When you are injured on the job, Florida’s workers’ compensation insurance system covers your claim. The system is designed to protect employers from being sued for workplace accidents while providing injured workers the medical care and other benefits they need while they are healing from a workplace injury. The workers’ comp claim process should be straightforward; however, many times it is not. Insurance companies search for ways to deny claims. One defense companies like to use is the pre-existing condition defense. If the insurance company can point to a pre-existing condition or a prior injury, it can claim that your current injury is the result of your prior injury, not the accident at work. If successful, the company could deny your workers’ comp benefits.
What Does the Law Say?
When an injured worker has a pre-existing condition, the courts will look for the major contributing cause (MCC) to determine if the injury is covered by Florida’s workers’ comp benefits. To be eligible for benefits, you must prove that the work accident is more than 50 percent responsible for your current condition. In other words, the pre-existing condition cannot be the major contributing cause of your current medical condition or injury – the MCC must be the work-related injury. Furthermore, the law also allows for workers’ comp benefits if the work accident accelerates or aggravates a pre-existing medical condition. Therefore, even if your pre-existing condition and your current injury are similar, you cannot be summarily denied benefits. The insurance company would need to prove that your pre-existing condition is more than one-half of the cause for your need for medical treatment or your disability.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Right to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Report your accident to your employer immediately and seek medical attention. Keep copies of all current medical records and begin gathering information and documentation related to your pre-existing condition. Comply with a request for an Independent Medical Examination (IME) if your employer or its insurance company requires one. You must comply with an IME to qualify for benefits. Because fighting a pre-existing defense can be complicated, contact an experienced Florida workers’ comp attorney. The insurance company will aggressively fight to deny your claim. Hiring an attorney who has experience handling workers’ comp claims is your best step in fighting for your right to what you deserve. Don’t allow your employer or its insurance carrier deny you the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to receive because you have a prior injury or pre-existing condition.
Call a Boca Raton Workers’ Comp Attorney
The Broderick Law Firm, P.L. can help you obtain the benefits you deserve. Contact our office today 1-800-333-3903 to speak with an attorney. We represent individuals in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale & Miami, FL. Our workers’ compensation attorneys fight for the rights of injured workers in Florida each day. We will help you gather the evidence you need to fight the insurance company’s pre-existing condition defense.