Arthritis is often associated with old age but can strike at any time. It is not a single disease but a series of conditions that involve inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissue. Over 50 million Americans suffer from arthritis, which includes rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, and fibromyalgia. Symptoms include redness, stiffness, swelling, and pain around one or more joints. Typical areas impacted are the hands, wrists, knees, hips, and shoulders.
A worker with pre-existing arthritis is at particular risk of aggravating an arthritic condition if their work involves performing repetitive motions, high impact activities, or being sedentary for extended periods of time. Jobs involving repetitive motion include typing and assembly line work. High impact activities can include construction work or other kinds of manual labor. Sedentary jobs include desk jobs, such as receptionists and clerks.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 50 to 129 million Americans suffering from aggravated pre-existing conditions including arthritis, herniated disks, and torn ligaments. Psychiatric conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are also pre-existing conditions that have shown to be aggravated at work.
Pre-Existing Conditions May Be Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation insurance may provide coverage for aggravated pre-existing conditions. If you have arthritis or another pre-existing condition, it is important to be aware of how your work is impacting your condition. If arthritis is exacerbated by work and you continue your tasks, then you may be extending your recovery time and worsening the condition.
To be covered by Workers’ Compensation for a pre-existing condition, a worker must be able to show that their condition was aggravated, accelerated, or reactivated by work-related activities. It is not necessary to prove the work-related activity exclusively caused exacerbation of the condition. However, the work-related activity must be a material factor in exacerbating the condition.
In addition, the resulting disability must interfere with the ability to continue working, at least for a time. Also, the worker is required to notify their employer that they have been injured at work within a defined period.
Filing a Claim
The process of qualifying for Workers’ Compensation can be complex. It includes timely reporting of the injury to the employer, gathering sufficient evidence to support the claim, and being evaluated by an appropriate medical provider, among other procedural and substantive steps. The extent of the injury must be evaluated to determine if the disability is temporary or permanent and whether it is complete or partial.
A successful Workers’ Compensation claim will award time off from work with two-thirds pay to allow for recovery. In addition, many relevant medical expenses will also be covered. It is possible to be compensated for costs, such as doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, surgeries, and physical therapy through a successful claim.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Workers Suffering From Aggravation of Pre-Existing Conditions
If you have a pre-existing condition that has been aggravated at work, it is important to properly document your injury and file a claim. If successful in your claim, you will be able to obtain the recovery time and medical attention you need to properly care for your health. Find out how you can be compensated for your losses by contacting our Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. today. Call us at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 or contact us online today for a free consultation.
We represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.