Yes, you may be eligible for Iowa workers' compensation benefits if you were hurt at work, even if you suffer from pre-existing conditions. Iowa law allows you to recover for the aggravation, worsening, or acceleration of your pre-existing condition that was caused by the work accident.

However, you should be prepared for the workers' compensation insurance company to claim that none of your injuries were work-related, and you may benefit from contacting an Iowa workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.

How a Work Injury Could Aggravate a Pre-Existing Condition

Few people are lucky enough to make it to retirement age without any kind of injuries or illnesses. You may have a pre-existing condition because of a previous work accident, an accident unrelated to work, an illness, or the natural aging process.

For example, years ago, you may have hurt your back in a car accident, painting your home, or lifting something heavy at work, or you may suffer spinal arthritis as you age. You may still experience pain, limited motion, or other symptoms of your injury or illness. However, your symptoms may worsen, or new symptoms may appear after you fall or repeatedly lift heavy objects at work. This aggravation or acceleration of your old back injury is a work-related injury and the new or worsened medical symptoms should be part of your recovery.

Potential Challenges in Your Workers' Compensation Claim

Employers and workers' compensation insurance companies want to pay you as little as possible. Accordingly, they may argue that your symptoms are not related to a work injury. Instead, they will argue that your pre-existing condition causes your pain and healthcare needs and that they would have been the same even if you had not been hurt at work. In other words, you are suffering from a non-work-related medical condition, and, therefore, you do not have a workers' compensation claim.

A Fair Workers' Compensation Recovery Is Worth the Fight

A workers' compensation insurance denial can be intimidating. You may not want to go through the hassle of convincing the insurer to resolve your claim fairly. While your health insurance company may pay your medical costs, you will lose out on other benefits that are unique to workers' compensation if you don't pursue a workers' compensation claim.

For example, if work-related activities aggravated your pre-existing condition, a workers' compensation claim could provide you with medical benefits and:

  • Disability benefits for your lost income. You may be able to recover up to 80% of your take home pay. The percentage that you can recover depends on whether you are totally or partially disabled and whether you are permanently or temporarily disabled.
  • Other benefits. Iowa workers' compensation could provide you with mileage reimbursement for travel to medical appointments, vocational training if you need to do other kinds of work, and other benefits.

Your health insurance coverage won't include this compensation.

It can be challenging to prove what part of your injury was caused by an aggravation to an existing condition. However, our experienced workers' compensation lawyers will thoroughly review what happened at work and your medical records. If appropriate, we will argue that you wouldn't be suffering your current symptoms or complications but for the work-related accident or your work-related activities, and we will fight for your fair workers' compensation recovery.

We invite you to contact us to discuss your workers' compensation claim. You don't have to fight the insurance company on your own. Instead, our experienced Iowa workers' compensation attorneys can help you. We welcome your visit to our Cedar Rapids, Davenport, or Des Moines office, or we would be happy to meet with you by phone or video conference. Call us, start a live chat with us, or complete our online contact any time—24/7/365—to learn more.

 

Jason F. Abraham
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Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham