Workers Compensation and Pre-Existing Conditions in Massachusetts

Workers’ compensation isn’t always a straightforward process. In Massachusetts today, we’re seeing a lot of workers compensation claims that involve “pre-existing conditions.” In this blog, Boston workers’ compensation lawyer John J. Sheehan addresses what you should know.

What is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is a medical condition or injury that a worker had prior to a work injury that starts the workers compensation claim process. The Massachusetts workers compensation law (MGL Ch. 152) treats pre-existing conditions in two different ways. First, if the pre-existing condition is the result of a prior injury that is compensable under the Massachusetts workers compensation law and the worker suffers an aggravation of the pre-existing work injury, then the worker will be entitled to workers compensation even if the new injury occurs at a different job.

If the pre-existing condition was not compensable under the Massachusetts workers compensation law, then the injured worker will be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits only to the extent the subsequent work injury combines with the pre-existing non-compensable injury as long as the subsequent work injury remains a major but not necessarily predominant cause for the disability and need for medical treatment.

This causation standard can appear confusing and is the subject of many legal disputes involving workers compensation claims. Common types of pre-existing conditions for workers’ compensation in Boston include:

  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Spondylosis
  • Depression and Anxiety

Pre-Existing Conditions and Workers Compensation in Massachusetts

Why do pre-existing conditions matter when it comes to a compensation claim in Massachusetts? Well, insurance companies are trying to avoid or limit how much they have to pay in workers compensation claims. If an injured worker had a history of significant back pain form a non-work related car accident and, later, injures his/her back at work, the insurance company will try to blame any prolonged claim of back pain on the prior car accident and deny or terminate payment of workers compensation benefits. There are many examples and scenarios involving pre-existing conditions and workers compensation.

As a result, we see a lot of arguments over compensation that claim the worker was already injured and therefore didn’t have a serious accident at work, or that the worker’s pre-existing condition is the cause of any disability or need for medical treatment.

That’s why it’s important to contact an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney like John J. Sheehan if you have any further questions about a particular injury or claim.

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I was injured at work in 2019 and John and his team made the process as simple as anyone could!! They took care of everything! The only thing I had to do is rest and go to doctor appointments! I would HIGHLY recommend anyone looking for an attorney to hire John Sheehan - if you would like a nice and easy process in a highly stressful situation and on top of it attorney Sheehan will get you the maximum of what your case is worth!

John Sheehan y su personal son muy amables, corteses, rápidos y explican todo a fondo. Hicieron un trabajo maravilloso para mi esposo y para mí y no podría recomendar un abogado más calificado. Hizo TODO lo que pudo por mi esposo y por mí a través de la compensación de trabajadores. He recomendado y continuaré recomendando a John a cualquiera de mis amistades que necesiten sus destrezas. Trabajo asombroso. John, Muchas gracias tanto de Al como de mí. No puedo agradecerte lo suficiente por hacer todo lo posible por nosotros. Cada vez que teníamos una pregunta, devolvía nuestras llamadas rápidamente. Esperamos no haberte vuelto loco. Si alguna vez necesitamos un abogado para algo, USTED será a quien llamemos. Muchas gracias de nuevo. ¡Gran trabajo! John, me gustaría darte las gracias aunque Judy ya lo hizo. Usted es el major y el personal de su oficina responden llamadas en seguida. Definitivamente lo recomendaremos a nuestros amigos si necesitan sus servicios. ¡Gracias nuevamente por un trabajo bien hecho!

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