Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Workers’ Compensation Claims?

When you are injured on the job, it can be a nightmare, especially if the workplace accident exacerbates an existing injury. Insurance companies will zero in on these pre-existing injuries when they look for reasons to deny your claim. You should be aware of your legal rights and obligations when you are hurt on the job, and a pre-existing condition can make your workers’ comp claim more complex. Tom Ueberschaer can offer a free consultation to help you pursue your case.

What Is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition is a medical injury or illness you had before other relevant injuries or accidents occurred — in this case, an injury you had before your work-related accident. It does not matter whether the condition developed before you started your current job or during your current employment tenure so long as it happened before the current workers’ compensation-related accident.

How Pre-Existing Conditions Work in Florida Workers’ Comp

Florida, like most other states, allows workers’ comp benefits to be disbursed if your work-related injury worsens your pre-existing condition, leading to another medical condition. It does not matter if your condition is an illness, injury or other health-related condition. If your current work accident makes it worse, Florida allows for workers’ compensation.

However, your specific situation and when the pre-existing condition occurred may significantly impact your workers’ compensation claim. Suppose you had a pre-existing diagnosed condition unrelated to work, for example, and your workplace accident made it worse. In that case, you can file for additional benefits to manage the injuries from the work accident and the aggravated pre-existing condition. On the other hand, if you had an injury from a previous workplace, and your new work injury is a reinjury of the same thing, your total compensation can be reduced.

What Can I Do To Ensure I Get Workers’ Comp Benefits?

The first thing to do is follow the proper steps to report your injury to your supervisor, see the doctor they provide and follow all the doctor’s instructions regarding recovery. Not following your doctor’s instructions may put you in a situation where your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier can deny your original claim or severely reduce the benefits they are willing to offer.

The insurance may say your injuries are not as severe as you claim, that you are not taking treatment seriously, or that your failure to follow the doctor’s instructions worsened your condition; thus, the injury is your fault. Some insurance providers may look for reasons to deny claims because they do not make a profit from paying out large sums. In other cases, the defense team may simply be trying to stop abuses of claims by those faking injuries. Either way, it is important to work with your attorney to prove your injuries are genuine and you deserve benefits.

A new law (HB 837/SB 236) has reduced the time limit for filing complaints in general negligence cases from four years to two years. Don’t wait to file your claim.

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What Can I Do if My Claim Was Denied?

Some people who suffer a work-related injury find their claim denied the first time, even when their injury is entirely legitimate. Understand that regardless of whether your pre-existing condition is related to your workers’ compensation claim or not, the insurance company may issue a denial or tender a lowball offer. In either case, it is not the end of the road. You always have the right to file an appeal.

Filing an appeal for workers’ compensation claims, particularly those involving pre-existing injuries, can be tricky and complex, and it is vital to have someone in your corner who knows the law and knows how to guide you through. Tom Ueberschaer can help you avoid critical mistakes, help you to complete and file paperwork correctly and on time, take over communications with the insurance company and, best of all, won’t charge legal fees unless he wins your case.

Don’t Face Your Case Alone

If you are facing a workers’ comp claim denial, do not go with a faceless corporate law firm. Call Tom. He will be right by your side as a trusted friend, counselor and advocate the whole way. If you have a pre-existing condition that caused your workers’ compensation claim to be denied, call Tom at 850-434-8778 or use our online contact form for a free consultation, legal advice, and representation today.