Injury was covered by w/c in 2009, was walking down stairs and knee gave out, reinjured old injury. W/c denied claim said just walking down stairs not work related. I was on clock and walking to dining area from kitchen to take care of my customers. I am a server. I am looking to buy a house and I am afraid I will lose my job if I get an attorney and fight w/c. If I lose my job, I will not qualify for home loan. This is not fair to be stuck inside an unjust system. Which is the lesser of two evils? Receive no pay and pay for all my Dr. Apps, therapy, meds etc. and hope they keep me and hope my knee gets better. Or fight and most likely lose my job, even though the law is against termination of employment for disability, but they will just find another way or put it in the settlement
To better clarify, the original injury happened in 09 and was covered by w/c. The knee gave out walking down stairs at work 2 weeks ago and w/c denied this claim saying it was not work related this time. It is also a different w/c company as my corporation has new owners as of a few months ago.
To give a better answer, some additional facts might be necessary. It is true that there needs to be a stronger connection between your workplace and the injury you suffered than the mere fact that you were on the clock when it occurred. However, if that connection can be shown, then there is a recent legal case - Staffmark v. Merrell - which should help you out with the pre-existing condition since the prior claim was also a workers compensation case.
Certainly this is a situation where you could benefit from a more in-depth analysis as it is hard to tell the sort of strength your case might have based upon the facts provided alone. I do handle cases in your area - feel free to give my office a call. Best of luck! Lloyd
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
I'd like to add something to what Lloyd Solter told you. In my 35 years of handling these cases, my experience is that hiring an experienced WC lawyer may actually lower your chance of getting fired since it's against the law to fire a worker for filing a WC claim so having a lawyer may pressure your rmployer to keep you working! I've seen too many people who didn't hire a lawyer based on the same fear you have and they end up losing their job and ruining their chance of making a claim by waiting too long until they 're fired to see a lawyer. If you're knee is in bad shape, I'd recommend you NOT wait and hire a lawyer.
As my colleagues have counsel, you need to sit down, face to face with your attorney and discuss this matter. On your facts, you sustained an entirely idiopathic fall. According to you, the reason for your fall was not a defective stair tread, defective carpet, or foreign material on the floor but, rather, your knee gave out to an "old injury."
On these facts, in the states where I practice, there is no way in the world that you would be entitled to benefits under the Workers' Compensation act. There may be facts that you did not present which are known to your attorney and which would lead your attorney to believe that you may prevail or at least have some chance to prevail.
Your question is also very confusing because in consecutive sentences you say that your injury was covered by Workers' Compensation and that it was denied by Workers' Compensation and all this happened four years ago.
As to job security, Florida is an at will employment state and absent a contract of employment or collective-bargaining agreement, your employer is free to terminate your employment at any time, without giving any reason. Hiring an attorney and filing a Workers' Compensation claim will lower the likelihood of your being terminated in the near term because your employer would not want for it to look as though they had fired you BECAUSE you hired an attorney or file a Workers' Compensation claim. Seek help now.
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I agree with Mr. Shapiro. While there is never a guarantee, your employer is probably less likely to fire you if you have an attorney, as it would make it much easier to argue you were fired in retaliation for securing representation. Also, to add to Mr. Solt, the case he mentioned as well as other cases, essentially hold that a prior work-related injury cannot be considered a pre-existing condition for a new work injury. As for paying for your own doctors, you need to not only think aobut the treatment you will need, but also the potential for complications from your treatment, which could result in significant medical costs. I think you should immediately contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney in your area.