How Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Workers Comp Claims in Florida

Few people manage to go through life avoiding all kinds of accidents and medical conditions. Many workers who suffer a workplace injury already have pre-existing conditions of injuries. For this reason, many of them do not even consult with an Orlando workers comp lawyer, because their employer told them that the condition bars them from filing a claim.

It is important to discuss this topic in detail and explain how a pre-existing injury or illness affects the workers comp claim in Florida.

Florida Law Explicitly Includes Workers with Pre-Existing Conditions in the System

The first and most important element in workers’ favor is Florida workers compensation law. The text of the law states clearly that workers who suffer an accident in the course of their job duties must receive benefits even if they had a pre-existing condition.

The legislators explain that workers comp benefits must be granted even if the workplace accident only aggravates or accelerates the worker’s already existing condition or injuries.

What Is Covered by Workers Comp Benefits

Now, it is important to remember that workers compensation will only pay for the medical care needed to recover from the aggravated symptoms of the pre-existing condition. Let us give a simple example. You suffer from osteoarthritis and one day a disc in the spine breaks or slips when you are performing your job duties.

The workers comp claim will include costs with medical care to resolve the slipped disc. It will not cover ongoing treatments for osteoarthritis.

A Key Challenge: Proving that the Workplace Accident Made Your Condition Worse

So far, things appear to be rather simple. You must be careful to report the accident and specify the condition that it made worse. But as soon as an insurance adjuster gets the details of your pre-existing condition, they will start building a different story.

Insurance companies often use pre-existing injuries to deny workers comp claims. Their most frequent arguments are:

  • You do not suffer any new injuries or symptoms, they are the same as before the accident
  • You suffered the accident because of your condition – a healthy person would not be prone to this type of accident
  • You did not suffer any accident – you made it up to get workers comp to pay your medical bills

An Orlando workers comp lawyer has heard every variation of these claims. They are hurtful because they essentially accuse you of lying. However, there are ways to fight them and win your workers comp claim.

Here are several steps a lawyer will take to win the benefits you deserve:

old injuries will be used by the workers comp adjuster against you

1. Comparing Medical Records before and after the Workplace Accident

Anyone with an ongoing medical condition or previous injuries caused by an accident has a solid track record of diagnostic tests, medical check-ups and treatments. Thus, your attorney will ask you to sign a medical release form for obtaining these records.

By putting them side by side with the diagnostic tests and doctor’s observations after your workplace accident, it will be clear that your condition or injury was indeed made worse.

2. Talking to Your Treating Physician

A skilled workers comp attorney will interview your doctor and ask for their statement regarding your condition before the workplace accident. They will want to find out:

  • The level of pain, discomfort and mobility restrictions you experienced
  • The medication you took
  • The impact of the condition or injury on your ability to perform your work duties.

Next, the lawyer will discuss your current condition with the doctor who treated you after the accident. The notes obtained from the two doctors will indicate not only an aggravation of your health condition, but also any new injuries and symptoms.

3. Hiring an Expert Witness

Last but not least, the lawyer will hire a reputable medical professional to act as an expert witness. A doctor specializing in your type of condition or injury will be able to state how likely it is to suffer a new injury. Also, by examining the diagnostic tests after your accident, they will be able to pinpoint the new injuries you suffered as a result of it.

Schedule a Free Case Review with an Experienced Orlando Workers Comp Lawyer!

Pre-existing conditions and injuries should not bar you from filing a workers comp claim. But, without an experienced Orlando workers comp lawyer by your side, you will likely see your claim denied by an unscrupulous insurance adjuster.

Do not give up your right to receive the benefits you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free case review with us at 954-324-COMP!

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