Pre-Existing Conditions and Workers’ Compensation Claims in Georgia

For injured workers in Georgia, understanding how pre-existing conditions may affect a workers’ compensation case is complicated. Our Lawrenceville workers’ compensation lawyers can help you navigate these complexities and win the benefits that you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Georgia Workers’ Compensation and Pre-existing Conditions

The cornerstone of Georgia’s workers’ compensation system is the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, codified in Title 34 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.).

Section 34-9-1(b) of the Act explicitly addresses pre-existing conditions, stating that “the employer shall be liable for compensation only for the disability directly and proximately caused by the employee’s occupational disease or injury.” This provision sets the legal framework for evaluating the role of pre-existing conditions in workers’ compensation claims.

Establishing Causation and Apportionment

The crux of workers’ compensation claims involving pre-existing conditions hinges on establishing causation, a legal concept that necessitates demonstrating a direct and causal link between the work-related injury or illness and the aggravation or exacerbation of the pre-existing condition.

Medical evidence and expert testimony often play pivotal roles in establishing causation, as they provide a comprehensive assessment of the extent to which the work-related factor contributed to the worsening of the pre-existing condition.

Furthermore, the concept of apportionment, also enshrined in Georgia’s workers’ compensation law, dictates that the employer or insurer is only responsible for the portion of the worker’s disability that is attributable to the work-related aggravation of the pre-existing condition. The remaining portion of the disability, solely attributed to the pre-existing condition, remains outside the purview of workers’ compensation.

How a Pre-existing Condition May Impact Your Workers’ Comp Claim

The impact of a pre-existing condition on a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia is determined by the following factors.

The Nature of the Pre-existing Condition 

The nature of the pre-existing condition plays a significant role in evaluating causation. A pre-existing condition that is easily aggravated by work-related activities is more likely to be considered a contributing factor to the work-related injury or illness.

having an old injury does not prevent you from getting workers comp benefits

The Degree to Which the Pre-existing Condition Was Aggravated 

The severity of the aggravation or exacerbation of the pre-existing condition is crucial in determining the extent of the employer’s liability. If the pre-existing condition was only minimally aggravated, the employer’s liability may be limited.

The Availability of Medical Evidence 

Medical evidence plays a critical role in establishing causation and apportionment. Thorough medical records, expert opinions, and other relevant documentation can substantiate the worker’s claim and support the apportionment analysis.

The Benefits of Legal Representation

Experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can assist injured workers in various ways:

Assessing Claim Viability 

An attorney can meticulously review the worker’s medical history, employment details, and accident/injury circumstances to determine whether a pre-existing condition claim is legally sound.

Gathering and Presenting Medical Evidence 

Medical records, expert opinions, and other relevant documentation are crucial to establish causation and apportionment. An attorney can effectively gather and present this evidence in a legally persuasive manner.

Constructing a Strong Legal Argument 

A well-crafted workers’ compensation claim presents a compelling argument for the worker’s entitlement to benefits. An attorney can draft a comprehensive claim document that clearly outlines the facts, medical evidence, and legal arguments grounded in Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws.

Representing Workers’ Interests in Legal Proceedings 

Workers’ compensation claims often involve complex legal processes, including hearings and appeals before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation or the courts. An experienced attorney can advocate for the worker’s rights throughout these proceedings, ensuring their legal arguments are presented persuasively and their rights are protected.

Call Our Lawrenceville Workers Comp Lawyers!

Navigating the legal complexities of pre-existing conditions in Georgia’s workers’ compensation system can be a challenging undertaking. However, with the guidance of an experienced Lawrenceville workers’ compensation attorney, injured workers with pre-existing conditions can secure the compensation they deserve and access the necessary medical care.

Legal counsel empowers workers to understand the legal intricacies, navigate the legal landscape, and pursue their claims with confidence. Contact us at 678-635-9939 for a free case review.