Were you recently injured in a work accident in Florida? Our experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyers at Shiner Law Group are ready to help fight for your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (855) 462-6878 to speak with an attorney for a 100% free consultation.
You may be entitled to seek compensation for medical bills, loss of income, pain, and suffering, and more. Contact our Florida law offices to discuss the legal options that might be available to you following your work accident. The next steps are very important. Let Shiner Law Group help you with your workers compensation case today.
Were You Injured In A Work Accident In Florida?
An accident at work can result in much more than pain, it can also result in uncertainty, stress, medical bills, and lost wages. Unfortunately, thousands of Florida workers suffer workplace injuries every year. If you have been injured on the job, filing a workers’ compensation claim can help you receive the financial assistance needed while you are recovering and unable to work. However, for some, this isn’t always the case.
While many injured workers should be covered under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, employers and insurance companies often deny claims, leaving employees unable to work and without the pay they are entitled to. At Shiner Law Group, our Florida workers compensation attorneys have a long track record of success fighting for our clients and helping them receive the compensation they deserve.
Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation, or “workers’ comp,” is a benefit mandated by the state to help cover lost wages and medical bills for employees suffering from workplace injuries. In the state of Florida, all employers with four or more employees are required to offer workers’ compensation to employees who are injured while on the job, regardless of fault.
According to Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, fault or negligence on an employee’s part cannot be considered when filing a claim. However, some employers try to avoid paying benefits by claiming the injury was faked, a preexisting condition caused the injury, or the injury did not occur within the scope of employment.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits
To qualify for Florida workers’ compensation benefits, you must be suffering from a physical illness or injury. According to Florida statute 440.093, nervous or mental injuries typically do not qualify. If you are suffering from a physical illness or injury experienced on the job, the severity of the illness or injury will determine the type of benefits and the amount you will receive.
Data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests cuts, sprains, and fractures are the most common workplace-related injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries related to repetitive strain and overuse are also very common.
In most cases, a set compensation schedule is used to pay medical and disability workers’ compensation benefits. According to this schedule, your benefit checks should equal 66 percent of your average weekly pay. However, they cannot exceed the maximum benefit amount. Nonetheless, if you experience a workplace injury, you may qualify for other types of benefits, including:
- Social Security Disability Benefits – For workers who are fully impaired with a permanent disability expected to last longer than one year.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits – For workers who are partially impaired with a permanent injury but can still perform some type of work
- Permanent Total Benefits – For workers unable to work at all due to a severe injury or illness
- Supplemental Benefits – Paid by employers for workers with severe injuries
- Death Benefits – Paid to workers’ families to help support dependents and pay for funeral expenses
Filing for workers’ compensation and any type of benefit is often a complicated process riddled with red tape. An experienced, well-qualified Florida workers compensation lawyer can help you navigate the red tape and streamline the process, regardless of the benefits you are seeking.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Florida
Under Florida law, you have 30 days from the date of your injury to report it to your employer, who then has one week to report it to their insurance provider. Soon afterwards, the insurance adjuster will give you a call to request more information and provide you with details on what to do next, which will include getting an independent medical examination, or IME.
An IME is a critical component of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Since the medical evaluation can have a significant impact on the benefits awarded, it is important to receive an IME as soon as possible.
The physician giving the IME must be an approved medical provider authorized to give the exam by your employer’s insurance company. The purpose of the IME is to determine the extent of the injury or illness and whether or not it was a work-related injury.
Medical Costs Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is designed to cover all hospital, medical, and dental costs associated with your workplace injury. Any medical supplies and prescriptions ordered by your doctor to help you heal are included as well. To keep receiving your benefits, you must make all of your scheduled appointments. Since you may also receive compensation for gas mileage, it is important to keep track of each appointment and save all of your medical receipts.
Florida Workers’ Compensation is No-Fault Insurance
Florida is a no-fault state, which means if you were injured at work in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, or anywhere else, it does not matter if you were injured due to carelessness on your part. Rather than who was at fault, the Florida workers’ compensation program focuses on where the injury took place. If you suffered an accident while performing your duties at work, workers’ compensation will pay regardless of who was at fault. That said, it does matter if your employer or another party is responsible for your injury.
If Your Employer is Responsible:
While blame does not play a factor in receiving workers’ compensation benefits in most cases, a good workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help you sue your employer if they are grossly negligent or break the law. An experienced Florida workers’ comp attorney understands when employer protections end and may be able to pursue damages well beyond your workers’ compensation benefits.
If a Third Party is Responsible:
Blame also matters if a third party is involved in your injury or illness. For example, if you fell and broke your wrist due to a manufacturing defect of the ladder you were using, you may be able to sue for damages. In a situation like this, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you identify the cause of your accident and pursue damages above and beyond your workers’ compensation benefits.
