Visitor Question

What can I do about back pain from old work injury?

Submitted By: Jessica (New York City, New York)

I had a back injury 2 years ago at my job in New York City. The MRI at that time showed a disc prolapse. My doctor suggested I not lift heavy weight. I was getting benefits for 1 year and then I stopped seeing a doctor and workers comp stopped my benefits. I have not been working for the past year and I am now having some back pain due to a new job.

I just started my job with another employer 2 days ago. My job requires heavy lifting and repetitive bending. For the last 2 days, since starting the job, I am having very severe back pain again.

Can I reopen my previous workers compensation case? Is this considered a new injury? Am I to get benefits as a new injury or benefits similar to what I got for my previous injury? Thank you for any information you can provide.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Jessica,

To be entitled to compensation for an injury connected with your prior injury, you will need to be able to prove your current injury is related to your current work duties. Your employer however, may try to show your preexisting injury is causing your medical problems, so as not to be liable for your new medical bills and resulting costs.

You will need to report any accident which caused your current injury and properly document the conditions which caused the injury.

For example, if you previously injured your back in a slip in fall accident and re-injured that same area of your back in a work-related accident, you will need to report the accident right away so you can later prove it is the cause of the new damages.

If you simply re-aggravate a preexisting injury, you may not be eligible to obtain the same amount of workers compensation benefits as you would for a new injury. Your employer cannot be liable for your preexisting injury, only to the extent that your conditioned worsened.

While you can attempt to reopen your previous workers comp injury claim, if you finalized the claim two (2) years ago, it will be very difficult to reopen the claim.

Learn more here: Getting Workers’ Comp With a Pre-existing Condition

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck with your claim.

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