Old Workers Comp Injuries

Have an old workers comp injury that still bothers you? Or, do you have an old workers comp injury that has been worsened by another accident–at work or elsewhere? You might think there is nothing you can do in these situations but often a valid, compensable claim can be made. Let’s review some common scenarios:
1–Old Industrial Injury that Deteriorates Further Over Time: Suppose you get hurt at work, get some treatment and go back to work for several years. At first, the injury does not bother you too much, but as time passes it starts to affect you more. These cases can be difficult if there is a lengthy gap in doctor visits for that old workers comp injury, but it certainly does not hurt to get a free consultation from a workers comp lawyer.
2–Old Industrial Injury Made Worse by Another Industrial Accident: Suppose you get hurt at work and some time later have another workplace accident that makes your first injury worse? This is fairly common. Someone hurts their lower back at work, gets some treatment, returns to work and then some years later has another lower back injury. This second injury requires surgery. If both injuries happened with the same employer–that’s a pretty easy case. If the second injury happened while working for a new employer, then the two workers comp adjusters will likely blame each other. In this situation, we usually advise that you get a well-reasoned opinion from your treating doctor (or other doctor that we recommend) about what accident caused what injury. In these cases, we often file against both employers’ insurance companies and let the judge (or a settlement negotiation) determine who will pay what. Usually, both employers’ insurance companies will chip in some money to settle the claims.
3–Old Industrial Injury Made Worse by a Non-Industrial, At-Home Accident: Suppose you get hurt at work–perhaps you herniate a lumbar disc–and then you hurt your back further while unloading groceries. So now you need a discectomy because the disc is pushing on a nerve. Recently, the Utah Supreme Court held that an injured worker must prove that the initial workplace injury was “a significant contributing cause” of the later non-workplace injury. Again, a well-reasoned medical opinion can help explain how the earlier workplace injury significantly contributed to the later injury at home. With supporting evidence, a solid, compensable claim can be made.
In conclusion, we encourage injured workers to not assume they have no recourse. One gentleman came to me with an old workers comp injury that had been denied. As we talked, I found out that he was not working due to a more recent accident at work. We amended his claim to add the additional date of injury and were then in a good position to negotiate a very reasonable settlement. Many workers comp attorneys provide free case reviews. If you have questions, call us at Tim Daniels Law Services to get legal advice for your specific situation.