It may have been years since you filed a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim. Someone who doesn’t even work with you anymore made a mistake and back to piece of machinery into you, causing a serious knee injury.
You had to have surgery and took a little over three months off of work to recover. Workers’ compensation helped pay your bills and covered your treatment costs. Once you were back on the job, the claim ended.
However, you have recently started noticing recurring pain in your knee when you work or other warning signs that your knee injury has started getting worse. Can you get workers’ compensation benefits again for an injury that occurred years ago?
Recurring symptoms and flare-ups qualify for coverage
The human body is quite complex, and physical recovery from an injury often isn’t linear. People may initially recover strength and range of motion, but the underlying damage to the bone, musculature or connective tissue could cause symptoms again in the future.
Especially if you continue working a job that puts physical demands on the affected body part, you may eventually experience the same symptoms again in the future or notice that manageable, minor symptoms become worse and start affecting your job performance.
Although you may have previously ended your benefits and resumed your employment, you can get workers’ compensation coverage again when your condition causes new symptoms and affects your job. You will need to gather proper medical documentation and submit paperwork in order to resume benefits. You may qualify both for medical treatment and for disability benefits if you must take a leave of absence as part of your recovery.
A new injury may require a new claim
Sometimes, an injury to the same body part isn’t a flare-up of a prior injury but the development of a new condition, like a repetitive stress disorder. Workers can theoretically get benefits for a different injury affecting the same body part.
Especially when a worker has recurring symptoms, careful compliance with medical recommendations will be key to continuing to get benefits. Workers who do not follow medical instructions could make themselves partially responsible for their continued symptoms. Learning more about how workers’ compensation protects you when you have lingering symptoms can help you make the most of the coverage you already have.