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How Prior Injuries Affect Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Oct 15, 2021 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Alabama’s workers’ compensation system is designed to streamline the process for injured workers to receive the compensation they need for injuries received while on the job. In turn, an injured worker is not allowed to sue their employer. But what happens if the employee has a prior injury? Does that injury affect their ability to receive workers’ compensation for a new, work-related injury? The short answer is yes. The employee may still be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. A Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorney explains. 

Aggravation vs. Recurrence

Some jobs are more physically demanding than others, and it is not uncommon in labor-intensive positions for the same part of the body to be injured more than once. Under the holding in Alabama case United-Johnson Brothers of Alabama, LLC, vs. Billups, whether or not a subsequent injury qualifies for workers’ compensation depends on its classification as either an “aggravation” or a “recurrence.” 

A subsequent injury is classified as a recurrence when it does not contribute even slightly to the causation of the disability. This type of subsequent injury will not be covered by workers’ compensation. However, if the subsequent injury is considered to be an aggravation, the injured party may receive workers’ compensation. An aggravation injury is defined as an injury that contributes independently to the final disability. 

Having an injury classified as either an aggravation or a recurrence can be a fine line, yet it makes all the difference in an injured party’s ability to receive workers’ compensation. Therefore, it is imperative for an injured person to retain a Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorney that understands these differences and the need to have an injury receive the correct type of classification.

Medical Records

How an injury is classified and the ability to receive compensation can hinge on having the necessary documentation. This is why an injured party should always retain copies of all medical documentation, including any medications prescribed and procedures performed. Our Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorney advises holding onto all medical records and documentation even after a claim has been settled or awarded. You never know when it may be needed. 

Common Injuries

While the part of the body injured depends significantly on the type of work performed, some injuries tend to be more prone to recurrence or aggravation. According to the National Safety Council, this includes injuries to the back, hands, shoulders and legs. The most common occupations for injuries are those involved in the service industry, transportation and material moving, and production. 

Speak With A Tuscaloosa Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you have been injured while on the job, you need representation from a Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorney you can depend on. At Cross & Smith, LLC, we are attorneys dedicated to helping our clients receive every bit of compensation they are owed. To schedule a free initial consultation, you may call 877-791-0618 or message us via our contact page.

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Posted By: Shane Weaver

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