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Can You Get Workers' Comp With Pre-Existing Conditions In California?

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Getting Your On-The-Job Injury Compensation In California

Many people believe they are not eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits if they had a pre-existing condition before being injured at work.

This is not entirely true, which is good news. Even if some aspects of your injuries can be attributed to your pre-existing conditions, you can still look at how your injuries worsened because of the work-related accident.


So, pre-existing injury in workers' compensation may be used as an excuse, but there is still a legal basis to claim some compensation regardless. Prescreened California workers' compensation attorneys can assist you in obtaining the benefits you are legally entitled to.


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What's Workers' Compensation In California?

Workers' comp is meant to pay for possible losses and expenses an employee will incur after getting injured on the job. In the best cases, employees only need to report their injury then their boss will forward that report to their insurance company. This is the fastest way employees get compensation for their work injuries.


One important aspect of workers' comp is that the process is made to be as quick and uncomplicated as possible. You don't even have to prove you were injured on the job to your boss, you only need to report to him, and they'll take it from there.

This benefits both parties because:

  • You get compensated with minimum barriers for doing so.

  • Your boss reduces risks for lawsuits and personal injury claims.

Again, in the best-case scenario, you wouldn't have to run into problems and get what you need. However, some cases aren't as clear-cut, and you might face resistance from your boss or their insurance provider.


What Is A Pre-Existing Condition In California Workers' Comp Law?

It is an illness or condition you had before your workplace injury. If your pre-existing condition hadn't been incapacitated, you could still qualify for Worker's compensation in California. For example, cancer or a disability can't be the only reason why someone slips and falls at work.

Additionally, if your workplace injury aggravated or worsened your pre-existing condition, you might still be eligible for benefits, even if it was only brief or minor.


Side Note: Aggravation Vs. Exacerbation

How the injuries are worsened can happen in two ways:

  • Aggravation: When pre-existing conditions are permanently worsened.

  • Exacerbation: When the injury is worsened temporarily.

If you're still unsure about your eligibility to file a claim, contact one of our prescreened California workers' compensation attorneys to review your case.

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How Does A Pre-Existing Condition Affect Your Workers' Comp In California?

Consider the case where you sprained your ankle at work, for instance. It's possible that you had an ankle injury in the past, but it had healed by the time you started your current job. Physical therapy or surgery might have been necessary to treat your prior injury.


For example, you've had an ankle injury before the on-the-job accident happened. However, as a result of the new injury, the previous one was made worse, and you can no longer walk pain-free. Therefore, you would be qualified for workers' compensation benefits even if you had a pre-existing condition.


If your boss refuses to compensate you or you're finding difficulty with your workers' comp claim, consult a prescreened Los Angeles workers' compensation law attorney.


What Are The Non-Work-Related Injury Examples?

Now that we know what the law says about pre-existing conditions and workers comp, let's list a few examples of what doesn't count as eligible injuries for your current claim:

  • If you got into an accident at home

  • When you're out on vacation and get injured

  • When your pre-existing conditions were aggravated by something else

  • When you had an accident at a previous workplace

That said, this doesn't cover every non-work-related injury in California. It's best to consider the circumstances of your injuries or accident and how they might be related to your work. Consult prescreened California workers' compensation attorneys to determine your legal options.


What Does Apportionment Mean In California?

Apportionment refers to reducing your worker's comp based on a pre-existing condition.

This is because an employee with pre-existing conditions might become disabled due to several factors, not just the most recent work accident.

How Is Apportionment Calculated In The Permanent Disability Rating?

So, how do you know exactly how much of the disability was caused by pre-existing conditions and which were brought on by accident?

To reduce the ambiguity, apportionment is calculated by:

  1. A doctor will assign a disability rating (based on the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment)

  2. Using the Permanent Disability Rating Schedule, the doctor's evaluation is converted into a permanent disability rating.

Remember, even if there is an allocation for a pre-existing ailment, workers' compensation must cover the total cost of all medical services. If you're having problems with this, contact one of our prescreened California workers’ compensation attorneys.


Why Do You Need A Workers' Comp Attorney In California?


As mentioned, there might be instances where your employer or their insurance company will refuse to give you compensation for your claim. In addition, insurance companies will try to trivialize your injuries and lowball their offers.

Since your injuries will cost you significant medical expenses, income loss, and emotional distress, you must get the compensation you deserve.

If you're facing problems getting the compensation you deserve, consult a prescreened workers' comp attorney in Los Angeles. Sometimes, a demand letter compels stubborn parties to grant you the proper compensation. If not, your California workers' comp attorney can represent you in court, help with your documents, and collect the necessary evidence for a strong case.


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1000Attorneys.com is a California Bar Association-Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to a prescreened California workers' comp attorneys best fit to handle your claims. Contact us on our 24/7 lawyer referral hotline at 1-661-310-7999 or complete our inquiry submission form for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

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