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Can injured workers get benefits for pre-existing conditions?

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

Many injured employees have a straightforward claim for Iowa workers’ compensation benefits. They get hurt when a co-worker drops a tool or when a piece of machinery malfunctions, so there is no question about the relationship between their current employment and their medical condition.

Other workers may find that their medical concerns fall into a bit of a gray area. For example, say that a worker already had knee pain or carpal tunnel syndrome when they accepted a new job. The condition existed before employment, but there is little question that their job responsibilities have worsened those symptoms, possibly making it very difficult for them to maintain their employment.

Can workers’ compensation help those whose employment has aggravated or otherwise impacted a pre-existing medical condition?

Pre-existing conditions sometimes qualify for benefits

A worker who has experienced the same back pain symptoms for years would not qualify for workers’ compensation coverage just because they now have a job. However, if they can show that their condition has worsened since beginning their job, then they might qualify for benefits. When someone’s employment worsens an existing condition, that employee may be eligible for disability benefits and medical benefits.

Typically, a careful medical evaluation will be crucial for those bringing a workers’ compensation claim related to a pre-existing condition. The more documentation they have exploring the initial or long-term symptoms they experienced and the new or worsening symptoms they now present, the easier it will be to connect with benefits. Being able to conclusively establish that employment worsened someone’s symptoms could therefore make a major difference for an employee coping with a worsening condition impacted by their job responsibilities.

In theory, a worker who is experiencing worsening symptoms could qualify for the same medical coverage and disability benefits as those with a new traumatic injury related to their employment. Understanding when conditions qualify for coverage is, therefore, often an important starting point for those who believe that they may require the support of workers’ compensation benefits in Iowa.


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