When Your Injury Is A Mystery: On-The-Job Injuries With Unknown Causes
Most of the time, an injury sustained at work is easy to trace back to its cause; for example, a fall can often lead to scrapes, broken bones, and twisted tendons or ligaments. However, there are occasions where an employee will be genuinely injured, but the reason may be difficult to determine. If this is you, it can feel too overwhelming to try and convince your employer that you are injured, but in reality you still have the right to seek workers’ compensation any time you are injured on the job. An experienced attorney may be able to help you get it.
Major Contributing Cause Is Key
In a standard workers’ compensation case where the cause of the injury is easily visible, the injured worker would file the appropriate paperwork and then undergo a medical evaluation to determine the extent of the harm and the proper treatment. If they have a preexisting condition that might have contributed to the injury, they must show that the on-the-job accident was the “major contributing cause” of the harm they suffered. If they cannot, the employer will assume that their preexisting condition caused their pain, and withhold benefits.
In cases with idiopathic injuries (injuries that where the cause is “peculiar” or unknown), the process works similarly, but in a more definite manner. If no preexisting condition exists, the injury will be compensable like any other work injury – but if a person has a known preexisting condition, and they experience an idiopathic injury, the preexisting condition will automatically be assumed to have caused the injury, unless the employee can establish that their employment itself “created the hazard of the risk.” The burden of proof is higher than on those where the injury’s cause is immediately apparent.
Stand Up For Your Rights
It is worth noting that where no preexisting condition exists, the injured employee does not have to prove anything about how the injury occurred or the nature of the harm itself – only that they are unable to perform their job duties. If an employer tries to require that the employee establish their injury, the employee may have cause to file a claim for the workers’ compensation that they are owed – an employer must comply with the terms of the workers’ compensation system, after all, or potentially face either a Petition for Benefits before the Judges of Compensation Claims.
In extreme situations, an employer may try to terminate you or otherwise subject you to negative employment action because you filed for workers’ compensation when they may not believe you deserve it. If you suspect retaliation, you have the right to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). It may seem intimidating, but you deserve what you are rightfully owed and there are mechanisms in place to help you get it.
Call A Winter Park Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Any injury on the job can be frustrating or even a bit frightening – but one without a cause can be doubly so, not least of all because your employer may not believe you have been injured. If you have sustained an idiopathic injury, you may need a Winter Park workers’ compensation lawyer to try and assist you. The Hornsby Law Group has experience with workers’ compensation cases, and are happy to try and see yours to a fair outcome. Call our offices today for a free consultation.