How an Idiopathic Condition Could Impact Your Greenville, South Carolina, Workers’ Compensation Claim

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If you are injured at work or while completing work related tasks, then you should be able to file a Greenville, South Carolina, workers’ compensation claim to get medical benefits and wage benefits. However, there are times when an idiopathic condition will harm your claim. Idiopathic conditions are those that happen spontaneously without a recognizable work related cause. Following are some examples of idiopathic conditions that may not be covered by workers’ compensation:

  • Seizures and related conditions
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Degenerative knee conditions
  • Fainting
  • Pulmonary conditions
  • Sinus conditions
  • Mental illnesses
  • Circulatory conditions
  • Cancer

How Might You Still Be Eligible for Greenville, SC, Workers’ Compensation After an Idiopathic Event?

Even though these idiopathic conditions are not considered to be work related, and are therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there are certain circumstances where you may have a valid workers’ compensation claim, anyway. For instance, if you fainted, had a seizure, or had a heart attack or stroke, and if you fell in such a way that you struck your head or other body part on something in your work environment (a machine, a work table, etc.), then you may have a valid workers’ compensation claim for the injuries associated with the fall.
If you just fall on the floor in the above example, then you most likely would not have a claim, because every environment has a floor or ground. Thus, the injury to your head or other body part that was caused by the fall could have happened exactly the same way at home or in any other environment. However, if you get a head injury from your fall and from striking a machine that is in your work environment, then you could recover compensation for that head injury; but, you would not be able to recover compensation for the medical expenses associated with the idiopathic condition, only for the medical expenses associated with the head injury (or other injury related to the work environment). 

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Another example would be falling from a height. If your work responsibilities require you to work at great heights, and if you have a seizure or other idiopathic event that causes you to fall from the height, then you can get workers’ compensation coverage for the injuries associated with the fall.  

Can You Prove that Your Injury is Work-Related to Receive Greenville, SC, Workers’ Comp Benefits?

It is up to the injured worker to prove that their injury is work-related in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Greenville, South Carolina.. It can be challenging to do this, and many cases are decided based on what appears to be a minor detail. One example that illustrates this challenge is the example of a woman who was working at a desk on a computer when her supervisor came in and asked to use the computer. The woman stood up, and her knee gave out. This ended up being a serious knee injury that required surgical treatment. She filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and was initially approved, because the injury occurred at work.
However, when her employer appealed the decision to approve her claim, they pointed out that the injury was not work-related. Even though you do not have to prove fault in a Greenville, South Carolina, workers’ compensation claim, you do have to prove that the injury is work-related. When this woman’s employer claimed that her injury was not work-related, it was up to her to prove that it was.
Her argument was that the injury would not have occurred when it did if her supervisor had not asked her to stand up when she did. It is important here to note that the case could have gone either way. The courts could have agreed with her, but in this case, they did not. She was not able to get workers’ compensation for her injury. Now, if she had fallen because of her knee going out, and if she had struck something other than the floor, such as the desk or another work related hazard, then she would have had a better chance of getting her claim approved.

You May or May Not Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits for an Idiopathic Injury

Ultimately, it is very difficult to say whether or not you are going to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits after an idiopathic event or injury occurs at work. As in the example above, the courts could have sided with the injured worker, even though they did not. There are many other examples where the injured worker did get workers’ compensation benefits.
One such example occurred with a worker who suffered from epilepsy, a condition that causes seizures. In this case, the worker had a seizure and struck his head on the sharp edge of a work desk. Now, if he had struck the floor, then this probably would not have been considered to be work-related. At the same time, if he had simply fallen on the floor during his seizure, he might have been able to come back to work the next day. Yet, because he struck his head on a work desk, he ended up with a head injury that required medical treatment and time away from work. If the work desk had not been there, then this might not have been the outcome. The employee in this case could not get medical coverage for the medication required for his epilepsy, but he did get medical coverage for his head injury and wage benefits for the time that he had to take off of work for the head injury.

Get Your Questions About Idiopathic Conditions in Greenville, SC, Workers’ Comp Claims Answered

Even if you have an idiopathic condition or injury event at work, you should not assume that you can’t get workers’ compensation benefits, even if your claim is initially denied. Rather, contact the Greenville, South Carolina, workers’ compensation attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. to learn more.

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