In Pennsylvania, if you have a pre-existing condition and get hurt at work, you may still be eligible for workers compensation benefits. Often, injured workers are advised by their employer that they can’t file for workers compensation benefits because they had a pre-existing condition. That is wrong. Period.
It is long standing law in Pennsylvania that an aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition can be a compensable work injury.
An aggravation of a pre-existing degenerative condition constitutes a compensable work injury. SKF USA, Inc. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Smalls), 728 A.2d 385, 387 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1999).To establish a compensable aggravation“the medical evidence [must] establish that the injury materially contributed to the disability rather than the disability resulted from the natural progress [ion] of a pre-existing condition.” Miller v. Workmen’s Compensation Appeal Board (Pocono Hospital) , 539 A.2d 18, 20-21 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1988) (citing Halaski v. Hilton Hotel, 409 A.2d 367 (Pa. 1979)). Whether an incident has materially contributed to the disabling injury “is a question of fact to be determined by the WCJ.” SKF, 728A.2d at 388.