Most Common Workplace Injuries
Florida workers’ compensation and injury attorneys can help you receive the benefits and damages afforded to you under Florida law for injuries caused by workplace accidents, third party neglect, employer negligence, and more.
These work-related injuries can range from minor sprains and strains causing you to miss work and lose pay to much more serious injuries requiring surgery or hospitalization. Some examples of common on-the-job injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Slips and falls
- Arm, shoulder, elbow, or wrist injuries
- Eye injuries
- Electrical shocks
- Hearing loss
- Other injuries
- Wrongful death
How Do Workplace Injuries Occur?
Workplace injuries do not just happen on construction sites. They can take place in an office, at a restaurant, on the factory floor, or any other work environment where you may earn your living.
Injuries at work are also not just caused by accidents or carelessness. In fact, they may be caused by:
- Unsafe working conditions
- Defective products or parts
- Improper training
- Inadequate supervision
- Failure to follow best practices or proper procedures
- An accident while operating a company vehicle or equipment
- A negligent subcontractor
This is not an inclusive list. A workplace injury can occur for a variety of reasons, and a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney can help you receive the benefits you deserve regardless of the reason for the accident or injury.
What You Should Do If You Are Injured at Work
If you are injured at work, consulting a workers’ compensation attorney is always a smart idea. However, it should not be the first thing you do. If emergency treatment is not needed, you should first immediately report your injury and the incident to your supervisor. While you are given up to 30 days to report your injury under Florida workers’ compensation laws, reporting it right away will allow you to:
- Gather witnesses to confirm your injury took place at work if necessary
- Receive a list of in-network doctors approved by your employer’s insurance company
- Get the reporting process over with and expedite your claim
However, as stated above, if your injury requires emergency medical care, receiving proper treatment should take precedent over reporting the injury. Your health comes first, so you should focus on getting to the hospital as soon as possible.
How to Deal With Your Employer’s Insurance Company
When filing a workers’ compensation claim, you will likely receive a call from your employer’s insurance adjuster within 24 hours of reporting the injury. If you miss the call or do not receive one within 48 hours, it is important for you to reach out and call them. An insurance representative will be able to explain your benefits, rights, and responsibilities.
If you do not receive a workers’ compensation packet from your employer, make sure to ask the adjuster about it. This packet will explain the entire claims process and how workers’ compensation benefits are calculated. It is critical to understand everything included in the packet. If you do not receive a packet or still have questions after reading it, you should consult a workers’ compensation attorney.
Visiting the Doctor
As discussed above, visiting with an approved in-network doctor is an important part of the workers’ compensation claim process. Decisions regarding your eligibility for workers’ compensation and the amount of your benefit are based on the doctor’s evaluation and what he or she includes in your medical record.
When visiting the doctor, you should be honest about your medical history and how the injury occurred. Make sure to clearly explain the events that caused your injury and that it took place at work. If your medical record does not state that the injury occurred at work, you may be denied benefits.
It is also important to clearly understand your injury and the recovery process. Is the injury permanent? How will it affect your life? When will you be able to return to work? These are important questions that need answered.
How a Workplace Injury Lawyer Can Help
Workers’ compensation provides immediate assistance to employees who suffer an injury in the workplace and are no longer able to work. While some cases are cut and dry and some employers and insurance companies are easy to work with, others can be more difficult to deal with.
To help you receive the benefits you deserve, the workers’ compensation lawyers at Shiner Law Group may be able to help you:
- File for disability benefits
- Recuperate lost wages
- File a negligence claim
- Appeal a denied claim
- Obtain a doctor or specific medical test
Appealing a Denied Florida Workers’ Compensation Claim
If your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim, you may contest the denial through the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims. However, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is vital in achieving a successful appeal.
An experienced lawyer can strengthen your claim by submitting expert testimony, medical record evidence, and other evidence key to your case. They can also help negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement in arbitration, mediation, and other alternative dispute resolution settings.
Most workers’ compensation cases settle long before they go to court, but at Shiner Law Group, our experienced injury attorneys are prepared to diligently represent you to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve and are entitled to under Florida law.
Contact an Expert Florida Workers Compensation Attorney
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is often a simple matter. However, due to several factors, some cases can be extremely complicated.
If you or someone you know has suffered a workplace injury and been denied workers’ compensation benefits anywhere in the state of Florida, contact the expert Florida workers’ compensation attorneys at Shiner Law Group.
With extensive knowledge and experience in handling workers’ compensation and workplace injury cases, we are here to provide you with the highest quality representation and fight for the benefits you are not only entitled to but deserve.
Contact us for a 100% free initial consultation today.