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What Pre-Existing Conditions Could Get Your Workers’ Comp Claim Denied?

Dan Brian   |  August 30, 2016   |  

Under North Carolina law, an employee who is injured on the job is entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits. This is true even if the injury is the result of a pre-existing condition.

North Carolina flag - Riddle & BrantleyNorth Carolina courts have confirmed this point time and time again. The standard is well illustrated in the case of Morrison v. Burlington Industries. In that case, the North Carolina Supreme Court noted that workers can recover benefits for injuries that were caused by a workplace incident, and workers need not prove that their job was the sole reason for their injury in order to do so.

However, claims involving pre-existing conditions are especially complex and many claims get unfairly denied.

A Very Common Reason Why Good Claims Get Denied – But You Should Keep Fighting

Icon of a staircase - Riddle & BrantleyThe simple fact is that many good claims are wrongly denied due to pre-existing injuries. These claims often must be appealed before fair benefits will be granted.

If your claim has been denied due to a pre-existing condition, it is normal to feel discouraged. However, you should not give up. You owe it to yourself and to your family to keeping fighting.

Please consult with an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer who can comprehensively review your claim and help you assess your options.

Examples of Work Injuries with Pre-Existing Medical Conditions That Can Still Qualify for Workers’ Comp

  • Back injuries: There are few things more painful and debilitating than a serious back injury. These injuries can occur in an instant and they frequently become re-aggravated. Still, all workplace back injuries can potentially qualify for workers’ comp benefits.
  • Repetitive strain injuries: RSIs are injuries that are caused by overuse or repeated minor trauma. They most often occur because of repetitive movements. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common type of RSI. Many employees suffer it after many years of using a keyboard on a regular basis. Even though this condition develops gradually, victims can still qualify for workers’ comp.
  • Arthritis and degenerative conditions: There are also many misconceptions about injuries that occur over the long-term. For instance, work-related arthritis and degenerative conditions can be eligible for workers’ comp benefits.

Examples of Work Injuries with Pre-Existing Medical Conditions That Can Be Difficult to Win

While workplace aggravations of a prior injury or a pre-existing medical condition will generally be covered under North Carolina law, there are certain circumstances where you may run into difficulty. The most common example is when a claimant is found to have disregarded the professional instructions of a doctor.

When bringing your claim, your prior medical records will almost certainly be reviewed in detail. If you were injured lifting a heavy box, and it turns out that your doctor told you not to lift that type of object, your claim may be denied.

A Workers’ Comp Lawyer Who Can Help

Icon of the scales of justice - Riddle & BrantleyAt Riddle & Brantley, our North Carolina workers’ comp lawyers have extensive experience handling a wide variety of workplace injury claims, including cases that involve pre-existing conditions.

If you have aggravated a pre-existing condition while on the job, please do not hesitate to contact our office today to schedule a free review of your claim.