Pre-existing Conditions: WHAT WORKERS COMPENSATION COVERS
Are pre-existing conditions covered by workers comp benefits in Florida? The direct answer is yes, they are. However, it is more complicated than most work-related injuries.
Pre-existing conditions are often used by employers and insurance companies to deny workers compensation claims. But what many don’t know is that injured employees with pre-existing conditions can still apply for workers comp benefits. That’s why, if you have a pre-existing condition, it’s best to consult an experienced workers compensation lawyer like Victor Malca. He has helped thousands of injured workers in Florida claim the benefits they rightfully deserve. He can help you too. Call us now for a free consultation.
What Are Considered Pre-existing Conditions?
In medical terms, a pre-existing condition is an illness or impairment that you have before your current injury which caused it or have made it worse.
For example, you were diagnosed with diabetes. Then you hurt yourself at work which caused a deep wound and you developed gangrene. Your pre-existing condition is diabetes.
According to Florida law, if your employer knows of your pre-existing condition before the accident, you can claim for reimbursement. Some of these pre-existing conditions are:
- cardiac disease
- amputation of foot, leg, arm or hand
- cerebral palsy
- multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- total loss of sight of one or both eyes
- muscular dystrophy
- ruptured cruciate ligament
- chronic osteomyelitis
- herniated intervertebral disk
- total deafness
- previous back injuries which resulted in a disability of 120 days or more
- intellectual disability
- any permanent physical condition that impairs at least 20% of the employee’s body
- any permanent physical impairment which resulted from a previous accident in the same company or its affiliates
The New Law for Pre-existing Conditions
In 2003, the state of Florida made changes to its workers compensation law. Under this new law, pre-existing conditions will be considered in the determination of workers compensation benefits.
One major change is that a pre-existing condition must now be the “major contributing cause” to an injury. This means that it has contributed to at least 51% of the disability or treatment needed. It expressly states that a pre-existing condition is not a major contributing cause if it just makes the employee more susceptible to injury.
If its an industrial injury, diagnosis or medical services or treatment prior to the claimed condition is required. This requirement doesn’t apply for occupational diseases though. And employers are exploiting this difference to avoid paying for workers compensation benefits.
With the new law, however, the “burden of proof” is transferred from the employee to the employer. This means that your employer or insurance company has to prove that your pre-existing condition is a major contributing cause to your current injury. Remember that they’ve got a legal team fighting for their interest. That’s why you need an experienced and expert workers compensation attorney backing up your claim to level the playing field.
What Workers Comp Benefits Can You Get?
Once you’ve proven that your pre-existing condition is not the main cause of your current injury, you are eligible for the following workers comp benefits:
- Temporary compensation and medical benefits for aggravation or acceleration of preexisting condition or circumstantial causation
- Permanent Impairment
- Permanent Total Disability
How We Can Help
We are one of the most trusted workers compensation lawyers in the state of Florida. This reputation is earned from the thousands of injured workers we’ve helped to successfully claim the compensation they rightfully deserve.
From gathering necessary supporting documents, negotiating your compensation amount to presenting your case in court, we got you covered. Our satisfied clients can attest that we never stop until the case is won. Message or call us now for a free legal consultation.