Pre-existing Conditions: Why We Need to Know

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When you are injured on the job and it causes you to miss time from work, your LWCC claims representative will ask you a series of standard questions that will help determine the benefit you may be entitled to under workers' compensation. Some of these questions will be about past injuries or current medical conditions that you have, such as diabetes or heart disease.

 There are a few reasons that your claims representatives needs to know about this. First of all, many types of medical conditions may complicate your work-related injury and/or affect your course of treatment or treatment options. Secondly, those pre-existing conditions may make your claim eligible for the Second Injury Fund.

Louisiana's Second Injury Fund is a state-administered program that reimburses part of a claim when an employee with a permanent, pre-existing condition is subsequently injured on the job. The fund encourages employers to hire people with disabilities by reducing financial liability if these employees get hurt on the job.

When your claim qualifies under the Second Injury Fund, it means your employer's workers' comp expenses may be reduced. Your benefits will NOT be affected. While that's not necessarily a direct benefit to you, it does provide an additional incentive for employers (like yours) to hire employees with known medical conditions.

What if I don't want to share this information with my employer or LWCC?

It's understandable that information concerning past injuries or medical conditions is personal. You should know there are employment laws in place that protect employees from having personal medical information used to discriminate against them with respect to employment.

At the same time, the workers' comp law requires that when asked, employees must provide information about past injuries and known current or past medical conditions or risk losing workers' comp benefits.