Injuries to hips and legs are common work related injuries. When an employee falls, they often sustain an injury to their hip. When an employee has an object fall onto their legs, or their leg is twisted in an unnatural, injurious, manner; they sustain an injury to one or more of their legs. The duty to report the injury timely is no different than with any other job related injury. In most cases, an employee has 30 days from the date of the injury to report the accident to their manager or supervisor. However, the sooner you report the incident, the better.
With any work relayed injury, regardless of whether it is to your hip or legs, one of the issues you are likely to face addresses what is known as the major contributing cause. In worker’s comp cases, Florida Statute Section 440.09(1) defines major contributing cause in explaining coverage. The statutory section is noted below, with portions underlined and in bold. The underlined portions will be discussed further in this article to provide you with a better understanding of their meaning. Fla. Stat. §440.09(1) Coverage: The employer must pay compensation or furnish benefits required by this chapter if the employee suffers an accidental compensable injury or death arising out of work performed in the course and the scope of employment. The injury, its occupational cause, and any resulting manifestations or disability must be established to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, based on objective relevant medical findings, and the accidental compensable injury must be the major contributing cause of any resulting injuries.
For purposes of this section, “major contributing cause” means the cause which is more than 50 percent responsible for the injury as compared to all other causes combined for which treatment or benefits are sought. In cases involving occupational disease or repetitive exposure, both causation and sufficient exposure to support causation must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. Pain or other subjective complaints alone, in the absence of objective relevant medical findings, are not compensable. For purposes of this section, “objective relevant medical findings” are those objective findings that correlate to the subjective complaints of the injured employee and are confirmed by physical examination findings or diagnostic testing. Establishment of the causal relationship between a compensable accident and injuries for conditions that are not readily observable must be by medical evidence only, as demonstrated by physical examination findings or diagnostic testing. Major contributing cause must be demonstrated by medical evidence only.
The wording, “based on objective relevant medical findings,” means that your job injury must be established by diagnostic testing such as MRI’s or CT scans. Your work related injury cannot be proven to exist simply by your pain complaints alone. In defining “major contributing cause,” reference to the “cause which is more than 50% responsible for the injury as compared to all other causes combined for which treatment or benefits are sought,” is made. So, if you are seeking medical and lost wage benefits through Florida’s Worker’s Compensation system, then you will need to prove that the work injury is the main cause for your need for treatment compared to all other causes combined. What that means is that if you have a pre-existing hip injury, or any other work injury, and the work accident makes your injury worse, unless you can prove that the work injury is the major contributing cause of your need for treatment, you may not be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. However, there is also a way to argue that the work injury is the major contributing cause of the aggravation of the pre-existing condition. Making this argument involves a few more facts that we can discuss with you during a free consultation. You can reach us by phone at 727-451-6900, or you can find us online at by clicking here.
The sentence, “Pain or other subjective complaints alone, in the absence of objective relevant medical findings, are not compensable,” means that your injury must be proven by more than your complaints about the level of discomfort you’re experiencing. “Objective relevant medical findings,” are things like MRI’s, Nerve Conduction Studies, and CT Scans. Basically, objective findings are test results that are objective in their results; meaning they show and injury or they don’t. The objective findings exist regardless of your pain complaints and what your thoughts (subjective) about the cause of your work injury may be.
“Major contributing cause must be demonstrated by medical evidence only,” means that you need medical evidence in the form of such diagnostic testing as mentioned above to prove you suffered a compensable work related injury.
We have extensive experience in litigating the major contributing cause issue in work comp cases. Don’t let the statutory language prevent you from making a claim for benefits just because it happens to be worded in such a way that it may seem like obtaining worker’s compensation benefits would be an uphill battle. We have successfully handed numerous cases in which someone injured on the job suffered an injury that worsened a pre-existing, non – work related, condition. Discuss your circumstances with us in a free consultation before making any conclusive, final decisions. You can reach us by phone at 727-451-6900, or you can find us online at dolmanlaw.com. Furthermore, we recently opened a New Port Richey office to make it easier for those located in Pasco, Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties to visit us. The address is 5435 Main Street, New Port Richey, FL 34652.