Apportioning Liability for Preexisting Conditions to Subsequent Employers in New Jersey Workers’ Comp Claims
Generally speaking, it is very difficult to render subsequent employers liable for the worsening of a preexisting condition. In order to get workers’ compensation under New Jersey’s workers’ comp laws, you or your New Jersey work comp benefit attorney will need to prove that the subsequent employer contributed to your preexisting disability to a material degree. This is not an easy task.
Applying the “Material Degree” Standard
If you were injured in a previous accident that was not related to your current employment, but where the tasks at your current employment worsened or made symptomatic a previous condition that was asymptomatic, you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
However, to successfully claim benefits, your New Jersey work comp benefit attorney will need to demonstrate that an injury at your subsequent (current) employment contributed to your initial disability in a material degree. In other words, there must be some proof of a current work-related injury of condition resulting in permanent disability.
Reasoning For This Standard
An employee is entitled to benefits for an injury that arises out of or during the course of an employment. If you did not suffer from any accidents or occupational diseases from your current employer, the courts are reluctatnt to attach liability to this subsequent employer for a progressive worsening of a preexisting condition.
Successfully Proving the “Material Degree” Standard
To successfully claim workers’ comp benefits from a subsequent employer, your New Jersey work comp benefit attorney will need to provide compelling evidence. More specifically, your attorney will need to:
- Identify the specific instances of aggravation and include them in your claim as traumatic events in addition to the applicable subsequent occupational claim
- Hire examining experts to apportion liability
- Make sure you are properly examined by a doctor upon leaving one for job for another so that a percentage of disability can be identified for purposes of apportionment
- Look for a measurable worsening of your medical condition as a result of work efforts or other occupational exposure
For more information about getting worker’ compensation benefits from a subsequent employer for the worsening of a preexisting condition, call New Jersey work comp benefit attorney Dan Matrafajlo at -908-248-4404.