If you get hurt on-the-job, losses caused by your injuries are supposed to be covered by workers’ compensation. Georgia law broadly protects employees by requiring almost all employers to buy workers’ comp insurance, or to self-insure, so an injured employee can get costs covered. The employee should only have to prove an injury is work-related to get disability benefits and medical bills paid by workers’ comp. An Atlanta work injury lawyer can help the injured employee through the process of making a claim.
While workers’ comp provides broad protection, there are some complicated situations where workers are uncertain as to whether they can obtain work injury benefits. One example of such a situation is when an injured worker has a pre-existing injury or a pre-existing medical condition that is exacerbated by an on-the-job accident. For example, if you already have a back injury from some other cause and you get into an accident at work that hurts your back more severely than before, you may be uncertain as to whether or not workers’ compensation will pay for your losses caused by the exacerbation of your bank injury.
You should be entitled to work injury benefits, but the process of obtaining the appropriate coverage can be much more difficult when you had an existing injury that complicates your claim. You need to talk with an attorney who has experience representing workers whose pre-existing conditions were made worse by something that happened at work.
Georgia Workers’ Compensation Benefits and Pre-Existing Injuries
Georgia workers’ compensations law found in § 34-9-1 establish a general rule that the aggravation of a pre-existing injury should still entitle a worker to benefits through workers’ compensation under the right circumstances. The aggravation of the pre-existing injury must be directly related to an accident or incident that occurred while performing work duties, and the aggravation of the injury must be the specific cause of the worker’s disability. As soon as the aggravation of the injury is treated and resolved, workers’ comp benefits will stop and the worker will not receive any further medical coverage or disability income for the injury that existed before the workplace incident.
The injured worker is only entitled to workers’ comp benefits to cover the additional damages or losses that are caused by the aggravation of the injury. If the injury that was aggravated was also a work injury (for example, if an employee hurt his back at work and then hurt his back at work again a year later), the employee should be compensated for all losses — but the benefits may be reduced to account for any benefits received in the prior claim.
An Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney can provide assistance to employees who get hurt and can help those injured employees to prove the benefits they are entitled to when a workplace incident makes an injury worse. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to provide assistance in this type of complicated situation.