How a Pre-existing Condition Can Affect a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Incurring an injury at work is always challenging. In addition to the mental and emotional toll that injuries can place on you, a workplace injury can also cause many physical injuries that you don’t readily have funds available to finance. The fortunate thing is that workers’ compensation is generally available to workers who are injured in the state of Florida. However, for people who have pre-existing injuries and conditions, obtaining workers’ compensation is often far more challenging. Your pre-existing injury can be used against you as justification to deny your workers’ compensation claim at a time when you need it the most. This is very relevant for many Americans, as according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about half of Americans are living with a pre-existing condition.
What is a Pre-existing Injury?
A pre-existing injury is an old injury or condition that predates whatever the work-related incident is that is at the center of your current claim. Your pre-existing injury may or may not be related to your current employment.
Does Every Pre-existing Injury Have the Potential to Affect My Claim?
No. Only the related ones can. For example, if you are claiming that your right knee was injured in a workplace accident but you have had arthritis in your right knee for years, this is a relevant condition that can potentially affect the outcome of your claim. In contrast, if you had had arthritis in your right pinkie for years but were still claiming a workplace injury for your right knee, it would not be considered related.
What is a Major Contributing Cause?
Under Florida law, you are responsible for proving that the work-related injury you are claiming is at least 50 percent responsible for your claimed condition as compared with all other causes.
How Can My Claim Be Denied for a Pre-existing Injury?
In these scenarios, an employer will often assert, in response to your workers’ compensation claim, that the symptoms that prevent you from working are attributable to your preexisting injuries instead of anything related to work. However, a denial is not the end of the world as an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may still be able to help you with your claim.
Maybe I Should Keep My Pre-Existing Injury to Myself in That Case?
It may seem counterintuitive, but full disclosure is your best bet. Dishonesty can cause your claim to be denied for another reason – fraud. If you are not honest about a pre-existing injury and your employer later discovers this, you may not be successful under your claim and your credibility may be in question.
Are You Trying to Understand How Your Pre-existing Injury Will Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim? Let Us Clarify.
Trying to obtain workers’ compensation when you have a pre-existing condition can be very difficult. With the care of experienced attorneys, you can focus on your recovery while we focus on ensuring that your preexisting injury does not prevent you from obtaining the compensation you are entitled to. The Miami workers’ compensation attorneys at Payer & Associates have significant experience helping people like you. Begin by contacting us today to schedule a free consultation.