When you are hired or sometimes as part of the application process, you will be asked to fill-out a medical questionnaire. It generally contains boxes you check-off yes or no. Read it! Do not simply check off “no” for each question.
Louisiana has a Second Injury Fund. That is a fund that reimburses insurance companies when an Employer hires a worker who was previously injured and he or she then re-injures himself (same body part). This is to promote the hiring of people with prior injuries. But, if you do not tell your Employer about the prior injury, then their insurance company cannot get reimbursed. That is why if you fail to note a prior injury on the questionnaire and you re-injure yourself (same body-part) you are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for that re-injury. The questionnaire will generally tell you that in large black letters at the top, although most people do not read it.
When an Employer reports an injury to its insurance company, one of the first things the Adjuster will look for is the Post-Hire Medical Questionnaire. Pay attention to the questionnaire. If you are afraid that the Employer will not hire you if you tell them about a prior injury, that is illegal on their part. That is why is it called a “Post-Hire” Medical Questionnaire. It should only be required after you are hired (that way the questionnaire does not affect the Employer’s hiring decision), although it is often required as part of the application process.
If you failed to note a prior injury, get hired and then have a work-accident, you need to consider is it the same body part. If you previously broke your arm and did not list it on the questionnaire, then hurt your back after being hired, that is not the same body-part and you should still be entitled to benefits. The reason is Second Injury Fund only applies if the new and prior injuries combined to create a worse condition. So, a prior arm injury will not “combine” with the new back injury to make the back injury worse. In that case, Second Injury Fund does not apply.
Consult with an experience workers’ compensation lawyer if you are denied benefits due to a Post-Hire Medical Questionnaire.