How Do Underlying Conditions Affect Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Many workers who are injured on the job but have pre-existing or underlying conditions will have their workers’ compensation claim denied due to the underlying condition. Our dedicated Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation attorneys want to emphasize that you can still be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for an on-the-job injury even if you have an underlying condition. However, the claims process can be more complex, and it is essential to have an experienced advocate on your side helping you through it.
Our South Florida workers’ compensation attorneys will say more about how underlying conditions can affect workers’ compensation benefits, and we can speak with you today about your claim.
Your Job Injury Must Be More Than 50 Percent Responsible
According to Florida workers’ compensation law, injuries connected to underlying or pre-existing conditions may be compensable, but the underlying or pre-existing condition cannot be 50 percent or more responsible for the employee’s current injury. To put that another way, the actual job accident or injury—even if it is aggravated by a pre-existing condition or worsened because of a pre-existing condition—must be more than 50 percent responsible for the employee’s injury. To be clear, the workplace accident or conditions must be more than 50 percent responsible for the employee’s injury.
The statute emphasizes that the workplace accident or exposure must remain “the major contributing cause of the disability or need for treatment” even if the employee has an underlying or pre-existing condition that is contributing to the current disability.
Examples of Underlying or Pre-Existing Conditions
What are some examples of underlying or pre-existing conditions that may affect a workers’ compensation claim? While each employee’s case will depending upon his or her particular medical history in relation to present job duties, examples of commonly cited underlying or pre-existing conditions that can play a role in affecting an employee’s eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits including but are not limited to the following:
- Heart disease, including high blood pressure;
- Back injuries;
- Carpal tunnel syndrome;
- Arthritis; and
- Mental health conditions.
Proving Your Job Was the Major Contributing Cause of the Disability
If you do have an underlying condition but got hurt at work, you will need to gather medical evidence to show that your job duties—which resulted in an accidental injury or an exposure that resulted in an occupational disease—were the major contributing cause of your current disability. This evidence will come from your medical records based on medical assessments and treatments from a doctor. Given the way in which a worker must take additional steps to prove a claim when that worker has an underlying condition, it is particularly critical to see a doctor after a workplace injury to ensure that everything is properly documented.
Seek Advice from Our Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Attorney
When you have an underlying or pre-existing condition, it is more important than ever to have an experienced lawyer on your side throughout your workers’ compensation claim. Our experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyers can begin working with you today on your case. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. to learn more about our services.