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Workmens comp/pre-existing injury?

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Old 04-28-2003, 08:40 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Sun City, AZ, USA
Posts: 22
Kymjt HB User
Post Workmens comp/pre-existing injury?

Hello all,

I have a different sort of question this time around: I had a L5S1 microdiskectomy about 4 months ago. I'm doing fine (lower back ache is all), and my surgeon has released me from his care with lifetime limitations of bending directly at the waist, lifting heavy items, and sitting for more than 45 minutes at a time. My question is this: If I hurt my back at work (not that I am planning on it)say lifting or reaching for something do you think it would be covered under workmans comp or be considered a pre-existing condition? I've just been thinking about this and am curious as to what others think. Any comments would be greatly appreciated...thanks a lot!

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Old 04-28-2003, 09:00 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Concord, CA, USA
Posts: 675
successtory HB User

Hey Kym...

So if I understand this had your back worked on and are recuperating fine now. Your question is when you go back to a (new) job and you reach or do something that "throws your back out" while on the job, will w/c cover the injury?

I am thinking if your injury happened even if you were still WITHIN the parameters set by your doctor, then there may be less of a problem. But if injury happens because you attempted to lift that box just a little over your limitation, you may be stuck. W/C goes BY THE if you stay within your "legal limits" should have less of a problem. That's a toughy question because I'm afraid there are prolly many answers.

go*big*red may have better information for you since they were on the business end of w/c at one time. I can only give you facts and some 'gut instinct' on this one (sorry). Good luck to you and keep us updated on this one!

Oct 2000: Repetitive Stress Injury-Inverted Hernia
Feb 2001: MRI. Shows only slight bulge at L4-L5
Dec 2001: Discogram/CT scan shows Inverted Hernia at L5-S1. L4-L5 & L5-S1 ruptured in all 4 quadrants. Unable to walk.
Feb 2002: IDET, Nucleoplasty, Intra-Discal Injections
Sept 2002: Rated in the top 10% for successful patients. Retraining for new career.

Old 04-29-2003, 01:03 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 274
go*big*red HB User

Hi, Kymjt

Each state is different regarding laws governing wc. However, in Colorado - successtory is exactly right in as much as staying within your limitations.

Here, if your job exacerbates your condition - the w.c. policy would most definately cover it. Just be sure to be upfront, if you are asking in reference to a new job, when interviewing. Unfortunately, that may cause you a job or two.

However, they cannot not hire you due to disabilities or restrictions unless you are physically incapable of performing the duties - ie your lifting restrictions are 10# and you are applying for stock clerk - most definately that job would require you to push your limitations and the prospective employer would be within their rights to not hire you.

However (again) if you even have an inkling that they are not hiring you soley due to your disabiity, that is an infringement on your right to work - and you can look up "Disabiled American's" web site and find out what legan actions you can take.

Hope this helps!


2 Discograms
4 Level failed IDET
4 Confirmed torn lumbar discs, 2 full thickness
Issues now with c-spine & thoracic
Fusion of L5/S1 scheduled 3/5/03
Fusion successful - feeling better all the time
PLIF 3/03
2 level ACDF 10/03
Redo 10/04 & hdwr remove L5/S1
10/10/06 PLIF L4/5, Dynesys L3/4

Old 05-01-2003, 04:01 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Lexington, KY USA
Posts: 9
TCain HB User

Hello, I am a Claim's Consultant, with Workers' Compensation it would not matter if you had a previous injury. If you hurt your back again on the job that is a totally different claim. However it is possible to relate half the condition to the pre-existing injury (if you are still treating). If you are no longer treating then workers' comp. must take full responsiblity for medical. They still may relate 10% on pre-existing if you are due a settlement. Also Workers' Compensation is different for every state and therefore would depend on where you are located. I deal with all states. Hopefully this helped you. If you are working and you lifted, bend, fell or bumped your back and this caused you pain, basicilly workers compensation will be responsible regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Old 05-01-2003, 05:59 PM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Sun City, AZ, USA
Posts: 22
Kymjt HB User

Thank you to all who replied to my post....your answers really helped me a lot!! I hope I never injure my back again, because as all who visit these boards know, the pain is not fun. I have been a little concerned though because when I requested a different chair to sit in because mine was aggravating my back (this is after the surgery) I was told that since my injury did not happen at work and that since I was not disabled when my work hired me.....they were not responsible for getting me a different chair. I did finally get the chair, but now I guess I am doing some homework and "preparing" in case anything were to happen because I kinda feel that I am viewed a little differently. I do not feel that I am being discriminated against, but I felt I should check out what my rights would be just in case. Thanks again for your responses!!

