When dealing with a workers’ compensation claim, pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton such as a chronic illness or a partial disability could greatly complicate your claim. A condition that pre-dates will likely affect how the new injuries are perceived, and it may have an impact on the benefits you will ultimately receive. If the pre-existing condition is medically related to your workers’ compensation claim, then the impact will be a lot more significant.
It’s often difficult to demonstrate how a pre-existing condition is worsened by an injury or illness suffered in the workplace. In some cases, the pre-existing condition simply has no effect on the ability of the worker to perform their duties, but the employer will contend that the pre-existing condition is the problem, rather than the new illness or injury, and seek to get the claim denied.
If your pre-existing medical condition has worsened due to a workplace accident or working conditions that makes it worse, you should work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you seek the justice and benefits you deserve.
The lawyers at Work Injury Rights in Boca Raton, Florida have decades of experience with workers’ compensation claims, including ones involving pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton. We can work with you to help you receive the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 954-833-5226 or submit this online form to schedule a free consultation with our lawyers.
What Are Pre-Existing Conditions and Injuries?
In workers’ compensation law, pre-existing conditions are defined as any previous medical conditions or injuries that were present prior to the work-related injury in question, or the reasons for filing a claim. The aggravation of a pre-existing condition because of a work-related injury is usually covered under workers’ compensation.
Pre-existing conditions could range from a prior work injury to a chronic illness. An example is an employee who previously injured their back while at work, and subsequently injured it again trying to lift a heavy instrument.
Examples of common pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton include:
- Previous shoulder and back injuries
- Previous knee injuries
- Degenerative disk diseases
- Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis
Under Florida laws, Do Pre-Existing Conditions or Injuries Bar You from Filing for Workers’ Compensation Claims?
Pre-existing conditions and injuries in Boca Raton don’t bar anyone from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation must actually be paid whenever your pre-existing condition is worsened or accelerated by an injury or illness suffered in the workplace.
However, this doesn’t mean that it will be easy to pursue those benefits. Many employers and insurance companies will look for ways to avoid paying the claims, and one of the common tactics is arguing that the injury is a pre-existing condition.
In this case, the rule of Major Contributing Cause (MCC) applies. In order for your workers’ compensation claim to be successful, you need to show that your injury or illness is at least 51% responsible for your current need for healthcare or disability benefits.
For example, assume you have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, and months later, you’re hurt on your back in a workplace accident, which prompts you to seek treatment and it results in taking time off work. During your claim, you will need to demonstrate that the workplace injury was at least 50% responsible for your reason to seek treatment and not your pre-existing disc disease. Schedule a free case review of your workers’ compensation claim and your pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton today.
What Obstacles May I Face with My Workers’ Comp Claim When Trying to Prove a Pre-Existing Condition Was Worsened?
In Florida, the formal process of filing a claim usually involves letting your employer know about it, and having their insurance company process your claim and pay the benefits. However, in many cases, the process is not this easy – the insurance company may challenge the claim, in which case you may need to go to a government agency to settle it. Either way, the success of your claim will ultimately depend on the nature of the injury and of the pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton.
For instance, if you’ve had a history of right foot arthritis and you suffer a workplace injury on your right foot, then your benefits will be more impacted compared to a person who previously had hip surgery on their right knee and healed, only to suffer a workplace injury on the same knee later.
The reason behind it is that the employer is responsible for only worsening the physical condition brought about by an injury in the workplace. They might be able to gather evidence to demonstrate that the permanent impairment you suffered was as a result of your pre-existing condition, and not the workplace injury.
This is why you want to work with an experienced and well-trained workers’ comp lawyer to help prepare your case adequately and give your claim the best chance of success when filing for a workers’ comp claim with pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton.
How Can You Protect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim When You Have Pre-Existing Injuries and Conditions in Boca Raton?
Since the insurance company is likely to fight a claim that involves pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton, it’s important to take the right steps to protect your claim. At Work Injury Rights, we recommend the following:
File Your Injury Report On Time
You are allowed 30 days from the time of the accident to report your injury to your employer.
Maintain Medical Records
If you have pre-existing conditions, you should be prepared to collect medical records and other evidence for both the condition and the workplace injury. This will be important when demonstrating how the condition worsened.
Submit to a Medical Examination
The insurance carrier of your employer may request for an Independent Medical Examination, where an appointed physician will assess your medical history, your work-related injury, as well as your pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton. You must comply with this.
Contact a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Filing any form of workers’ compensation claim can be a long and daunting process, but claims that involve pre-existing conditions will generally be a lot more complex. Working with a lawyer will ensure higher chances of success when filing a claim with pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton.
Call a Boca Raton Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Workers’ Comp Claim and Pre-Existing Injuries and Conditions in Boca Raton
If you were injured in the workplace while having pre-existing injuries and conditions in Boca Raton, you may face an uphill battle against the insurance company. While Florida law protects your rights and entitles you to benefits in case the workplace injury worsens your condition, proving this is often difficult, and the insurance company will likely challenge it.