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Worker’s compensation and preexisting conditions

In Georgia, the rules governing workers’ compensation are detailed and exacting, setting out precise requirements for and limitations on the benefits that must be provided to injured workers. However, the act also places specific restrictions on the circumstances under which injuries are to be covered.

Those suffering from an existing physical or medical condition are often uncertain about whether they are eligible to claim workers’ compensation benefits. While a preexisting condition can complicate a workers’ comp claim, there are certain circumstances under which you may be entitled to benefits.

Injured workers in Georgia are entitled to medical and income benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Act was introduced in 1920 and has since been incorporated as title 34, chapter 9 of the Georgia Code.

The Act initially defines “injury” and “personal injury” as “only injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment”. However, it goes on to expand this definition to include “the aggravation of a preexisting condition by accident arising out of and in the course of employment”. As such, you are entitled to claim workers’ compensation benefits if your preexisting condition has been made worse by your work.

It is not necessary for an accident to occur in order to have a valid claim; if you can show that your job duties were responsible for the worsening of your condition, you may be eligible for benefits. However, this eligibility lasts only for as long as the aggravation of the condition persists; if your condition reverts to its pre-aggravated state, your claim will cease to be compensable.

While workers’ compensation is available to those with existing medical conditions, the process of making a claim may not be straightforward. Your employer and their insurer may dispute whether the aggravation of your condition is sufficient enough to merit compensation, or argue that other factors than your work duties caused it to become worse. An experienced attorney can help you to challenge these attempts to deny your claim and ensure that you receive the benefits that you deserve.

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