How Does Being Overweight (Obesity) Affect Workers Compensation Claims?
Our caring Long Beach workers compensation attorneys understand that no one “chooses” to be overweight. We recognize that weight issues are even more frustrating when you have an injury or disability.
Previously, for many decades, the medical community – and workers compensation laws – did NOT recognized obesity as a medical condition. However, in the last few years things have begun to change. And those suffering from being severely overweight are now being treated more fairly and compassionate by the medical community and in workers compensation cases.
In this article our Long Beach Workers’ Compensation attorneys explain how these changes may affect your workers compensation case, if you are obese or overweight.
Obesity in Workers Compensation Law
Positive changes began in 2013 when the American Medical Association finally officially classified obesity as “a disease state.” This meant that many medical treatments and insurance benefits for obesity – that were previously not covered by insurance – would now be covered.
This change in classification to a “medical condition” meant that thousands of American’s could now obtain insurance-covered treatment for their obesity and weight issues.
This change in classification also resulted in a big shift for Workers’ Compensation applicants. Since obesity is now classified as a “disease state” it may also be considered “compensable” under workers’ compensation – providing that all other qualifying criteria are also met.
Obesity May be Compensable in Workers’ Compensation Cases
It is unlikely that a condition of obesity – on its own – will be deemed a “work related injury” that qualifies someone for workers compensation benefits. However, now that obesity has been re-classified as a disease it may be considered as an additional part of the injured or ill worker’s entire workers comp claim.
For example, if a work injury results in immobility that causes significant weight gain, the obesity may now be part of the workers’ compensation claim.
Similarly, if medication that is taken for a work-related injury results in substantial weight gain, the resulting obesity may now be covered as part of the workers compensation claim.
Workers compensation for “co” problems – such as psychological problems, sexual dysfunction, or sleeping disorders, caused by a work injury – have always been considered a “comorbidity” for which the injured worker could collect compensation.
Now, that obesity is also classified as a medically recognized “disease state”, weight gain that results from ta workplace injury or illness is also a “compensable” condition (under certain circumstances).
Changes in Workers’ Compensation Laws
How far this change in the classification of obesity will affect Workers Compensation claims remains to be seen. However, our attorneys are encouraged by the positive changes in the medical classification of obesity as a disease.
Currently carpal tunnel syndrome or back injuries caused by extended periods of desk-work or sitting can qualify an applicant for worker’s comp. In an extreme example, perhaps obesity caused by a sedentary working environment – such as clerical work or long haul trucking – may also be compensable under some circumstances.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys are keeping abreast of the impact that the change in obesity classification will have on workers compensation case for many of our clients.
Long Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Our attorneys recognize that nobody wants to be overweight – but we understand that a medical condition or medication may simply make it impossible to exercise or lose weight.
If you have suffered a work related injury call our attorneys today. We understand the difficulties and challenges that being overweight can add to your injury – and we are here to help.