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Can You Get Workers’ Comp with a Preexisting Condition?

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Earlier this year, a Tennessee man was able to secure workers’ compensation after he injured his knee at work, even though he had a preexisting condition prior to the incident that hurt him.

Keep in mind, insurance companies often deny benefits to people with preexisting conditions.

According to Business Insurance, the man worked at a Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. warehouse in Memphis when he was injured loading items off a pallet. The incident reportedly occurred in October 2009.

The victim reportedly fell to the floor after the incident, in which his knee turned awkwardly, with Johnson & Johnson’s insurer Indemnity Insurance Co. of North America arguing that the injury was “idiopathic and not compensable.”

The insurer claimed a surgeon said the victim had an “anatomical disposition” to having his kneecap move out of place and that nothing about his work environment could have caused his injury.

Due to this opinion, a court denied the victim workers’ compensation. However, the victim appealed the decision and the Tennessee Supreme Court Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel recently reversed the earlier court’s decision.

The appeals court found that “the stepping off [a] pallet was essentially what caused the injury to occur when and how it did.”


It is good that this man was awarded workers’ compensation even though he may have had a preexisting condition. If an employer places you at risk for injury, he or she should provide you with benefits, regardless of any minor injuries you suffered previously or your disposition.

As this case shows, Tennessee workers’ compensation laws are extremely complex. Because of this, you should speak to our qualified Nashville injury lawyer if you are ever injured at work. He can investigate your case and determine which entities you can hold liable for your injuries and how you can best move forward with a workers’ compensation claim.

If you have questions surrounding the legalities of an injury you sustained at work, you can reach our Nashville lawyer by clicking on the live chat option on this page or by filling out the contact request form.

“Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” – Psalms 26:2


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