The Tennessee Supreme court recently attempted to clarify an issue we often see in workers compensation cases. This issue arises when someone has a pre-existing problem, such as arthritis, and a work accident causes the condition to become worse. The issue becomes is the now work related pre-existing injury that is not covered under the TN comp act or is it compensable.
In an attempt to clarify the issue the supreme court stated that for the work injury to be compensable there must be a progression of the underlying condition. Specifically, the court held: “if the injury advances the severity of the pre-existing condition,or if, as a result of the pre-existing condition, the employee suffers a new, distinct injury other than increased pain, then the work injury is compensable.”
The difficulty in many of these cases falls on having a doctor testify that the condition has become worse. Often they will say the condition is only more painful. This new case will have an interesting and uncertain impact on increased pain cases. There were cases that said if the new injury caused an asymptomatic condition to create disabling pain then it is compensable. This new case seems to dance around that specific issue just a little. So we will now have to see how the lower courts, the doctors and lawyers deal with this new clarification of a confusing section of the Tennessee Workers compensation act.
If you have a workmans compensation case that was turned down as a “pre-existing or degernative condition feel free to contact my office to discuss. Generally, we can order and review your medical records to determine where you stand. If you would like for us to review your case just contact our Nashville Law Office.