Workplace injuries usually take one of two forms. They can be either traumatic injuries caused by a single accident or repetitive injuries that appear and become worse over a prolonged period.
Not all work injuries, however, are necessarily new as explained in this guide to Riverview FL. Workers’ compensation pre-existing injuries or conditions.
Pre-existing injuries or conditions can become worse due to a traumatic or repetitive injury on the job. If your workers’ compensation benefits have been denied due to the worsening of your pre-existing condition, you should fight back with a strong legal argument, which is where we come in.
At WorkInjuryRights, our workers’ compensation lawyers will help you recover the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 954-833-5226 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our legal team.
What Are Pre-Existing Conditions and Injuries?
A pre-existing condition refers to any injury or illness that you were diagnosed with prior to any injuries or accidents occurring within the scope of your employment. For example, a bad knee resulting from a bicycle accident from months or years prior can be considered a pre-existing condition.
A pre-existing condition may have developed either prior to employment with the employer you are currently with or in the course of your employment with your current employer, so long as it happened prior to the work-related injury that’s most relevant to your current claim.
Under Florida Laws, Do Pre-Existing Conditions or Injuries Bar You from Filing Workers’ Compensation Claims?
Under Florida workers’ compensation laws, all workers are entitled to lost wages and medical benefits after suffering an on-the-job injury. However, having a pre-existing condition or injury can significantly complicate your ability to collect the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to.
Furthermore, if you’re unable to prove that a work-related condition or injury is responsible for 0ver 50 percent of your condition, then you may be denied benefits. Insurance providers are also particularly skeptical of pre-existing conditions and may use it to deny the benefits that you rightfully deserve.
What Obstacles May I Face with My Workers’ Compensation Claim When Trying to Prove a Pre-Existing Condition Became Worse?
The greatest obstacle that you will likely face with your workers’ compensation claim when trying to prove that a pre-existing condition became worse is proving that the workplace or work-related injury or illness aggravated the pre-existing condition as opposed to exacerbating it.
Let’s use an example to clarify this further:
Let’s assume you are a physical therapist that suffers from lower back arthritis. While at work, you attempt to help a patient out of bed, causing a disc in your lower back to bulge, which leaves you unable to work due to the injury.
The bulging disc is a “new” work-related injury even though it was connected to your pre-existing condition. The injury is an “aggravation” of your pre-existing injury and would thus be covered by workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation in Florida, however, doesn’t cover claims for conditions that “flare up” while on the job. In the above example, if picking up the patient just made your arthritis worse, but didn’t affect your ability to work, then workers’ compensation wouldn’t apply.
Your pain isn’t a new injury, but rather an “exacerbation” of your pre-existing condition. Exacerbation refers to a temporary increase in the symptoms of a pre-existing condition and is usually not covered by workers’ compensation.
Distinguishing between exacerbation and aggravation is complicated and requires the knowledge of skilled workers’ compensation lawyers at WorkInjuryRights in Riverview Florida. Call us today at 954-833-5226 if your employer has denied you workers’ compensation benefits due to a pre-existing condition.
How Can You Protect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you suffer from a pre-existing condition, here are some of the steps you can take to support your workers’ compensation claim:
File Your Claim on Time
Under Florida law, you’re required to file a claim within 30 days of an accident. Ideally, you should report it to your employer within the shortest time possible. If you fail to report the injury within the 30-day deadline, your employer’s insurer may deny your claim since they may view hesitating to report the injury as a sign of it not being as serious as you claim.
Maintain Medical Records
Always maintain all medical records about the previous injury along with those associated with your current workplace or work-related injury.
This evidence will be invaluable in showing the differences between the pre-existing injuries and conditions before and after the current work injury as well as proving that the new injury has made your previous condition worse.
Submit to a Medical Examination
Your employer’s insurance provider will almost always ask for an independent medical examination (IME) in which their physician will not only examine you but also thoroughly go over your past medical records.
You are obligated to comply with the request to be subjected to the medical examination if you want your claim to be paid.
Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for your pre-existing injuries and conditions!
If you or someone you know have been unfairly denied benefits due to a pre-existing condition or injury, you need expert legal assistance. Fortunately, our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at WorkInjuryRights in Riverview, FL can help you recover the benefits you are entitled to.
Our workers’ compensation lawyers at WorkInjuryRights in Riverview, FL can help in the following ways:
- Keeping you informed about the process of filing a claim to avoid hurting your potential to receive benefits.
- Ensuring that you know exactly what to say and do after a workplace or work-related injury or illness to receive the workers’ compensation benefits that you’re entitled to under Florida law.
- Ensuring that all forms are filled out correctly in a timely manner and according to Florida law.
- Investigating how the injury happened, gathering evidence such as work and medical records as well as interviewing witnesses to help prove your workers’ compensation claim.
- Negotiating with the insurance company to ensure that you receive a favorable settlement.
- Representing you at any hearings.
- Guiding you through the appeals process in case your workers’ compensation claim is denied.
- Filing a lawsuit if appropriate, especially if a negligent party is at fault for your workplace or work-related injury or illness.
Now that you know about Riverview, FL workers’ compensation pre-existing injuries or conditions and how they can affect your case, call WorkInjuryRights today at 954-833-5226 to get a free assessment from one of our skilled workers’ compensation lawyers.