Old 05-01-2003, 06:57 PM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Commerce City Colorado
Posts: 16
gamhayes HB User

On a preexisting work comp injury you will see a lot of descrimination against you. First off that imperment stays with you through out the rest of your life. Secound if a new employer does a background invetigation on you well lets say you do not have the job even if you are qualified for it. See preexisting injurys are hard for an employer to pass on cause there always is that chance of just maybe he will hurt himself again and then what will i do. See that is coming from the emplloyers stand point. Is it descimination sure it is but is it easy to prove? No it is not i mean you could fight in court for the rest of your life to prove it but why? See a little about my case. See i am a aviation mechanic i got hurt on 11-6-2002 working with a co worker. We ran out of compressed gas on our arch welder. Me and my co worker loaded it up on our work truck and headed for the gas place. Name of place with held! But anyway we pulled up to the doc and put the empty on the doc for the tech there to get us a new container. See these containers weight close to 350 pounds when full! So the tech brought it to the truck on a dolly and set it down his job is done. Well know it is time for me and my co worker to load onto the truck. Well at first it was going smooth we lifted it off the doc and began to set it in the truck. As we were turning to put the canister down my co worker dropped his end. Well if i had two feet in the truck i might of not hurt my back but i had one foot in the truck and one on the doc so the weight was not evened out up made a crushing blow to my lower back and left leg. I went home that night and i experienced pain in my lower back. So the next morning i reported it to my supervisior and asked to see the work comp doc and he said that i had to wait for an approvial. So i went out and started to work on my project. Well i went back in to the office and asked again and finally they said go ahead and go. Well i went to the docs and they treated it as a lwo back strain. I was put on 10 pounds lift, pull, sitting no more then 10 mins up or down. And thats when i started on meds flexiral, Naperson, Naproxin. Well i went back on my restrictions and was doing light dutie but with great deal of pain. So the next time i went to the doc i complained of the same thing so we did x-rays of the lower lumbar, that showed tears in my discs. But let me say that tears are hard to prove from x-ray. So he started me on therype and i was miserable. So after the horable experiance of therype he wanted me to have a MRI so i did that. The results were anular tears in the L-4 L-5 L-5 S-1 region. So after that he sent me to a rehabe orthopedic doc.At this point i was laid off of my position saying it was because of 911. I seen him and started land thrype there at his practice, once again a failure. Well after that he wanted to do a epidural steroaid injection so i tried that no luck or releif. Well after that he suggested to have a facet injection which is like the epidural injection except they shoot it into the facet joints. Well as you can tell no releif. After that i was told to start pool therype and i did. After my first session i left there with a lot of pain and some swelling in my low back, i thought nothing of it. Well the next day i went and they uped my reps to 15 from 5 well doing that caused me to rupter something in my lower back. I then seen the ortho doc and told him about the pain and showed him the swelling. He stopped all therype. Well i was at home one day and was watching T.V and i was having lower back pain that was worse then the pain that i was suffering from all day long for the four months it took to hurt from the begining. Well i stood up to go get a pop out of the refrigerater and i could not fill my legs or feet. Well i got scared and phoned my dad and told him about it, he rushed me to the hospital. Well i was there for 6 days and the docs asperated the area and got ride of the infection and named it a hematoma which is a ruptered blood cell in the back. Well know that was time for the ortho to say time to see a surgion. Well on my first consoltaition he said no surgery and said that another facet injection well i did that. But in his reprot he said if that fells then to do a discogram. Well i did the discogram and the findings were positive and the next time i meet with him the subject of surgery changed. I know was told about fusion. I then elected to do the fusion procedure which is scheduled to be anterior which is coming into the region from the front. Well know i am coping with the up coming surgery to see if it is a sucess. But put in mind i am suffering still from pain for 8 months and been out of work that long! So know i wait longer for the work comp adjuster to ok my surgery. Well the reason i told you my storie is to show how long work comp drags there feet and how fast an injury gets worse over a time period when the right treatment is not obtained. And on prexisting injurys how hard it is to live a normal life after the injury due to the fact you are know a gamble to the employer. But i hope that some of the insight i shared will help you and i will pray for you that you get the care you need and that you never suffer from the injury later on in life!

Old 05-03-2003, 11:13 AM   #7
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Orlando, FL, US
Posts: 1
maccaone HB User

Hi-From what I understand according to an attorney I've consulted with about the comp issue is that it varies from state to state. I had a spinal fusion w/ instrumentation (Harrington rod(the defective one)) many years ago. I never had a problem w/ the surgery or post-op fusion. I was injured on the job. Unfortunately I work in Florida and, according to this attorney, Florida ranks 49th in the country in 'protecting' the rights of injured workers. Texas is supposedly dead last. I have no protection basically. If the work injury can be traced, in Florida, to a previous pre-existing condition of ANY sort, it is exempt from worker's comp protection. It really bites and it is unfortunate to have been working in this state when I got hurt. I've been told the 'best' thing I could do was to apply for disability. But I cannot afford to be unemloyed for the year (and more) it would require to even apply and process. Don't know what I'm going to do. Check the laws for your state. MUCH better luck to you! Signed, Ticked Off in 'The Sunshine State'

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