Injured Again: Workers’ Compensation and Subsequent Injury
What happens if you suffered an earlier injury that is worsened by a new workplace injury?
Despite the intent of worker’s compensation to provide speedy medical and wage replacement benefits to injured workers, too often, claims and treatment are denied. In the event of a subsequent injury, Florida workers’ compensation laws can be extremely limiting.
By itself, the presence of a pre-existing condition does not mean you will be denied a claim for a current workplace injury. It does mean the insurance carrier for your employer may attempt to prove the prior injury is a greater contributing factor to your current physical disability than the recent accident or re-injury.
In Florida, your current injury must be considered the major contributing cause (MCC) for your present physical difficulties. Legally, this means you must prove the current injury is more than 50 percent responsible for your disability or condition as proven by strict medical evidence. For many older adults, proving the MCC of their injury can be difficult.
If the current workplace injury caused re-injury of an older, documented workplace injury, the burden of proving the MCC may be lessened. A pre-existing condition that resulted from an earlier, compensated workplace injury should not be held against you in making a determination of workers’ compensation benefits.
The language of Florida workers’ compensation law is not written to assist the workers it is charged to support. If injured or re-injured on the job, contact my office for legal advice.