Workers’ Comp and Existing Injuries


Workers’ comp is a system in the US that provides compensation for any employee who is injured while working. Despite so many people being covered by it, most people do not really understand how it works. For instance, if you aggravate an existing injury, is that covered by workers’ comp? This is a simple question, and it has a simple answer, but there are a few special cases you need to be aware of.

Existing Injuries

For the most part, whether or not the injury already exists makes no difference in a workers’ comp case. This includes:

  • Aggravating an existing injury
  • Reinjuring an existing injury
  • An existing injury causing you to injure yourself in a new way

These situations alone are not enough to deny anyone compensation. However, there is one thing that may invalidate the claim.

One of the requirements for all workers’ comp cases is that the injury is work-related. If the injury already exists, fulfilling this requirement becomes slightly more complicated. For new injuries, it is usually very clear whether work-related activity caused the injury or not. For existing injuries, however, it is always possible that the injury would have been aggravated regardless of what the injured person was doing. It always needs to be a work activity that aggravates the existing injury. If you are worried about proving this aspect, it may be beneficial to speak with an attorney who specializes in workers’ comp cases.

The Process

The process of filing a workers’ comp claim is very simple for the injured worker. Essentially the only thing you need to do is report the injury to your employer. The sooner you do this after the injury, the better. After that, it is the employer’s responsibility to file the claim. Your employer will need you to sign certain paperwork, and will likely need to ask you some questions about how the injury happened. However, for the most part, you can simply focus on recovering while your employer takes care of filing the claim.

It is always a good idea to check in with your employer occasionally to ensure the claim is being filed. Sometimes employers forget to file, or even worse, purposefully do not file. The best way to combat this is to be in contact with your employer regularly. If you discover that your employer failed to file your claim, you should speak with a workers’ comp attorney, like a Workers Compensation Attorney Brooklyn offers, to learn what legal actions you have available to you.


Thank you to the experts at Polsky, Shouldice, & Rosen, P.C., for their input into worker’s compensation and the law.