Luckily for employees, they do not have to be in perfect health before an injury in order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia. This means that if an employee is injured on the job, the employee may qualify for benefits if the work injury aggravates a preexisting injury.
In a recent case, one state’s supreme court considered whether an employee’s left knee injury aggravated a preexisting injury to his right knee. In that case, the employee injured his left knee while he was working for the city’s street department, first in 2009 and again in 2012. His injuries were covered under the state’s workers’ compensation act. However, the employee later reported pain in his right knee, and he was diagnosed with severe degenerative joint disease of the right knee.
The employee underwent surgery on his right knee but did not seek workers’ compensation approval for the procedure. After the procedure, the employee filed for workers’ compensation benefits for the injury to his right knee. He argued that his left knee injuries aggravated a preexisting degenerating joint disease in his right knee as well. The workers’ compensation commission rejected his claim, and he appealed.