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Older workers are still entitled to workers' compensation

Reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics say that 20 percent of American workers are over the age of 65, and estimates are that as many as 20 percent of employees by 2020 will be over the age of 55. Economic concerns and sandwich generation needs mean more people are extending work years into traditional retirement years, and that means the workforce itself is aging.

Older individuals can certainly still be very productive in the workplace, and this is true in any industry. But both workers and employers do have to consider physical capability, particularly in industries that involve heavy lifting or working with heavy machinery. One benefit of an aging workforce is that experience is often a great way to reduce safety issues. Experienced workers have been on the job long enough that good safety practices are ingrained in their processes, and they also have the experience needed to make safe decisions in a pinch.

A downside to aging on the job is that your body may be naturally more frail or prone to injury simply because that is how the human body works. Certain injuries, such as those to the knees or hips, are more likely as we age. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage all employers to provide safe workplaces for employees of all ages, accidents do happen.

When accidents occur and you are injured, if you are an older worker, insurance policies might try to claim that the injury was exacerbated by a preexisting condition. It's important that you fight for your rights and understand what is truly a preexisting condition and how that legally impacts a workers' compensation payment. Working with an experienced Houston lawyer can help you understand what steps to take if you are being denied benefits.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Productive Aging and Work," accessed April 22, 2016

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