Whenever you get into any kind of accident, you may worry that your pre-existing condition could impact your insurance claim. The same thing is true when it comes to workers’ compensation. If you get into a workplace accident and suffer a serious injury, you may worry that the insurance company will deny your claim because of your pre-existing condition. If this happens to you, you need to call a workers’ compensation attorney in Tampa right away.
For example, imagine that you have a bad back from a prior car accident. You slip and fall at work and aggravate your injury. You’re unable to walk, drive, or perform the basic duties of your job. Your employer tells you your claim will not be approved because you had a bad back prior to your workplace accident.
Here, we’ll discuss the ways in which a pre-existing condition can impact your workers’ compensation claim. We will briefly touch on the types of injuries that may be aggravated by a workplace accident. Finally, we’ll explain why it’s beneficial to hire an injury attorney in Tampa as soon as possible after you get hurt at work.
What Kind of Pre-Existing Condition Did You Have?
People have all sorts of pre-existing conditions. That doesn’t mean they don’t hold down jobs. You could have been born with a medical condition that stays with you the rest of your life. Or you may have been involved in a motor vehicle accident when you were younger and suffered serious injuries.
If the injury was more than 10 or 15 years ago, there’s a good chance the insurance company will not use it as a basis to deny your claim. However, as a general rule, insurance adjusters typically do a 10-year look-back when it comes to pre-existing conditions.
Nobody knows your medical history better than you. If you know ahead of time that your pre-existing condition could jeopardize your workers’ comp claim, you should call and speak to a workers’ compensation attorney in Tampa immediately after your workplace accident. This way, they can make sure that your claim is handled properly by both your employer and their workers’ comp insurance carrier.
Your attorney will also review your medical records to see what information there is regarding your pre-existing condition. If they believe your pre-existing condition has no bearing on your workers’ comp injury, they’ll appeal your claim and try to get it paid. If, however, you’ve injured the same type of body part that you injured before, they’ll have to take a different approach.
Your Workers Compensation Attorney in Tampa Will Argue that Your Condition Was Aggravated by Your Accident
The obvious argument that any injury attorney in Tampa is going to make is that your workplace accident aggravated any prior injury. For example, if you happen to be a hemophiliac and cut yourself at work, you will bleed more than another employee would.
However, from a legal standpoint, defendants take their victims as they find them. You may have disclosed this pre-existing condition on your insurance paperwork for work. Or you may have already put your employer on notice that you are a hemophiliac. In a situation like this, your employer will be hard-pressed to argue that you should be denied workers’ compensation benefits.
If, on the other hand, you had your knee replaced within the last few years and re-injured it at work, your employer will likely deny your claim. They will argue that the only reason you suffered any injury is that you already had a bad knee.
In this sort of case, your injury attorney in Tampa will argue that anybody who suffered the same type of accident would have suffered the same type of injury. They will even get expert witnesses to testify to this fact if need be. Hopefully, when your employer realizes that you’ve hired a workers’ compensation attorney in Tampa, they will be more willing to negotiate payment of your claim.
The Workers Compensation Doctor Will Make Their Own Determination
Like it or not, your workers’ compensation doctor is going to make their own determination as to whether your injury was due to a pre-existing condition. When you are first examined, your doctor is going to ask if you have any prior injuries. Of course, they’ll ask you to go back to your childhood and report any childhood injuries.
You should be upfront and honest with the doctor when they ask these questions. That’s the only way they can offer you the best possible medical care. At the same time, you know this information will make its way back to the insurance carrier. If they then attempt to deny your benefits, your injury attorney in Tampa will go to bat for you.
If Your Claim Is Denied, Your Injury Attorney in Tampa Will File an Appeal
If your workers’ comp claim is denied because of a pre-existing condition, your attorney will help you file an appeal. Whether or not the hearing officer at the appeal decides in your favor will depend on the evidence you’re able to submit.
For example, if you can show that you had a bad back, but it had been more than 10 years since you had any trouble with it, there’s no reason why your claim should be denied. If, however, you had back surgery within the last two years and have been receiving chiropractic care, it will be difficult to succeed on appeal. At this point, your best option may be to file suit under workers’ compensation.
Call and Speak With an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Tampa
If you were injured at work and your workers’ comp claim has been denied because of a pre-existing condition, contact our office immediately. Sit down with one of our injury attorneys in Tampa and have them review your case. They’ll look to see what the pre-existing condition was and how it relates to your workplace accident.
If they feel that you have a legitimate claim for benefits, they’ll reach out to the insurance carrier and try to negotiate payment of your claim. If, however, they feel that there’s no way your claim will be approved, they’ll let you know upfront. The last thing they want to do is waste your time or their time. Contact our office today and schedule your free, initial consultation.