How pre-existing conditions can affect workers’ compensation
If you receive an injury and require workers’ compensation, your employer and their attorney can attempt to find various loopholes in the situation to avoid paying for maximum coverage. They know how much injuries can cost their business and insurance company, and unfortunately the survival of their business can take priority over you recovering safely to return to work.
When you apply for a job, companies will require your medical background before they fully employ you. This is especially important for physically demanding jobs that could put your preexisting condition at risk. Unfortunately, whether it is completely relevant to the injury or not, companies can also use this to avoid paying more for your medical expenses and missing work time. You can see how from a recent case involving a cop in Norwalk.
Bullet wounds vs. diabetes
In September 2017, a cop accidentally shot his fellow officer in Norwalk at the gun range. The officer has had to go to the doctor multiple times to help with his blood clots, suffers permanent nerve damage in his right hand and needs a kidney transplant to survive.
Despite the officer suffering multiple physical consequences from the bullet wound, the commission ultimately chose to deny him workers’ compensation twice, blaming most of his condition on his Type 1 diabetes. The officer claims that he has been able to do his job properly even though he has been diabetic for over 30 years.
How the law treats pre-existing conditions
What is odd about the officer’s case is that the commission chose to completely omit compensation instead of providing even partial coverage. Section 31-275 of Connecticut’s Workers’ Compensation Act states that if a preexisting condition worsens from a disease or injury from the job, employers should allow compensation only for the proportion of the aggravation. It does limit the amount of coverage workers can receive, but they still get some compensation for work injuries. In this case, the commission is acting like the bullet played little to no part in the officer’s medical misfortunes, and that bullet is still lodged in his chest.
What makes the situation even more questionable is that Connecticut has the Heart and Hypertension Act, which is designed to help police officers and firefighters who develop damaging heart conditions or hypertension from their jobs without having to prove it. He is a police officer suffering from blood clots and partial heart blockage after the bullet wound, yet the commission still requires further proof.
The incident demonstrates the length some are willing to go to so they can deny workers coverage for their injuries and how large of a role pre-existing conditions can play when requesting compensation. If you are worried that any past injuries or diseases you have may interfere with your request, a local workers’ compensation attorney can assist in enforcing your claim.