Workers’ compensation covers a lot more than many people realize. Some people assume that it is just for injuries, but that is not true. If an illness results from a job, it can be covered as well. People think that work comp doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, but if the condition was aggravated by work activities, that counts as well. Generally speaking, if you are an employee with a medical condition that was caused in whole or in part by your work activities, you may qualify for workers’ compensation. Here are some specifics.
If your injury was the result of a single trauma in the workplace, you can qualify for workers’ compensation. These are often the easiest claims to prove, especially if there were witnesses to the accident that caused it. Specific injuries included in this type of claim may include the following:
- Contusions (bruising)
- Eye injuries
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue sprains or strains
2. Work-Related Illnesses
If your job exposed you to a sickness-causing substance that you wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise, you can claim the illness that results under workers’ compensation. For example, industrial workers may develop pneumoconioses by inhaling dust, or health care workers may be exposed to blood-borne pathogens from accidental needlesticks.
3. Overuse and Repetitive Motion Injuries
Manual labor and clerical jobs can put people at risk for repetitive motion injuries. These are caused by repeated activities over a long period of time. However, they are no less traumatic just because the injury occurs gradually. While it is true that it is more difficult to prove that this type of injury is related to work, that doesn’t mean that it is not eligible for workers’ compensation. It just means that you may have to look a little harder for the evidence that it is work-related.
4. Aggravation of a Pre-Existing Condition
Many people believe that you cannot collect workers’ compensation for a pre-existing condition, but that is an oversimplification. It is true that you cannot collect compensation for a condition that existed prior to going to work for your employer. However, if the work that you do for your employer aggravated your existing condition, you can collect compensation for the portion of the pain that your work caused. Calculating this can be difficult, but you should not fail to file a claim, nor should you accept a denial, because of a pre-existing condition.