Assessing Pre-Existing Conditions Aggravated On-The-Job
By Mike Drew, The Reschini Group
It’s one of the oldest riddles in history: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? And while it may be amusing to ponder that pesky and unsolvable mental puzzle, it can become infinitely more troublesome and costly when the question gets applied to an on-the-job injury.
Say, for example, that an employee has a pre-existing hernia. That same employee suffers severe discomfort from the hernia becoming aggravated while at work, but he says nothing and does not report the event to his supervisor. Over the next day or two, the discomfort becomes acute enough to inhibit the employee’s ability to perform his expected tasks and he ends up staying home to recover.
Does the incident fall under workers compensation or not?
Well, that depends. If what the employee was actually doing while at work contributed to the hernia flaring up, then most likely it would fall under workers comp. But if an investigation – to include information from a medical professional – concludes that on-the-job activity did not affect the hernia, then the answer could change.
It also becomes important to establish that the injury occurring at work is, in fact, the same as any pre-existing condition and can be connected to that condition. Good job descriptions and a careful, thorough post-event investigation become critical in making all of these determinations. Hiring decisions should be made carefully, because workers comp expenses can be daunting, carrying long-term implications if lost time becomes a factor.
Let the experts at The Reschini Group help to ensure that you have the proper programs and coverages in place to handle pre-existing medical conditions that may become aggravated on-the-job. Because, unlike between the chicken and the egg, in this case it matters quite a bit which came first.
Copyright 2016 The Reschini Group
The Reschini Group provides these updates for information only. To make decisions regarding insurance matters, please consult directly with a licensed insurance professional or firm.