Virginia Workers’ Comp for Aggravation of Pre-Existing Condition
In Virginia, if an employee suffers an injury that causes an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. An employer takes the employee as it finds them. This means that if an employee with a pre-existing condition works for the employer, the employer must pay workers’ comp for aggravation of pre-existing condition the employee may suffer in a workplace accident.
For example, if a worker with a previous ankle injury starts working for a new employer and re-injures his ankle lifting boxes on the job, that will likely be covered as an aggravation of a pre existing condition. However, if a worker with a prior back injury starts working for a new employer and injures his back lifting a box, if that injury occurs in the same area of the back as the initial injury, the worker will be entitled to compensation.
Mike Ritchie discusses how a work injury affects a pre existing condition in this video:
If the new injury occurs in a different area of the back or a different lumbar region, that injury will be new injury and may still be covered by workers compensation if the requirements listed below are met.
What Should You Do If You Aggravated a Pre-existing Condition on the Job?
If you are injured at work in Virginia and happen to aggravate an injury that you had before, you may be eligible to receive Virginia Workers’ Compensation benefits. In Virginia, the employer “takes an employee as the employer finds him or her.” Basically, this means that the employer can’t try to dodge pay workers’ comp to an injured employee just because the employee suffered an aggravation to an existing injury. So, even though an employee might have “infirmities and pre-existing disabilities,” that employee may still get Virginia workers’ comp benefits if he or she was injured on the job. According to Virginia’s workers’ compensation laws, it does not matter that an employee was predisposed to an injury or disease or to further injury due to a prior injury or condition.
How Do I Prove That The Aggravation Happened At Work?
It is the employee’s responsibility to prove that the employee’s work aggravated or accelerated a pre-existing condition. Basically, the employee must show that the work injury had a substantial or “material” effect on the pre-existing condition. You can do this by getting the medical records from your pre-existing condition to show when treatment stopped or when your condition changed. Your doctor may also be helpful in providing information to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Virginia Workers Compensation
To be eligible for Virginia Workers’ Compensation benefits, an injured workers’ injury must be compensable. This means:
- there must have been an injury by accident that arose
- out of the employment — this refers to whether the employee was engaged in work for the employer at the time of the workplace injury. Simply being on the clock and/or on the employer’s premises is not sufficient to meet this test, however. At the time of the injury, the employee must have been engaged in a work related activity that is particular to and related to the work the employee performs. For example, a fall that happens while the employee is carrying something or when the employee trips over something that is particular to their job, that fall may be compensable. However, if the employee trips over her untied shoelaces or has an unexplained fall, injuries from that accident may not be compensable.
- in the course of employment — this refers to whether the injured worker was on the clock or somehow connected to work at the time of the accident.
Workers Compensation Benefits
If a workers’ pre existing condition aggravation is found to be compensable, the employee will be entitled to workers compensation benefits. In Virginia, some of those benefits include:
- Lifetime medical benefits so the employee can receive medical treatment for the work related injury
- A maximum of 500 weeks of wage benefits — workers who have doctors’ orders to be off work (either fully or on light-duty) may be eligible to receive workers compensation to cover their lost wages for a maximum of 500 weeks
The workers’ compensation insurance company is required to provide workers compensation benefits to cover the injured workers’ medical bills and wage losses. In Virginia workers compensation, wage losses are paid to injured employees at the rate of 2/3 of the employees’ average weekly wage.
Please note that a full explanation of workers’ compensation benefits such as permanent disability benefits and temporary disability benefits are not covered in this article, but can be found at the links provided.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Claim
It’s important to remember that neither the employer nor the workers’ compensation insurance company will file a claim for you with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWCC). You are responsible for making sure that you have a Claim for Benefits Form filed to protect your workers’ compensation claim.
On the Claim for Benefits Form, you will want to make sure to list all injuries to all body parts that were affected by the accident, even if the injury aggravated a pre-existing condition. You will also want to make certain that the workers’ compensation claim form is filed with the VWCC as soon after your injury as possible. For more information on statutes of limitation for filing a Claim for Benefits form, please contact our office at 800-277-6124.
Virginia Workers Compensation Attorney
The Ritchie Law Firm has helped thousands of injured workers fight the workers compensation insurance company to get their pre existing conditions covered under workers comp. If you’ve had a workplace injury that aggravates a pre-existing condition, you shouldn’t wait to contact a lawyer experienced in workers compensation claims. Pre-existing condition cases are often more difficult to win and you will need an experienced workers compensation lawyer on your side.
At the Ritchie Law Firm, we handle workers comp cases on a contingency fee basis. This means we don’t get paid unless you win your case. So, if you’ve been injured in a workplace accident and suffered an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, you have nothing to lose by talking to one of our attorneys. Our lawyers will let you know if they think you need a workers compensation attorney, or if this is a matter you might be able to handle on your own. Call today for a free consultation — 800-277-6124!
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer: Success Rate
The Ritchie Law Firm has helped many injured employees beat back the workers compensation claims adjusters and settle their cases for a sizeable amount. See our Case Settlements and Recoveries page. A pre-existing injury should not prevent you from obtaining the workers compensation benefits you are entitled to. DON’T GET HURT TWICE! Get a strong law firm on your side. Let the Ritchie Law Firm be your WALL OF DEFENSE!
Your Virginia Workers’ Compensation Team
We have a wealth of information and resources available to us, and we’re always happy to share. Give us a call today at 800-277-6124 for your NO STRINGS ATTACHED conversation with our workers’ comp. lawyers to find out if you are entitled to workers comp for aggravation of pre-existing condition and how pain and suffering works in workers’ compensation cases. We handle Virginia Workers’ Compensation cases out of our offices in Harrisonburg, Winchester, Charlottesville, and Staunton, Va. Or, if you just want to test the waters first, get some more information by downloading our free workers’ compensation booklet from the side panel. We look forward to working with you.