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Can I get Workers' Compensation benefits in SC if I have previously treated for the body part I injured on the job?

Posted by Katie Phipps | Nov 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

Yes. If you are hurt on the job, you should be treated regardless of your preexisting conditions IF a doctor states “to a reasonable degree of medical certainty” your condition was aggravated or exacerbated by your accident. S.C. Code Ann. 42-9-35 It important to always be honest about your medical history, as it relates to your accident, with your attorney and your employer.

Be aware, preexisting conditions are often a reason a carrier will deny a compensable claim or specific injury. For example, fictional claimant, Jack Price, had a lower back fusion two years ago at his L5-S1 level. After surgery, Jack was able to return to his construction job and was not having any difficulty other than occasionally needing to take an Advil after a day at work. Then, while lifting a 20-pound toolbox, he felt a sharp pain in his lower back at the same location where he had surgery. He reported the accident immediately. The pain continued. An MRI confirmed previously implanted hardware is no longer intact. In this instance, it is likely, if asked, the medical provider would state to a reasonable degree of medical certainty the lifting accident exacerbated John's previous back condition based on the timing his pain onset; however, the carrier could either deny the claim outright or to fully investigate. In the interim, John will likely go without any medical treatment or weekly benefits. He should immediately consult an attorney to know his rights.

About the Author

Katie Phipps

For more than 17 years, Katie had a successful practice at two of South Carolina's largest workers' compensation defense firms. During that time, she realized her favorite part of the job was helping Pro Se claimants navigate the settlement process. As a lawyer for the insurance carrier, she ofte...


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