You are probably well aware that most insurance companies always are on the look-out as to how to deny or reduce a workers comp claim. Unfortunately, pre-existing conditions are one of the most common ways to deny workers compensation claims. Let our workers’ comp law firm in Florida explain.
This is especially valid if your work injury has similarities or is related in any small way to a previously treated injury you sustained. Back and spine injuries make up a lot of workers comp claims, and if you already have a “bad back” for any previous reason, your claim may be denied.
If the current injury honestly has made your back worse, you certainly should have your claim upheld, and the pre-existing condition problem can be overcome. The issue is that it does complicate the claim, and now proof will have to be shown that your injury was exacerbated by the new injury.
Your attorney will have to show that 51% of the current state of your disability was due to the current accident. You will be advised to:
- Maintain all medical records about the previous injury as well as those associated with the current workplace injury. This evidence will be invaluable in proving that the new injury has made your previous condition worse.
- Promptly file your Florida workers compensation claim. Florida gives you 30 days from the injury to file a workers compensation claim. If you miss that deadline, you can be certain your claim will be denied.
- Comply promptly with a medical examination request made by the insurance company. They will assuredly ask for an independent medical examination (IME) in which their physician will examine you and thoroughly go over your past medical records. You must comply with this request if you want your claim to be paid.
You can be sure that in comp cases that have pre-existing conditions involved, the insurance companies will put up a fight. They evaluate a pre-existing condition as a good reason for denying the claim. After you are injured and report the injury, your employer has seven days to report it to their insurance company. You will be contacted very shortly after that by the insurance company. It is best to have an attorney on your side.
What is Florida’s Stance on Workers Comp Claims Involving Pre-existing Conditions?
It is always stressful and never easy to cope with being hurt at the job. Your future may include periods where you can’t work, medical treatments, recovery time, and other issues. Pre-existing conditions can make it even more difficult and make the claim more complicated.
In the state of Florida, having a pre-existing condition and its impact on workers compensation claims varies from case to case. There are cases where it lowers the amount you may receive and other times, in which there is no appreciable impact at all. It all has to do with whether or not the injured person’s on-the-job injury was possibly caused by a pre-existing condition, or if the pre-existing condition was made worse. In Florida, the injured employee must prove that if their injury is at all related to the pre-existing injury, then the newly sustained injury has significantly worsened the older injury.
If you are sure that the current injury has made your previous injury worse, you are certainly entitled to the compensation due you in your workers comp claim. The State of Florida also wants you to get what you need and deserve.
What Possible Impact Could My Condition Have on My Case?
Where your original injury occurred does matter in your current claim. The insurance company, and possibly your employer, can claim that your original injury was the main cause and your current injury only aggravated it. This is the main reason why your doctor is given all the documentation and an extensive history of your prior injury. The better the documentation, the better your current doctor can help provide the medical information to prove your claim.
If your past injury was made worse, you need a doctor proficient in treating workplace injuries even more. They will know what to look for and the correct medical terminology for your lawyer to present your claim.
You also may believe that unrelated pre-existing conditions may have no impact on your current compensation claim. This is a common misconception, and an unrelated injury or pre-existing condition may substantially increase your claim and settlement.
Even if your prior injury is not related to your current claim, your employer still has to pay your medical bills and lost wages for the new injury. It is highly important, however, that if your pre-existing non-related condition and your current workplace injury combined make you unable to work, your benefits could be impacted significantly. This makes prior unrelated conditions still very important to your claim, and all the details should be provided to your attorney.
What Steps Should I Take if I Have a Pre-existing Condition and Need to File a Workers Comp Claim?
There are many varied workplace accidents that necessitate a workers comp claim to be filed. You now begin to see that if a pre-existing condition is present, the complexity of the filing increases drastically. Don’t deny yourself the compensation you need and deserve.
Your workers compensation attorney will provide you with personal, thorough, and comprehensive attention to your situation that you need to navigate through this intricate claim and hopefully come to a positive conclusion for you and your family so you can go on with your life.