Arthritis & Degeneration- Maryland Workers Compensation

Maryland Workers Compensation – Arthritis and Degeneration?

“I had no prior complaints but workers comp is saying my problems are due to arthritis and degeneration.  How can this be?” 

Sound Familiar?  This is the most common defense insurance companies use.  Sometimes it is successful and other times not.  But this argument is made, I estimate, at least once a day at every workers compensation hearing location in the state of Maryland.  Not only do insurers use it to avoid paying for medical treatment, but it is used to stop lost wage payments, avoid surgery liability, and to avoid settlement.  Common sense tells us all that if there was no pain in the particular part of the body prior to the accident, and now their is pain, then the pain was caused by the accident!  Unfortunately common sense does not get the injured worker where they need to be legally.  Obtaining an attorney can increase chances of winning the treatment sought and the compensation owed and a fee is only paid if money is recovered!


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How can Maryland workers compensation say my problems come from arthritis and degeneration when I had no prior complaints?

Workers comp will come up with any argument possible to prevent the injured worker from seeking out and obtaining continuing medical treatment.  Most often when it is a question of medical treatment it will be argued that arthritis is causing the Maryland injured workers physical complaints.  From the very beginning of the claim the adjusters may review the medical records looking for mention of previous problems with the injured body part.  Often, a single complaint from many years prior to the accident can lead the maryland workers comp to start denying treatment.  

In an effort to bolster their argument the adjuster will schedule an independent medical evaluation (IME) with a doctor of their choosing.  The IME doctor may review prior medical records, mention findings in their report, and subsequently issue an expert opinion indicating that the need for treatment is not causally related to the work accident.  The IME doctor often indicates that the problems the injured worker is having is because of arthritis and degeneration.

When the IME report is issued treatment authorization may come to a complete halt leaving the injured worker confused and upset.  The injured Maryland worker can be certain they had no problems with the injured body part prior to the accident, they may have been performing their job duties with no complaints and high productivity.  But unfortunately without a hearing before the workers comp commission the treatment is not likely to be authorized.

Most often to prevail at a hearing the injured worker will need to provide adequate evidence to overcome the insurance companies IME.  The need for medical treatment and how the diagnostics relate to that need is a complex medical question for an expert in the field of medicine.  That means the evidence the injured worker needs should come from a qualified physician.

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Is the arthritis and degeneration argument effective in denying the injured worker treatment?

Unfortunately, those injured on the job in Maryland are susceptible to the arthritis and degeneration argument and do occasionally lose the right to medical treatment because of pre-existing conditions.  And, unfortunately most people have some degree of arthritis or degeneration in their joints.  Whether or not the presence of arthritis will be a determining factor depend on a number of factors.  If there is a diagnostic image performed that shows findings in addition to arthritis then the chances of the insurance company prevailing with their argument are diminished.  An MRI that reveals arthritis, but also ligament tears or fractured bones will bolster the injured Maryland workers’ case.  Likewise, if there is a comparison diagnostic test that was performed prior to the workers compensation accident that show an absence of the injury then the case is bolstered.  Most importantly, if you the injured worker can testify that you did not have complaints prior to the accident then your case will be strengthened.

When the insurance company is arguing arthritis and degeneration it is time to contact an attorney.  Maryland Workers Compensation Attorneys always worker on a contingency basis meaning they do not get paid until they recover money for you. 

If there was prior medical treatment for the arthritis then the injured worker will have an uphill battle.  A prior surgery of over ten years old will not damage the case as much as a recent surgery to the affected body part.  The ultimate deciding factor will be the Workers Compensation Commissioner assigned to the hearing for the injured workers case.  Likewise, a Maryland workers compensation attorney that is qualified and experienced can help the hurt employee by making relevant and precise arguments at the time of the hearing.

Most have wear and tear, arthritis and degeneration in their bodies.  Don’t let workers comp use this as an excuse!

On a regular basis workers compensation insurers are using the argument that those injured at work are having the issues they are because of arthritis or degeneration that was already present at the time of the work place accident.  Injured Maryland workers should be aware of this strategy and prepare for argument.  A Maryland workers compensation attorney can help the injured worker avoid being denied medical treatment because of this overused defense of a “pre-existing” condition.

For a free consultation with Workers Compensation Attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh call +1 (410) 937-1659     OR         Email



Maryland workers compensation attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh and his office offers information about Personal Injury law and Workers’ Compensation for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein constitutes formal legal advice. If you need the advice of a Maryland workers compensation lawyer, please contact him today. He has offices throughout the state and various convenient meeting locations.  Each and every case needs to be evaluated before legal advice can be provided.  Under no circumstance should the information on this website be considered medical advice. This is an attorney’s website and is not affiliated with any government agency or government entity of any kind.
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