Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Thousands of people are injured while working in Florida every year. If you have been hurt on the job, workers’ compensation is meant to provide you with financial assistance while you are unable to work and are recovering. While many injured workers deserve to be covered for their workplace injuries, employers and insurance companies deny claims constantly, leaving their employees without pay and unable to work. The Florida workers’ compensation lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm have a history of success fighting for their clients’ right to workers’ compensation benefits and have gotten them the help that they deserve. We have offices in Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.
Florida Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is mandatory for all employers who have four or more employees and is considered a “no fault” system. This means that a question of negligence or fault on the part of the employee is never considered when making a claim. However, this has not stopped employers from trying to get out of paying benefits by making claims that the injury was faked, a preexisting condition, or occurred outside the scope of employment.
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- Tampa Workers’ Compensation
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- Jacksonville Workers’ Compensation
- Miami Workers’ Compensation
- Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation
- West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation
Types of Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The amount and type of workers’ compensation benefits is determined by the severity of the injury or illness. To qualify for workers’ compensation it must be a physical injury or illness. Florida state statutes 440.093 state that unless there is a strong correlation between a physical injury sustained, mental or nervous injuries do not qualify for compensation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common non-fatal injuries reported are cuts, sprains, and fractures. Overuse injuries, or repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), such as carpal tunnel syndrome, are also very common and can necessitate costly surgeries, recovery time, and even career changes late in life. Typically, medical and disability benefits are paid according to a set compensation schedule, and the benefits check should be two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a set amount. Other types of disability benefits that may apply to your workplace injury include:
- Permanent disability benefits — Permanent partial disability benefits are for workers who have a permanent injury, but are only partially impaired and can still perform some work;
- Disability income benefits — Social Security Disability benefits are for those with a permanent disability that is expected to last more than a year and renders a person unable to perform the work they once did, or find new work;
- Supplemental benefits — These benefits are paid by the worker’s employer and can assist you if your injuries are severe;
- Permanent total benefits — These types of benefits are applicable when you are no longer able to work due to severe injuries; and
- Death benefits — Death benefits may pay for funeral expenses, support for dependants, and educational support for a spouse. Filing for any type of benefit can be complicated and riddled with red tape. It is always best to enlist the help of a trusted, experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer no matter what type of benefits you are currently seeking
Filing a Florida Workers’ Compensation Claim
Under Florida law, if you are injured on the job you have thirty days from the date of the accident to report the injury to your employer. Your employer then must report the injury to their insurance company within the next week. If done properly, an employee has up to two years to file a workers’ compensation claim. Soon after the accident has been reported to the insurance company you should receive a call from the insurance adjuster with more details about how to follow-up with the process.
One of the most important aspects of a workers’ compensation claim is the independent medical examination (IME). It is important to seek out an IME by an approved medical provider as soon as possible after the injury because their evaluation can have a drastic effect on the amount of benefits awarded. An approved medical provider is someone that is authorized by your employer’s insurance policy. Of course, if your injuries are severe, go to the hospital immediately. Even if the injuries are severe, the sooner you can contact your employer and explain the situation in detail, the more likely they are to help you through the process. The IME is meant to define the extent of the medical condition and confirm that it was a workplace injury.
What Medical Costs Workers’ Compensation Will Pay For
Workers’ compensation should cover all medical, hospital, and dental costs. Any prescriptions you may receive to heal are also included as well as medical supplies that are ordered by your doctor. Do not skip scheduled appointments or your benefits may be stopped. If you are traveling to appointments you may also be paid for gas mileage so be sure to track all your appointments and save medical receipts.
Appealing a Florida Workers’ Compensation Denial
If your claim is denied by your employer for your injury, you have the right to contest the denial with the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer is vital if you plan on appealing a denial of benefits. The lawyer can bolster your claims with medical record evidence, testimony by experts, and other key evidence. In addition, an lawyer can help negotiate settlements in alternative dispute resolution settings such as mediation and arbitration. Typically workers’ compensation cases settle before going to court, but our lawyers are prepared to represent you should your case go before a judge of compensation claims (JCC). These matters are not only complex, but they are emotional. The legal process can make individuals angry at their employer or worried about their employment status. As you are trying to recover from an injury or illness, it is critical you reduce the amount of outside stress including the stress that can come from appealing a workers’ compensation denial.
Contact an Experienced Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you or someone that you know has been injured on the job and denied their workers’ compensation benefits in the Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale or Miami area, contact the Florida workers’ compensation lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm. We are happy to help in any way that we can.