Prior Injuries and Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation

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Prior Injuries and Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation

Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation is a safety net for employees who suffer injuries on the job. How this insurance program handles prior injuries can be confusing. The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, in Tulsa can help you fight for Workers’ Compensation benefits when you have a pre-existing job-related injury or your work has aggravated prior injuries.

This issue can be complex, so our Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorneys review the basics of what workers need to know about prior injuries and OK Workers’ Compensation.

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Prior Injuries?

If you sustain an injury at work, your employer may bring up the fact that you had a pre-existing condition at the time of your job-related injury. It’s important to note that having a pre-existing condition or prior injury does not automatically disqualify you from receiving Workers’ Compensation after your on-the-job injury.

There might be an effort to reject your claim on the grounds of a pre-existing injury. Pre-existing conditions can complicate the process of obtaining Workers’ Compensation benefits. If you have prior injuries, it can be challenging to determine whether the job-related injury is the cause of your inability to work or if your inability to work is due to a pre-existing condition.

In cases where the pre-existing injury and the on-the-job injury are similar, it can make it even more difficult to establish Workers’ Compensation benefits. For instance, if you have a history of lower back pain and then injure your back at work, the differentiation process for pre-existing conditions and on-the-job injuries becomes essential. Workers’ Compensation will only apply if a work-related injury exacerbates your existing injury.

What If I Aggravate Prior Injuries?

If you have a pre-existing injury that is worsened due to work-related activities, it is considered aggravated. In order to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, you must demonstrate that your job-related injury or accident has exacerbated your pre-existing condition or a prior injury. For an aggravation of a pre-existing condition to be found compensable, you must prove an identifiable and significant aggravation incurred in the course and scope of employment, 85A O.S. §2(9)(b)(5).

Keep in mind that if you fail to follow a doctor’s instructions to avoid activities that could worsen your pre-existing injury, you may not be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits for an aggravated condition. For example, if a doctor advises you not to lift more than 50 lbs. at work due to a prior knee injury, and you injure your knee by lifting a 75 lb. box, you may not be eligible for benefits. However, if your doctor has not imposed such restrictions, you may have a valid Workers’ Compensation claim for an aggravated injury.

Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

It’s important to seek advice from a Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Attorney to gain a clear understanding of the benefits you qualify for and what to anticipate. This is particularly crucial if your Workers’ Compensation claim relates to prior injuries. Assessing whether your injury is exacerbated by the work-related injury is not a matter the insurance company is eager to assist you with.

Workers’ Compensation provides support for employees who are injured while on the job. Despite its seemingly straightforward nature, this state government-regulated initiative can be complex to navigate. Even minor injury claims may encounter complications due to employer involvement, intricate paperwork and regulations, delays in accessing medical treatments, and potential engagement with third parties. Prior injuries can add another layer of complexity to any claim.

Contact The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, today at (918) 582-2500 or complete the contact form online to request a free consultation. A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer near me in Tulsa will be happy to review your case, offer advice on your next steps, and explain how we can help.


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