. The amount of compensation that an employee ultimately receives depends upon (among other things) the employee’s wage at the time of the injury, the part of his or her body that was injured, and the physical impairment rating assigned to him or her by the treating physician.

Consult a Work Injury Attorney in New Jersey

At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we handle many different types of workers’ compensation cases on behalf of injured workers in Freehold, New Brunswick, Toms River, Jersey City, Plainfield, Trenton, Newark, Paterson, and the surrounding areas of Monmouth, Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, Union, Mercer, Essex, and Passaic Counties. Our knowledgeable New Jersey attorneys are well-versed in the many laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to workers’ compensation claims in which an aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition is likely to be an issue, and we are here for you if you need assistance with your claim. For a free case consultation with a work injury lawyer, call us at (800) 999-0897 or contact us online.