Workers’ compensation coverage is more comprehensive than many employees realize. You probably know that you can claim benefits if you get hurt in a machinery accident at work or if you acquire an occupational illness because of job responsibilities or chemical exposure at work. What you may not realize is that you don’t have to suffer in silence when your existing hernia injury starts acting up or your carpal tunnel gets worse because of something you do on the job.
Pre-existing conditions come in all shapes and sizes. You may have not realized that your job would eventually affect those pre-existing conditions, or you may have hoped that your health had improved to a point where the condition wouldn’t impact your work.
If your work functions have a direct impact on the worsening of your pre-existing condition, you may be able to claim workers’ compensation benefits.
Why making a claim is important
Maybe your primary care physician has overseen the treatment of your condition for years. You might think that rather than reporting the issue to your employer, the best decision is to just call and make an appointment with your doctor.
There are two downsides to trying to privately manage the consequences of a workplace injury. The first is that you will have some kind of financial responsibility for the care that you receive. Co-pays and deductibles can definitely affect your monthly budget. The second concern is that if you don’t report the issue, your employer could eventually claim that it did not have anything to do with your work.
Treatment and workplace accommodations can help
Advising your employer of how your job has affected a pre-existing condition will help you file a workers’ compensation claim for the benefits you need to get better. Your employer, now aware of the issue, can also help by accommodating your injury.
They could transfer you to another department or provide you with assistive technology so that your condition doesn’t continue to worsen. If your employer tries to deny you benefits or refuses to accommodate you, having proof that your condition relates to the work that you do can help you appeal denied benefits or fight back against employer retaliation.
Knowing what conditions make you eligible for workers’ compensation will help you know when to apply for benefits, including after a workplace accident or when a pre-existing condition flares up again.