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Alabama Workers' Comp Lawyers Contributing Cause

Alabama Workers' Comp Lawyers Contributing Cause

Alabama Workers' Comp Lawyers Contributing Cause: One of the most common excuses we hear for the denial of Alabama workers' compensation benefits is because the adjuster states the injury was preexisting. This defense rarely works because in Alabama, if a worker has a pre-existing condition which has not stopped them from being able to adequately perform their job duties, the law views the condition as being irrelevant. If you can do your job duties and a job accident worsens an underlying condition, then workers' compensation has to pick up liability for the worsened condition.

The only instance in which a preexisting problem in and of itself can estop an injured worker from making a claim for workers' compensation benefits if a job injury makes the preexisting condition worse is when the worker lies about said condition when applying for their job.

Given that this is the law in Alabama, you would think that insurance companies would not continue denying a multitude of cases on the "preexisting condition" argument, but you have to remember that the insurance carrier has the ability to find doctors who will parrot this argument for them. For example, a few weeks ago I was in a doctor's deposition. My client had been diagnosed as suffering with a torn meniscus shortly after suffering their job injury. My client is in pain and surgery was suggested by the treating physician, but later the doctor decided that our client's pain was not related to their torn medial meniscus, but rather was related to a previous knee injury suffered nearly a decade earlier.

I thought this sounded ridiculous, and I believe that the trial court will agree with me, because in Alabama it is not necessary that any work related injury or job related exertion experienced by an injured worker be the sole, or even the dominant, cause of the their injury. If a work injury is considered to be a "contributing cause" to their condition, or aggravates an underlying condition that did not keep the worker from performing their job duties as a normal employee, then it is to be covered by workers compensation. "[I]f the second injury contributes even slightly to the employee's disability, the current insurer is responsible for the workers' compensation payments. Ex parte Pike County Commission, 740 So.2d 1080, 1083 (Ala.1999).

In our case, the worker was working without pain until their job injury, and there is absolutely no evidence that they had a torn medial meniscus prior to the job injury, but even if-for arguments sake-you assume that a tear may have been present but asymptomatic, then the recent job injury aggravated the underlying condition, and the injury should be covered by workers compensation; but this real example shows how far the workers comp insurance carrier will go in an attempt to get out of paying for compensable job injuries.

If you were hurt at work and have questions about your rights and how best to proceed in your claim for workers compensation benefits in Alabama, please do not hesitate to contact and talk with one of the experienced Alabama Workers Compensation Lawyers at Powell and Denny today.

Powell and Denny: We Work When You Can't

Offices in Huntsville, AL and Hoover, AL

Alabama Workers Comp Lawyers Contributing Cause

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