Protecting the Rights
of Injury Victims

Thomas DeLattre and Glen D. Wieland

Can I get workers’ compensation for chronic pain?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Workers’ compensation benefits in Florida are meant to help employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness.

When you think of workers’ compensation benefits, you likely think of them in the context of a specific, identifiable injury or illness.

What about chronic pain?

Chronic pain is a condition that you experience for a long time after the initial recovery time for an injury or pain that occurs with a chronic condition, such as arthritis, cancer or sciatica.

Pain does not need to be continuous for it to be chronic. Some chronic pain can occur on and off or only flare up at certain times.

The effects of chronic pain can be underestimated, but it can majorly impact daily activities. Chronic pain might make it difficult or impossible for you to eat, walk, engage in hobbies or work.

Chronic pain is different from acute pain, which is pain that lasts only a few moments, usually immediately after an injury. Generally, chronic pain is categorized as pain that lasts for 12 weeks or more.

Diagnosing chronic pain

Your doctor may diagnose you with a specific type of chronic pain depending on your symptoms.

Chronic pain syndrome is a general diagnosis and refers to pain that lasts over a month and affects your ability to complete daily tasks. Anxiety, insomnia and numbness are common symptoms of chronic pain syndrome.

Complex regional pain syndrome is a more specific diagnosis that involves your nervous system sending pain signals to the brain after you experience an injury.

In some cases, you could receive workers’ compensation benefits for your chronic pain. Whether you qualify for benefits depends on your specific situation.

To receive compensation for your chronic pain, the pain must be caused by a work-related injury or occupational disease. You must prove that your chronic pain arose out of an injury that occurred at work or exposure to an illness at work.

Building a case for workers’ compensation benefits

This is often difficult to prove. Many people do not understand what chronic pain means and may assume it is something you were born with or worse, that you are making up the symptoms and diagnosis to get out of work.

Chronic pain can usually be traced back to an original injury or illness that resulted in the chronic pain. When you need to prove a case for workers’ compensation benefits based on your chronic pain, there are several steps you can take.

Keep a pain journal. Document your pain on a daily, or even hourly, basis. This is a strong form of documentation that you can use as evidence. The more detailed, the better.

Document your medical appointments. Frequent visits to medical professionals or specialists increase the legitimacy of your claim and help show that your claim of chronic pain is believable.

Expert testimony at a hearing can be extremely valuable. An expert witness can testify about your condition and how it relates to performing work-related tasks.

Workers’ compensation benefits in Florida can cover medical expenses, lost wages and other costs. You may desperately need these benefits if your chronic pain leaves you partially or totally unable to work.

If you are dealing with work-related chronic pain, you know that each day can be a struggle. When this pain becomes so bad that you cannot work, workers’ compensation benefits can be what you need as you continue to heal and recover.

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