Can a Pre-Existing Injury Hurt Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Protecting your workers’ compensation claim when you have a preexisting injury can be difficult, but not impossible.
Having a pre-existing injury or pre-existing medical condition is one of the most common reasons insurance companies deny workers compensation claims. This is especially true in cases where the pre-existing medical condition and the injury sustained on the job are similarly situated, or causally related. For example, if you have a bad back, and you hurt your back again at work while lifting something heavy, the insurance company could try to deny your claim based on the fact that you already had a back injury. You may be thinking, “But what if my back is worse off than it was before? I may have had back problems in the past, but now things are much worse!” This is a valid concern and having that pre-existing injury does not immediately prevent you from recovering under workers’ compensation. It does, however, complicate things.
I have a pre-existing injury. What do I need to do to recover workers compensation?
Florida law requires that a workers’ compensation claim is paid to someone with a pre-existing medical condition if the workplace injury aggravates or accelerates the pre-existing medical condition. This means that even if your workplace injury and your pre-existing injury are similarly situated, you still have a right to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
The insurance company will put up a fight. They are looking for reasons not to pay your claim and any pre-existing injury or medical condition can give them an easy way out. In Florida, the current workplace injury must be at least 51% of the reason for the disability or need for medical treatment. In order to protect your claim, consider the following:
- Promptly file your claim: If you have been injured at work, Florida law gives you 30 days to report your workers compensation claim. If you fail to report your injury in a timely manner, your claim may be denied.
- Maintain all medical records: Be prepared and compile your past medical records as well as all medical records associated with your workplace injury. This is the evidence you will need to prove your claim.
- Comply with a medical examination request: The insurance company will likely request an Independent Medical Examination (IME) where a doctor will evaluate your injuries and review your medical history. You are required to comply with the IME if you want your claim to be paid.
- Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you navigate the process: Workers compensation claims often result in a long and complicated process. If you have a pre-existing injury, this process is further complicated. Don’t be alone on this journey.
After you report your injury, your employer then has 7 days to report the injury to their insurance company. The insurance company will begin their investigation immediately. They may begin contacting you regarding the incident that resulted in the injury. The insurance company may contact you regarding your injuries. They may ask for your medical records. Contact experienced attorney Joe Rooth as soon as possible to get the help you need to fight the insurance company and know your rights.
Insurance companies will look for any reason not to pay out on a claim. Don’t let your pre-existing injury prevent you from recovering what you are entitled to. Attorney Joe Rooth of the Rooth Law Firm will fight for your right to compensation for workplace injuries. Attorney Rooth has more than 25 years of experience, is diligent and focused and a recognized specialist in workers’ compensation law. In addition, attorney Rooth delivers a personal, hands-on approach to every client. If you have been injured on the job, contact the Rooth Law Firm at (727) 849-3400 or online today.