Are you employed in Tampa, Florida, and have suffered an unfortunate injury at your place of work? Workplace accidents are quite common across many disciplines, professions and careers. Injured workers with and without pre-existing injuries and conditions in Tampa can file for benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Employers are expected to implement specific measures and protocols to safeguard their workers at all times. If you have suffered a workplace injury, Worker Injury Rights attorneys can help you get the necessary compensation to not only cover your medical bills but also any income or earnings you may have lost due to reduced productivity or not being at work.
What Are Pre-Existing Conditions and Injuries?
When filing your claim, one of the first things your employer or their insurance company will want to find out is if you had a pre-existing condition or injury before the accident. The main reason why they do this is to look for loopholes that they can use to deny your claim. Fortunately, the law foresees this kind of scenario and proceeds to protect workers who suffer from workplace injuries even though they had pre-existing conditions or injuries.
The Workers’ Compensation legislation states that “if a pre-existing condition or injury is aggravated by a workplace accident or injury, it should be covered under workers’ compensation claims.” It’s important to note that pre-existing conditions and injuries by definition are any injuries or medical conditions (such as back or spine injuries) that you may have been diagnosed with prior to the workplace accident that were aggravated or worsened by the aforementioned injuries.
Under Florida Laws, Do Pre-Existing Conditions or Injuries Bar You from Filing for Workers’ Compensation Claims?
Unlike a normal work injury claim, a plaintiff with a pre-existing injury or condition can run into all kinds of challenges when filing their claim. However, under state laws, pre-existing conditions or injuries do NOT explicitly bar or prevent you from filing workers’ compensation claims in Tampa.
Honesty is a crucial thing when filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida. Failing to disclose your pre-existing injury or condition when filing your claim can negatively impact the success of your claim. It’s important that you disclose any and all relevant information about your medical history to your attorney because your pre-existing condition or injury may have been made worse by the new injuries even if it doesn’t seem like it.
What Obstacles Can I Face With My Workers’ Compensation Claim when Trying to Prove a Pre-Existing Condition Was Worsened?
Unfortunately, filing a work injury claim that involves a pre-existing injury or condition is no easy task. Many employers, insurance companies, and even medical practitioners appointed by your insurance company will attempt to prove that your pre-existing condition or injury is not their responsibility to cover.
For example, any of the aforementioned parties may claim that the cause of your prior injury (let’s say back pain) reappearing is because it was there in the first place, and it was by no means caused by the nature of your job, or activities or environment in your place of work.
Many times, injured employees are convinced that their pre-existing injuries and conditions are not covered simply because there were ‘pre-existing’, despite verifiable evidence that work activities or the environment in your place of work caused them to return.
However, a work injury that worsens a pre-existing injury or condition is only required to meet the following criteria:
- A new need for treatment of the pre-existing injury or condition.
- A need for additional or enhanced treatment of the pre-existing injury or condition (for instance, you may have only needed chiropractic care for your condition but now you need surgery).
- An accelerated need for treatment of your pre-existing injury or condition (for instance, you may have needed to get a hip replacement in 5 years but due to the workplace injury, it’s needed immediately).
How Can You Protect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?
There are several important steps you must take to protect your ability to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File Your Claim on Time
In most cases, the Statute of Limitations that governs the time limits for workers’ compensation claims in Florida provides for 2 years from the date of injury or diagnosis. It’s important to file your claim on time so that all relevant information regarding your case is readily available and up to date.
You also need to report your injury to your employer within 30 days.
Maintain Medical Records
Keeping comprehensive medical records is one of the only things you can do as a victim to increase the chances of your claim being compensated. Having a well-documented pre-existing condition or injury that is backed by valid medical records is one of the best ways to beat insurance companies that may seek to invalidate your claim.
At Work Injury Rights, we always advise workers in Tampa to keep their medical records and crucial documentation properly in case a judge may request this as proof that your condition was made worse by the workplace accident.
Submit to a Medical Examination
First things first, it is very important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible following an accident at your place of work regardless of how trivial the injury may seem. Now, your employer’s insurance company will typically require you to submit to a medical examination to ascertain the nature of your injury or condition.
Contact Us When Filing a Claim With Pre-Existing Injuries and Conditions in Tampa
If you or a loved one is filing a workers’ compensation claim with pre-existing injuries and conditions in Tampa, then do not hesitate to contact our attorneys at Work Injury Rights.
Our team at Work Injury Rights has represented hundreds of injured workers in Tampa and successfully helped many of them to secure workers’ compensation benefits after sustaining injuries at their places of work.
We can help you get the compensation that will cover any expensive medical treatments you may need to undergo as well as compensation for future doctor’s visits. We can also get you compensated for any physical or emotional pain you may have been subjected to following the injury. Contact us at 954-833-5226 for a free consultation today.