Yes. An injury suffered at work does not have to be a completely new problem. The definition of injury includes a recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of any pre-existing injury or disease. It does not matter whether the pre-existing injury or disease was work-related or not.
If you have a work related injury and you have another incident either with the same or a new employer that either makes your injury:
- recur – happen again just like before
- be aggravated – get worse than it was before
- be accelerated – get worse faster
- be exacerbated – cause the consequences of the injury to be worse; or
- deteriorate – cause new or worse symptoms.
then you may need to lodge a new WorkCover claim.
If there was no incident or nothing happened to make your injury worse, then this would be a continuation of an existing injury and be under your original claim.
If you have a pre-existing injury that did not happen at work, you are still eligible to claim WorkCover if the recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration is work-related. This will often have to be determined by a doctor, who will have to give a written opinion about whether they believe something did happen at work to cause the recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration. They will need to know information about your injury history to be able to give this opinion.
At Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers we are often asked whether a pre-existing injury has to be declared to a new or prospective employer. The answer is always yes, if you are asked. This is because if you are asked to disclose all pre-existing injuries and diseases that you know of that may be affected by the proposed employment, and you don’t, and re-injure yourself, then you will not be entitled to WorkCover compensation.
If you need more help understanding work injury claims, our WorkCover FAQ section could be helpful.
Even if you don’t think your injury is serious, we recommend discussing your injury/illness with a lawyer while the details are fresh in your mind. If you have any questions about whether you are eligible to lodge a work-injury claim, don’t hesitate to call our legal team on (03) 9321 9988.