Injured Workers Association of Utah
Injured Workers
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Preexisting Conditions

A workers compensation insurance company will call many things a preexisting condition. Any injury, medical condition or genetic problem in the region of the industrial injury might get labeled a preexisting condition. Even medical conditions you never knew you had can be a preexisting condition.

Never accept an insurance company's decision about preexisting conditions without discussing your situation in depth with an attorney.

If you have a preexisting condition, you can still qualify for workers compensation benefits, but you must meet a higher burden of proof under the “Allen Test.” All workers compensation claims must show Legal and Medical causation. Medical causation means that medically work caused the injury. A doctor must make this determination. Medical causation is the same regardless of preexisting conditions. However, Legal Causation changes. Legal causation normally simply requires that something happened at work to cause the injury. However, if you have a preexisting condition, you must show that something happened at work to cause your injury AND that something must be more than a normal activity of everyday life. In every day life, for example, we lift 25 lb. Therefore, if you have a preexisting back injury and re-injure your back lifting 10 lbs, you may not be covered by workers compensation.

Over the years, many cases have created exceptions to the Allen Test. They are too numerous to outline here. If the insurance company is denying your case because of a preexisting condition contact an attorney for an evaluation of your particular situation.

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This page was written by Atkin & Associates.
Contact attorney Marsha S. Atkin for more information.

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(Chartered April 1, 1988)

The Injured Workers Association of Utah (IWAU) is a Utah non-profit corporation concerned with over 70,000 injured, disabled and displaced workers each year who suffer the financial and personal hardships occasioned by industrial injuries and occupational diseases in Utah. It is neither union nor non-union, and represents all members of the workforce. Its membership is open to all injured workers regardless of race, creed, color, age, sex, national origin, religious persuasion or political affiliation

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copyright 1999 - updated March 2005

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