Aggravation Injury and Workers' Compensation
Workers’ compensation helps you cover expenses and costs associated with aggravated injuries on the job. A fall from a ladder or a power tool mishap can immediately leave you with a painful injury. Workers’ compensation insurers routinely approve claims based on these incidents. Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.
Not all workplace injuries are immediate and new. Repetitive motions like typing, bending over, and carrying small loads can aggravate existing health issues. Workers’ compensation benefits are available for these injuries, too. But insurers are more likely to challenge such claims.
Aggravation Injury and Workers' Compensation Examples
An aggravated injury occurs when new trauma worsens an existing injury. Some examples of an aggravated injury in the workplace include:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects your wrists and occurs due to repeated grasping-like motions. Typing and grasping small hand tools like screwdrivers can cause you to develop this often painful condition.
Rather than occurring suddenly, carpal tunnel syndrome sets in slowly over time. If you have started to develop CTS, your work can aggravate it if you continue to perform the same motions. Severe cases can be disabling to your hands and wrists.
Years spent lifting heavy loads or manipulating weighty objects take their toll on your back. Back strains and sprains can also result from operating heavy equipment over a period of years.
These sorts of repetitive motions can cause little traumas that eventually lead to back injuries. The discs that separate the vertebrae in your back can bulge from their normal places or disintegrate completely.
If your back is already weak from a sports injury or other damage, work can aggravate that condition. The result can be significant pain in your back and legs. You might not be capable of continuing to work if the pain is especially severe.
Damaged Knee Joints
Actions like climbing up and down ladders, jumping from heights, or carrying heavy loads can also aggravate your knee joints. These actions worsen the physical trauma or pain you are already experiencing from a sports or other injury.
In addition, the cartilage that lines and cushions the knee can degenerate over time. The more activities you perform that put stress on your knee joint, the greater the degeneration you can experience.
And when this cartilage completely degenerates, the bones of your knee joint are left to grind against one another. This situation not only causes pain; it can also immobilize you.
Other Aggravated Injuries
Your work duties can aggravate underlying medical conditions as well. For instance, if you work in a dusty environment and have a breathing disorder, that condition can worsen due to your work environment. Similarly, You might experience a worsening of a pre-existing injury or illness due to your job duties.
Workers’ Comp Benefits for an Aggravated Injury
Workers’ compensation benefits are available if you experience an aggravated injury. Accessing these benefits, though, can be more challenging.
Basics of Workers’ Comp Claims
In a traditional workers’ compensation claim, you file a claim for benefits following a workplace accident or illness. The injured worker must file a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission in order to protect their right to benefits under Virginia law. Once your company’s insurer approves your claim, you receive benefits to pay for medical treatment for your condition.
If you must miss work for several days, you can also receive benefits to help cover a portion of your lost wages. And if you die because of your workplace accident, your survivors can receive financial benefits as well.
The key to receiving workers’ compensation benefits of any type is to prove that your injury happened on the job. In other words, you must demonstrate that you were hurt as a result of performing your job. If the available evidence satisfies the insurer that your injury occurred on the job, you will receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Proving an Aggravated Injury Happened on the Job
Because aggravated injuries are not new — and instead involve additional harm to an existing injury — the connection to your employment can be more challenging for you to prove. The insurer may demand more evidence, and be more skeptical, of a claim for an aggravated injury.
For example, suppose that you hurt your back when playing with your children. After receiving treatment, you return to your job in the construction industry. You also continue playing with your children. As the months go by, your back injury worsens until you are unable to work anymore without back surgery.
Suppose that, at this point, you file a workers’ compensation claim. The insurer may deny the claim and argue that your back condition got worse because you play with your children — not because of your work. Absent some evidence connecting the worsening of your back injury to your job duties, you may not receive any workers’ comp benefits.
Succeeding in a Claim for Workers’ Comp Benefits
When you have an aggravated injury, recovering workers’ comp benefits requires comprehensive medical records. Your doctor and any other specialist you see will be the ones to offer a compelling opinion as to the cause of your aggravated injury. The more details that these records contain, the more helpful they will be to your case.
Therefore, when you do experience an aggravation of an existing injury, make sure to follow up with your doctor often. Be open and honest about your activities and how they impacted your injury. And ask your doctor about any activity limitations or restrictions and get these directions in writing.
Speak with a Aggravation Injury and Workers' Compensation Attorney Today
Lastly, get experienced legal help from The Joel Bieber Firm, your workers’ comp aggravated injury lawyer. We will guide you through the steps needed to document your aggravated injury and connect it with your work activities.