ORLANDO WORKERS COMP LAWYERS
ORLANDO WORKERS COMP LAWYERS
Were You Injured at Work and Need a Lawyer in Orlando?
If an employee accidentally gets injured at work or develops an occupational illness, then there are two options that they can choose from: either sue the employer or file a workers’ compensation claim. If they decide to file a claim, then they shall receive certain benefits as per law, such as medical coverage and wage replacement for missed days at work. But this is not as easy as it seems.
To get benefits and the right amount of compensation, they need to work with an experienced Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer.
It’s important to understand that the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be quite complicated, especially because there are numerous parties involved such as the affected employee, the employer, a doctor, insurance company and the state’s board of workers’ compensation. Apart from that, the compensation claim must be filed before the deadline. Failure to do so can make you lose your rights completely.
Simply stated, a workers’ compensation claim offers financial protection to employers and the necessary coverage to help employees recover from injuries they experience at work.
When to File a Claim for Workers’ Compensation in Orlando
hen filing a workers’ compensation claim, specific facts and statements should be true, such as:
- The injured worker is working for a small business and not an independent contractor
- The employer has workers’ compensation insurance
- The worker was hurt or injured while performing job-related duties
Remember that if the injuries fall within the scope of the employment, then they shall be covered by workers’ compensation and not otherwise. This includes:
- Occupational accidents
- Trauma injuries or illness
- Diseases caused by exposure to work activities or chemicals used on the job.
The workers’ compensation claim doesn’t cover for injuries like:
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries that are caused by horseplay
- Injuries incurred under the influence of drug and alcohol, while committing crime or violating the policies of the company.
When filing a worker’s compensation claim, time is of essence. You should hire a seasoned Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer immediately after getting injured and file a claim right away.
Does My Employer Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance and What Does it Cover?
Almost all business owners operating in the State of Florida, including Orlando are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. To be specific, Florida workers’ compensation law specifies that the employer must carry insurance if they are in a non-construction industry or have more than 4 employees.
It is also important to know that workers’ compensation is always paid by employers to a state fund and is administered on a state-to-state basis. This means that workers’ compensation funds are handled by the state instead of the federal government.
In Florida, employers must have workers’ compensation coverage either by purchasing a private workers’ compensation policy from an insurance company or by receiving certification from the state to self-insure. Moreover, the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) oversees all workers’ compensation claims in the state.
The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation Claim and Personal Injury Claim
Although injuries can occur at work due to many reasons, you must know the difference between a personal injury and workers’ compensation claim as both claims depend on different factors. For example, a slip and fall workplace accident can be either a personal injury suit or a workers’ compensation claim, but it totally depends on how it occurred.
Workers’ compensation covers specific conditions and injuries, which only a lawyer with a solid understanding of the law can help you understand and make sure that you file the right claim.
Some key differences between a personal injury and workers’ compensation claim are:
In a personal injury claim, someone needs to be at fault, such as the injury must be caused by someone’s reckless behavior or negligence. However, in a workers’ compensation claim, that’s not the case as it covers specific injuries. You can get compensated even if no one is at fault. This is because Florida has a no fault workers’ compensations system, which means that you don’t need to prove or show that the employer acted carelessly in order to receive benefits.
In a personal injury case, the victim is entitled to all types of damages, such as economic and non-economic/ emotional. However, they need to be proven. On the other hand, workers’ compensation doesn’t include compensation for pain and suffering or if the injuries are anxiety, stress, or psychiatric related.
The Right to Sue
Once you file a workers’ compensation claim, then you cannot sue the employer under any circumstance. This means that filing a claim forfeits your right to sue or file a lawsuit against your employer.
How does the workers’ compensation claim process work?
Report the Injury to the Employer
In order to initiate the claim process, you (the injured employee) must first notify and report the illness or injury to your employer. This must include the date, time, type of injury and how it occurred. In the State of Florida, you must report most injuries within thirty days. Otherwise, you may lose some or all of your benefits if you fail to report to the employer within the stated deadline.
Visit the Doctor
Once you report your occupational illness or injuries to the employer, they will send you to an occupational doctor for checkup and treatment. In Florida, the employer gets to choose the doctor, unless you need emergency treatment. It is vital to provide the doctor with the right information about the cause of injuries and the severity of the symptoms.
Employer Reports the Claim to the Insurance Company
The next step is that the employer notifies your claim to the insurance company within seven days. Also, the occupational doctor will also mail the medical report.
Insurer Approves or Rejects the Claim
Once the claim is filed and submitted to the insurance company, they shall review your case and determine whether the claim is valid or not. If the claim is approved, the insurer will contact you for payment details regarding benefits like medical bills, medicine, disability payments and lost wages due to missed days at work because of the injury. At this point, you can negotiate the settlement if you want to.
However, if the insurance company rejects the claim, then you will not receive any benefits whatsoever. In such a situation, you have the right to appeal against it. To appeal a denied claim, you must file a petition for benefits within 2 years of the injury or one year of your last wage. At this point, it is advisable to work with an experienced Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer who can handle the appeal and help you navigate the legal complexities smoothly and without any stress.
Types of Compensation and Eligibility For Workers Comp
Here are the types of compensation benefits that you can receive:
Most of the injured workers receive medical coverage. This coverage pays for the cost of treating workers for injuries or occupational diseases. It includes:
- Doctor visits
- Hospital treatment
- Medical diagnosis
- Physical therapy
- Durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and crutches
- Nursing care
These are intended to replace the portion of wages that the employee loses due to any disability caused by the work-related injury. It is classified in four categories, such as:
- Temporary Total — This is when the worker is completely disabled by the injury and is unable to work for a short period of time.
- Temporary Partial — The worker is partly disabled by a short-term injury.
- Permanent Total — This is when the worker sustains a permanent injury that can’t be treated.
- Permanent Partial — This is when the worker sustains a permanent injury that prevents them from working permanently.
If an employee dies at the workplace due to job-related activities, then the employer needs to pay death benefits to the worker’s spouse, dependents and minor children. This also covers the deceased’s burial costs.
How Can An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help Me?
An experienced Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer can help you navigate the legal complexities, which otherwise can be stressful. Furthermore, they can handle all aspects of your case while you focus on your treatment and recovery. Besides this, a lawyer can also help you make an appeal in case the insurer denies your claim.
For more information or legal assistance from our workers’ compensation lawyer, get in touch with us today. Call us at (855) 462-6878 or fill out our free online form for a free initial case consultation.