When an individual applies for a new job, they often receive a pre-employment application and questionnaire. As a part of this application, in addition to being asked about your personal information, the often ask questions about your health and physical well-being. Employers are within their rights to ask about your physical condition prior to employing you in order to assess if you are physically able to perform the work that you are being hired for. This mostly occurs in positions that require physical labor, but can come up in applications for any type of employment.
The most common questions found on pre-employment applications or questionnaires is “Have you ever been injured?” or “Have you ever injured the following body parts,” and includes a list such as neck, knee, shoulder, etc. If you are applying to a job and falsely answer, this can be grounds for a denial of insurance coverage in a Workers’ Compensation claim. In other words, if you are ever injured at that same job where you gave wrong information, your claim may be denied in its entirety.
The Florida Supreme Court in Martin Company v. Carpenter, 132 So. 2d 400 (Fla. 1961) held that a claimant who intentionally misrepresents a pre-existing condition to his employer and who is later injured in a work-related accident will be barred from collecting compensation and medical benefits if certain elements are met. Those elements require the employer to prove (1) the claimant knew the misrepresentation was false; (2) the employer would not have hired the claimant had the employer known the truth about the claimant’s condition; and (3) there exists a causal connection between the pre-existing condition and the subsequent work-related injury.