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What is an exacerbation in workers' compensation?

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What happens when the workers’ compensation carrier takes the position that your 2015 low back injury is an exacerbation from a prior 2001 injury that resulted in an award for future medical treatment?  The carrier takes the position the 2015 injury was not a compensable consequence, but a temporary exacerbation of the 2001 claim.

The legal and medical question is whether the 2015 injury was an aggravation versus an exacerbation.  This is generally resolved on establishing the mechanism of the 2015 injury and whether there has been a temporary exacerbation or permanent aggravation of this condition.  The medical evidence will generally demonstrate the level or degree of treatment pre and post 2015-injury.   It will be necessary to know if there was continued treatment before the 2015 injury on a regular or periodic basis. 

The general rule is that a return to baseline following a brief period of medical treatment is a temporary exacerbation, but where there is no return to baseline it will result in a permanent aggravation and a compensable consequence injury. 

If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation injury and want to talk to an attorney in Fresno, please call (559) 408-7436 or fill out the form to the right.