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Can My Employer Claim My Pre-Existing Back Problems Mean My Virginia Worker’s Compensation Benefits Claim Should Be Denied?

back view of man sitting on bed and suffering from back pain

The number of worker’s compensation claims in Virginia that involve pre-existing health conditions or exacerbation or aggravation of prior injuries is high. For example, lower back problems are among the most common ailments that many people suffer from, particularly office workers who sit at a desk all day. In addition to positions that require long periods of sitting that may be hard on the lower back, such as construction industry jobs or certain positions in the healthcare industry like physical therapists or patient care technicians. These jobs often involve frequent bending up and down, twisting from side to side, or lifting of heavy loads, whether a construction worker who lifts heavy loads on a construction project, a roofer who climbs up ladders with hundreds of pounds of roofing materials over his shoulder, a patient care technician who lifts obese patients into or out of hospital beds on a daily basis or a physical therapist who bends over, twists and performs maneuvers on patients all day long five days a week for decades.

The spine gradually wears out with age and problems with the back and, specifically, the discs in the spine, are not uncommon even for those who do not have jobs that may be hard on the back like this. This gradual wearing out of the back or spine is particularly common for those who may be frequently bending and twisting or lifting heavy loads and putting a strain on their lower back like those mentioned above. This can lead to a high rate of back injuries among workers in these fields. However, due to the nature of their jobs as being hard on the back, many of these injured workers may have suffered previous lower back injuries, whether on the job or elsewhere. Nevertheless, simply because you suffered a previous injury in a non-work related setting does not mean that a subsequent re-injury or acceleration or re-aggravation of your prior injury sustained in a workplace setting is not something you should or can be compensated for by worker’s compensation under Virginia law if you re-injure your back at work.

If a workplace injury causes you to suffer aggravation or exacerbation of a previous injury, then the workplace injury is something you should be compensated for through your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance. An employer or their worker's compensation insurer may argue that the injured worker’s workplace lower back injury was not the catalyst of the aggravation of your lower back injury, but it was instead a pre-existing condition completely unrelated to any workplace injury you may have suffered that caused the aggravation or exacerbation of your previous lower back injury or other pre-existing medical condition. However, if the medical evidence shows that a workplace injury leads to an exacerbation, aggravation or acceleration of a pre-existing injury, your employer’s worker’s compensation insurer will be responsible for whatever exacerbation, aggravation or acceleration of a preexisting condition was caused by your on the job injury.

Protect Your Rights by Retaining an Experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you have suffered a workplace injury that exacerbated, aggravated or accelerated a prior injury, then worker’s compensation coverage exists to cover that scenario. Your employer’s worker’s compensation insurer may try to claim that the aggravation or exacerbation of your pre-existing injury was the result of your pre-existing injury other than a workplace incident, but an experienced Virginia worker’s compensation attorney will know how to prove that the workplace injury was what caused the aggravation, exacerbation, or re-injury and will know how to obtain maximum compensation for your from your employer’s worker’s compensation carrier.

To learn more about protecting your rights, please contact Kalfus & Nachman today at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced Virginia workers’ comp lawyers are here to help you.

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