Showing posts with label Pre-Existing Conditions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pre-Existing Conditions. Show all posts

Friday, December 8, 2017


By Founding Partner/Attorney Chad Snow
Snow, Carpio & Weekley

As we all get older, our bodies break down and suffer degenerative changes.  Many people get regular treatment for chronic conditions, especially of the spine and joints, for years before their work injury. Then an unfortunate injury occurs to that same body part, turning that occasional chronic pain into a disabling, acute injury.  Insurance carriers always try to prove that all of the injured worker’s problems are due to the pre-existing condition.

However, many times we are successful in proving that the work injury caused either a temporary or a permanent aggravation of the pre-existing condition.  a temporary aggravation is one that eventually returns back to the baseline condition as it was before the injury.

A permanent aggravation is an injury that causes the pre-existing condition to be permanently worsened and causes a permanent reduction in function to the injured body part.  This is proven through medical testimony of a treating or examining physician who reviews your prior medical records and other testing done after the injury, and gives an opinion as to the extent to which your pre-existing condition was aggravated by your work injury.

For more information on Workers' Compensation or Social Security Disability, please contact Snow, Carpio & Weekley toll-free at 855-325-4781 or visit our website at We serve the entire State of Arizona and have offices located in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma and Lake Havasu City.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Aggravating a Pre-Existing Condition in Arizona Work Comp

I had an interesting case today where the insurance carrier's doctor is saying that my client's need for a total knee replacement is not related to his 1985 industrial injury because he had a prior non-industrial injury in 1974.  His argument is that, since there were already degenerative changes in the knee at the time of the 1985 injury, he would have needed the total knee eventually regardless of whether he had the industrial injury. 

This is actually a very common issue in Arizona Workers (Workmans) Compensation claims - where a worker has a pre-existing non-industrial degenerative condition that is aggravated or exacerbated by an industrial injury.  It is generally accepted that, if the subsequent work injury causes a permanent aggravation of the underlying condition, or speeds up the need for care for the degenerative condition, it is the workers comp carrier's responsibility.  Although there is not a specific test for this, the industrial injury has to be at least a "substantial contributing factor" in adding to the need for the treatment - "substantial", however, is ill defined and can mean at least a minimal factor in causing the need for the treatment. 

Bottom line:  a pre-existing condition can either be temporarily aggravated or permanently aggravated by an on the job injury and be covered under workers compensation.  This usually has to be established by medical testimony from your doctor. 

Chad T. Snow is a workers compensation attorney with offices in Phoenix and Tucson.  He has represented thousands of Arizona's injured workers before the Industrial Commission of Arizona.  He can be reached at (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000 or at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Repetitive Stress Injuries - Carpal Tunnell Syndrome

Some people think that because they didn't have a specific accident at work, that they cannot file a workers comp claim in Arizona.  Untrue!  Many injuries are the result of repetitive stress or cumulative trauma - the gradual effects of performing the same activity repetitively over a long period of time.  These cases are actually quite easy to win if you have a doctor who can causally relate your diagnosis to the work activity in which you were engaged. 

For example, I recently won a case for a woman who worked at a used clothing recycling warehouse whose job was to sort used clothing.  She performed this work for over 7 years and eventually developed pain in her dominant shoulder.  Her doctor told her that doing her work activities over that period of time had contributed to the shoulder injury (note that it doesn't have to have 100% caused the injury, as long as it is a contributing factor) and that she needed surgery.  Other common examples are grocery store stockers who do a lot of overhead lifting on a repetitive basis and develop rotator cuff tears. 

One misconception is that carpal tunnell syndrome is always caused by repetitive activity such as typing or using a mouse.  Most hand surgeons will now say that CTS is more commonly caused by non-industrial factors such as age, weight, and genetics, as opposed to anything related to repetitive trauma.  The main exceptions are jobs that require prolonged use of vibrating tools, such as a jackhammer or power tools, which CAN contribute to carpal tunnell syndrome. 

If you have a repetitive stress injury that you think might be related to work, call our office at (602) 532-0700 in Phoenix, or (520) 647-9000 in Tucson, or visit our website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley for more information. 

Snow, Carpio, and Weekley are Arizona attorneys who have represented thousands of injured workers before the Industrial Commission of Arizona.