Workplace injuries are an unfortunate risk that nearly all of us face each day we go to work. Some industries are certainly riskier than others but no industry is completely safe from injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to help employees during the tough period following a workplace accident.
However, it’s slightly more difficult when a pre-existing condition is involved. Lakeland, Florida workers’ compensation pre-existing injuries or conditions can slow down the claims process but you can still get the compensation you deserve.
Hiring an experienced workers comp attorney in Lakeland is the key to securing workers’ comp benefits even with a pre-existing condition. At WorkInjuryRights, we have helped countless employees fight for the compensation they deserve regardless of their medical history. We know that simply having a pre-existing condition does not rule you out of your right to compensation.
If you’ve been injured at work, then we suggest you contact our lakeland staff today. Call 954-833-5226 to discuss your case for free with a qualified attorney.
What Are Pre-Existing Conditions and Injuries?
A pre-existing condition is any sort of illness, injury, or disorder you were suffering from before your work-related accident occurred. For example, if you were diagnosed with diabetes years ago, then the insurance company can claim that you have a pre-existing condition that affected your injury.
It’s not uncommon for employers to use these conditions as a tool to help them avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits.
Can I File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Florida if I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
No. Every Florida employee has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim when they are injured on the job. Having a pre-existing condition does not remove this right. In some cases, you may even be able to file a claim if your work-related duties caused the pre-existing condition to become worse.
It can; however, make it slightly more difficult for you to receive your benefits. The insurance company may claim that your injury was caused by a pre-existing condition and was not related to your work duties.
You can fight against these types of arguments with the help of an experience workers’ compensation attorney in Lakeland.
What Obstacles Will I Face If I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
The biggest problem you’ll face with a pre-existing condition is proving that your injury and the related expenses were the results of work-related activities. It’s very easy for the insurance company to claim that all of the damage was the result of the existing condition. You and your attorney will need to show that there is new damage specifically caused by work-related activities.
For example, if you suffer from arthritis in your hands then you likely deal with chronic pain, stiffness, and limited flexibility. If your job includes loading a shipping container and the repetitive motion causes your condition to worsen, then you have the basis for a workers’ comp claim. However, you will need to show that the condition was exasperated on the job.
It’s important to note that employers are not allowed to discriminate based on your medical history. You still have the right to seek employment and the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
Furthermore, your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a claim. That means they cannot fire you, demote you, or take any other disciplinary action.
How To Protect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
It’s almost a guarantee that the insurance company will do its best to prevent compensation if you have a pre-existing condition. You can still protect your claim and secure an adequate settlement if you take the necessary steps. Here are a few steps you can take to protect your claim from various causes of denial.
1. File With Haste
Don’t wait weeks or months to begin filing your claim. You should report your injury to a supervisor on the day of the accident and then begin the claims process as soon as possible. There are various deadlines in place for filing your claims but you should file well ahead of these deadlines.
2. Keep All Records
Always save any records or evidence related to your workplace injury. This primarily relates to medical records, such as examination reports, bills, and prescriptions. All of this evidence can be used to support the validity of your claim. It can also be used to differentiate between your pre-existing condition and workplace injury.
3. Submit to an Approved Examination
Chances are, you’ll seek medical attention almost immediately after the accident occurs. But that may not be enough. If you want your medical visits to be covered by workers’ compensation, then they will need to go through an approved medical provider.
You can find more information about the providers in your company’s network by speaking with your employer, supervisor, or HR department.
Most employers will require you to receive a medical examination from an approved practitioner in their network. You probably won’t learn anything new from this examination but it’s important because it adds validity to your injury claim.
4. Contact A Workers’ Comp Attorney
The most important step you can take to protect your workers’ compensation claim is to contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney. An attorney can help you with each stage of the claims process and they significantly increase your likelihood of succeeding.
An attorney will gather evidence related to the claim, negotiate with insurance providers on your behalf, and present your case to any judge or administrative board involved in the process.
Don’t Let the Insurance Providers Deny Your Claim
As an American citizen, you have the right to receive compensation if you’re injured while on the job. That doesn’t change just because you have a pre-existing injury or medical condition. An employer may try to avoid paying for a claim due to an existing injury, but you can fight back with the help of a lawyer.
An experienced attorney will help ensure that your employer properly compensates you for any injury you suffer on the job. But it’s still up to you to pick up the phone and make the call. Call 954-833-5226 today to speak with a Lakeland, Florida workers’ compensation pre-existing injuries or conditions attorney.