When work exacerbates a preexisting condition

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

When most people hear the term “occupational injury,” they think of injuries that occur as a result of onsite accidents. While work-related accidents are unquestionably problematic, they are not the only kind of occupational injury that can affect hard-working people in challenging ways. 

For example, repetitive stress injuries affect millions of Americans. Repetitive trauma occurs when the body experiences harm as a result of a worker completing the same actions over and over and/or forcing the body to move in certain ways repeatedly to the point whereby the body can no longer adapt to those motions effectively. 

Additionally, workers may experience aggravation or exacerbation of preexisting conditions as a result of work-related activities. Although these kinds of injuries aren’t discussed widely and frequently, they are just as legitimate as those that originate as a result of one’s job. 

Compensation is usually available

In New Jersey, both part-time and full-time employees are generally entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits after sustaining work-related physical harm. The primary notable exceptions to this entitlement occur when a worker is trying to get hurt intentionally, when a worker gets hurt after starting a physical altercation and when a worker is only hurt after becoming intoxicated or otherwise impaired.

Notice that there is no exception related to the type of injuries that a worker sustains. Whether someone’s harm is acute (usually via an accident), chronic (usually due to repetitive trauma) or manifests as aggravation or an exacerbation of a preexisting condition, that worker generally remains entitled to receive benefits. 

With that said, it can be particularly difficult to convince a workers’ compensation insurance claims adjuster that any symptoms linked to a preexisting condition are work-related. As a result, it can be particularly helpful for workers who are seeking benefits under these circumstances to seek legal guidance before they submit a claim.