One of the rules of thumb for workers’ compensation benefits is that you cannot claim anything that was an existing injury. If you tear your ACL playing basketball at your house, you can’t come into work and then say it happened when you tripped on the stairs. A claim will typically be denied if you weren’t at work or doing work when it occurred.
However, if you have an existing injury and you aggravate it further at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Significant aggravation can drastically change your situation
The reason you can do this is that the aggravation suffered on the job could drastically change the type of pain you’re dealing with or what medical care you need. You may still deserve benefits because you wouldn’t be in that situation if you hadn’t further injured yourself on the job.
For instance, maybe your back was slightly sore after carrying a lot of heavy boxes over the weekend. Then you went to work and tried to pick something heavy up, and you threw your back out entirely. Now you’re going to miss at least a week of work, you have to go to a chiropractor, you need medical tests and much more. Or perhaps you’ve caused a significant spinal cord injury that could alter your career. Yes, the pain started at home, but the workplace injury clearly took it to another level.
That said, these can be somewhat contentious cases, especially if there is disagreement about when and where the accident happened. Make sure you understand all of your rights.