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A work comp claimant need not claim perfection: pre-existing conditions

In the first year of law school, professors have traditionally introduced students to a conceptual puzzle called the "plaintiff with an eggshell skull."

This typically occurs in a class on torts, where students learn about types of personal injuries for which the law provides a remedy. The plaintiff with the proverbial "eggshell skull" is a hypothetical case intended to ask about the existence or limits of liability when someone is especially vulnerable to injury.

A somewhat different type of analysis arises in workers' compensation cases. In that setting, an insurance adjuster for your employer may try to argue that an injury is not covered by workers' compensation because it was suffered outside of work.

For example, if you are suffering from back pain, the workers' comp insurer may argue that you were injured away from work, rather than on the job.

Keep in mind, however, that the mere existence of a pre-existing condition does not prevent you from pursuing a workers' compensation claim.

Let's take another example. Let's say you hurt your knee playing basketball or touch football a few years ago. This can easily happen to weekend warriors who try to emulate the heroics of players on the Denver Nuggets or the Broncos.

In any case, you thought the old sports injury to your knee had healed. But then you reinjured it at work.

If your employer discourages you from filing a work comp claim in a case like this, it makes sense to talk with a lawyer who can clearly explain what your rights are. The same is true if the adjuster for workers' compensation insurance company seems to have reservations about your claim.

To learn more about how our firm can help in cases like this, please visit our page on pre-existing injury.

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