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Prior Work Injuries Can Complicate Georgia Workers’ Compensation Cases

There are many factors that can complicate an Atlanta workers’ compensation case. One of the most common of these is a prior work injury. The employer and its insurance company will often dispute a new injury claim in such situations, arguing that the employee’s current condition is due to the old injury rather than a subsequent accident or a work-related aggravation of the condition at his or her present place of employment.

If you find yourself in such a situation, the best course of action is to speak to a lawyer about your case as soon as possible. While not every work injury case is winnable when there are complications like a previous injury, your chances are considerably improved when you have a trained professional advocating for you.

Facts of the Case

In a Brantley County work injury case recently under consideration by the state board of workers’ compensation, the claimant was a man who went to work for the employer in July 2013 as a log truck driver. In August 2015, he was involved in an accident at work for which he sought workers’ compensation benefits. The employer resisted the claim on the basis of a prior work injury with a different employer.

According to the claimant’s testimony before the administrative law judge (ALJ) who heard his case, the claimant did suffer a work injury to his shoulder in 2007, which required multiple surgeries, but he was never fully disabled by the injury. Based on the claimant’s testimony at the hearing and on the medical evidence presented by the parties, the ALJ found that the claimant had, despite some occasional pain and limitations on his range of motion, continued working right up until the time of his 2015 injury with the employer.

The ALJ thus found that the most recent accident had aggravated the claimant’s prior injury, such that the current employer was liable for certain benefits due to him under the workers’ compensation laws of Georgia. These included medical expenses reasonably required to affect a cure or give relief to the claimant and approximately six months of total disability benefits. The ALJ denied the claimant’s request for temporary partial disability benefits because the claimant’s lowered wages at his new place of employment were not solely attributed to his compensable work injury.

Decision of the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation

The state board affirmed, noting that the ALJ was in the best position to determine the credibility and weight of the evidence.

Get Advice from a Knowledgeable Atlanta Work Injury Lawyer

Things move quickly in an on-the-job injury case. Notice must be given within a certain time frame. Decisions must be made regarding medical providers and courses of treatment. It is impossible for an injured worker to be on equal footing with the many professionals – from human resources personnel at work to nurse case managers to insurance adjusters – who are typically involved in an Atlanta workers’ compensation case. At the Law Offices of T. Andrew Miller, LLC, we offer a free consultation and a contingency fee contract so that you can get the legal assistance that you need and the benefits that you deserve. Just call us at 678-605-9109 to schedule an appointment.