New Jersey workers’ compensation law has provisions for when a condition worsens. Much will depend on which condition is worsening and when it is worsening.
Here are a few scenarios.
Condition Worsens While Your Case is Ongoing
If your case is open and ongoing, workers’ compensation insurance should still actively pay your medical bills. Your medical needs should be met, regardless of what they are.
You might expect questions about how and why the condition worsened, and you should be ready to answer them as best you can.
Sometimes, of course, your doctor needs you to need specific medical care, and the workers’ compensation company rejects that care as “not medically necessary,” especially if the one advocating for a higher level of care is your second-opinion doctor. In such cases, working closely with a New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer is useful.
Condition Worsens After You Settle
If your condition gets worse after you settle, you may be able to reopen your workers’ compensation claim so long as you are asking for additional treatment for the same work-related injury.
You must provide concrete, objective medical evidence that your condition has worsened. Unfortunately, “increased pain” is not enough—pain is subjective, and the medical industry isn’t very good at dealing with it as it is.
The Initial Injury Exacerbates a Pre-Existing Condition
New Jersey law recognizes that an exacerbated pre-existing condition is a valid issue. Compensation may be pro-rated in some cases, but not all. In some cases, exacerbating a pre-existing condition could mean more compensation, not less. Either way, employers are considered to have hired you “as you are.”
There is no good reason to hide a pre-existing condition from your employer in a New Jersey workers’ compensation case, but it is important to know that a pre-existing condition could complicate the case. Stay ready to call a lawyer if the case starts turning against you.
Get Help Today
Workers’ compensation is a complicated matter. Don’t be afraid to turn to our office if your case isn’t running smoothly. We can help you secure the compensation you deserve.