It is not unusual for a worker to have some type of pre-existing condition at the time he or she is injured in a work-related accident. Having a pre-existing condition does not disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
However, some insurers can be quick to deny a worker’s compensation claim if the claimant suffers a pre-existing condition because they see this as a way to reduce the amount of benefits they have to pay.
Nevada law allows any employee to file a workers’ compensation claim if he or she is injured within the course of his or her employment, even if the employee has a pre-existing condition. If your claim has been denied because your work-related accident worsened a pre-existing condition, Henness & Haight’s Las Vegas workers’ compensation attorneys will help you fight to recover the benefits you deserve. We can discuss how your claim may be affected by a pre-existing condition during a free, no obligation consultation.
Types of Pre-Existing Conditions
A pre-existing condition is a medical complication that existed before a workplace accident that affects the same part of the body as the newer workplace injury.
Some common pre-existing conditions include:
- Herniated disks
- Torn ligaments
- Spine degeneration
- Knee injuries
- Sprains and strains to legs or arms
Although having a pre-existing injury may impact your workers’ compensation claim, it does not prevent you from recovering benefits to pay for your medical expenses and lost wages. You can still receive benefits if the new injury aggravated your pre-existing condition.
Nevada Workers’ Compensation Law
Nevada law (NRS § 616C.175) requires employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits to individuals with pre-existing injuries if the work-related accident leads to the aggravation, precipitation or acceleration of a pre-existing condition.
An insurer must pay for the employee’s full workers’ compensation benefits unless it is able to prove the work-related injury did not worsen the pre-existing condition.
NRS 616C.177 allows insurance companies to ask about pre-existing conditions and obtain any medical records concerning a pre-existing condition that still affect the worker’s health. Because of this, you must comply with any request the insurer makes for signing medical release forms to allow the insurer access to your medical records.
How to Support Your Pre-Existing Injury Claim
Although workers’ compensation is available to injured workers regardless of the cause of the injury, insurance companies will use any opportunity to reduce your claim’s value or deny it altogether.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to support your workers’ compensation claim if you suffer from a pre-existing injury:
Promptly File Your Claim
Nevada law requires you to file a claim within 90 days of an accident. However, you should inform your employer about your injury as soon as possible.
An insurance company may view hesitating to report an injury as a sign that your injury is not as serious as you claim. If you fail to report your injury within the 90-day deadline, your employer’s insurer could deny your claim.
Consult with a Doctor
Let your medical provider know important details about your pre-existing condition. Provide specific information about the areas of your body that have been affected by your work-related injury and how it has impacted your pre-existing condition.
Describe to your doctor the differences between your previous injury and the one you have just acquired. This should include any pain, discomfort or limitation that you have experienced because of your pre-existing injury.
You should also describe any changes in the location, intensity, duration or frequency of pain that have occurred since acquiring your work-related injury.
Follow Any Medical Requests
It is important that you follow any medical requests made by the insurance company. This includes providing it with any medical documents or records it may request that relate to your pre-existing condition.
Also, an insurer may request an Independent Medical Examination where a physician evaluates your injury and reviews your medical history. You must comply with this request and any other treatment the insurer requires in order to receive your worker’s compensation benefits.
If your treating physician prescribes you a treatment plan, you must follow his or her instructions for an insurer to approve your workers’ compensation benefits. This includes scheduling follow-up appointments to check your recovery progress.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Las Vegas
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be very complicated when you suffer from a pre-existing condition. Insurers will often use a pre-existing condition as a reason to deny your claim and prevent you from receiving the medical and financial support you need.
If you suffer from a pre-existing condition and were injured in a work-related accident, do not hesitate to contact Henness & Haight’s workers’ compensation attorneys. We will fight for your right to obtain the maximum benefits you deserve for your medical expenses and compensation for partial lost wages.
We will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your case and any complications that may arise because of a pre-existing injury. Our attorneys work only on a contingency fee basis, which means we will not charge you upfront legal fees. You only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim.