In the most basic sense, most any injury that occurs in the course of your employment is covered under workers’ compensation in Colorado.
In some cases though, an incident a work may not create a new injury – rather, an injury incident at work may in fact aggravate a pre-existing condition.
Let’s say you’ve had back trouble in the past but it’s minimal or otherwise manageable. But one day at work, you pick up a box in just the wrong position and before you know it, your back pain is as worse as ever.
Back injuries are the most common situations in these types of cases.
Even though these cases should be covered, your employer, workers’ comp insurer and even your appointed physician may try and claim it isn’t – often times, they’ll claim the condition itself is the cause of your pain, not the incident. Many injured workers unfortunately are convinced of this and do not receive the treatment and wage loss benefits available to them.
The bar for pre-existing conditions and workers’ comp is pretty low in fact.
Did the incident create a new or increased need for treatment of your condition?
Will you now have to move-up a major procedure due to the incident (back surgery was needed in 5 years but due to the injury, it’s needed now)?
If you answer yes to any of these, then your pre-existing condition qualifies for coverage. Essentially, the bar is the change in medical treatment following an injury.
That seems simple enough but your employer, etc. may claim otherwise. If they do, it’s wise to be prepared with good documentation and even witnesses if possible.
In the end, it’s possible you may have to undergo several medical exams to determine your exact disability rating and thus, proper compensation levels.
To learn more about work injuries, pre-existing conditions and their coverage under workers’ compensation in Colorado, read our latest knowledge center article – Workplace Injuries and Pre-Existing Conditions – today.