Many people assume that workplace accidents are something that only occurs in mining operations and steel mills. The truth is that workplace accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Even if your employer runs a safe work environment or you work in an office, there is always the potential for an accident. The important thing that you need to know is that if you have been injured within the “scope and context” of your work activities, you likely are eligible for workers’ compensation in Florida. Choosing a Miami workers’ compensation lawyer with Work Injury Rights is a great way to give yourself the best chance possible to get every dollar you are entitled to.
No matter what, your right to compensation and your capacity to exercise that right to the full extent of the law will depend on many factors. Workers’ comp is a complex system of laws with a wide range of relevant variables and you can’t always count on the company’s insurance provider to place your interests before their own.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance coverage that your employer purchases. This insurance is designed to cover injuries that befall employees at the workplace, with a few exceptions. Under Florida Law, all non-construction industry employers with more than 4 employees are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a licensed Florida insurance provider. This allows workers to receive compensation for all certain work-related injuries no matter who was at fault. By purchasing this insurance employers are also made immune to certain types of lawsuits from their injured employees too.
What is Covered By Workers’ Comp in Florida?
If you have been injured in the workplace, by Florida workers’ compensation law, you are entitled to a certain amount of compensation. But there are many finer points that will be examined first. Here is what you need to know about the types of injuries and how they qualify for workers’ comp benefits.
Serious Injuries Suffered On the Job
Regardless of whether you were at fault for your injuries, as long as you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or acting with malicious intent, your on-the-job injury will likely be covered under workers’ compensation.
Cumulative Events and Injuries
There are times when the injuries being sustained are not readily noticed, as they occur over an extended period of time. For example, repetitive motion can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, and working in contaminated or toxic work environments can have other effects on the health that may not be noticed until months or even years later. If you suffer from conditions like this, you may also be eligible for compensation.
Injuries Outside the Office Are SOMETIMES Covered
For the employees injured for the most part, if your injuries take place outside the workplace, they are not covered by workers’ comp. For example, if you were in a car accident on your way to work, you can’t be compensated for your injuries. But, if you were involved in an accident while on your way to meet with a client, this could be considered within the “scope and context” of your work and would therefore make you eligible for workers’ comp benefits.
The best way to know for sure if your injuries are covered by workers’ comp is by getting in contact with a knowledgeable Miami workers’ compensation lawyer with . We will provide you with a risk-free consultation and examine the details of your own workers’ compensation case and provide you with guidance on how to move forward.
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What Does Workers’ Compensation Pay For?
In general, workers’ compensation is designed to pay for medical expenses and treatment that are required as a result of your injury, in addition to replacing some of the income you lost as a result of your injury. While the whole workers’ compensation system is not perfect, it is set up to allow injured workers to receive comprehensive medical care and recover fully from their injury before returning to work, without having to worry about falling into financial ruin as a result.
Below is a list of some of the things workers’ compensation benefits will pay for:
- Your medical bills (with authorized treating physicians)
- Any rehab costs
- A percentage of your lost wages
- Prescription medication
- Any necessary travel expenses related to the treatment of your injury
- Your income loss replacement benefit, which will be two-thirds of your average weekly wage (with a cap of $575 per week)
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – This is an additional sum of money if the authorized treating physician issues a disability rating in compliance with the American Medical Association Guidelines
What Should I Do if I’m Hurt on the Job?
If you have become injured on the job, it is only natural to feel alarmed. But you will want to keep a clear head and act to protect your interests. Here are some important things you should do in the aftermath of a workplace injury:
Tell your employer you are hurt
You will want to inform your supervisor, employer, or foreman that you have been an injured worker. This should be a priority in your mind just after seeking medical care for your injury. While it is always best to handle this as soon as you can, Florida law requires that the workplace injury be reported to the employer or supervisor within 30 days of the accident.
Take photographs of your injury and collect details
As soon as your injuries permit, you will want to be collecting all the information on your injuries. This will be an ongoing activity as you will want to record the recovery process as well. It will be important to keep a careful record of all minor details and collect evidence of the scene of the accident as well if you are able.
Have your injuries examined by a Medical Professional and follow your doctor’s instructions
You will also want to have your injuries or conditions examined by a medical professional, more specifically a WC/MCO doctor, who specializes in worker’s compensation cases. They will be able to establish a positive link between your injuries and a specific hazard of the workplace responsible for the occurrence. They will also provide you with a very detailed plan for recovery which you will want to study and carry out to the very finest details. Failure to do so could be grounds for doubting the sincerity of your claim.
Start and keep a written record of your injury and symptoms.
As mentioned, you will want to keep a very careful collection of details of this case. This will include the doctor’s report and instructions, photos of the injury, progress reports, and anything else that is connected to your case.
File a workers’ compensation claim with the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney.
At any point during the claims process, you can choose to have your case and interests represented by an experienced worker’s compensation lawyer. While this is not a requirement, for those seeking to receive the full compensation afforded them by the law, it is the best option. the insurance provider can very easily opt-out of various elements of the claim if they so choose. A qualified Miami workers’ compensation lawyer from our outstanding law firm and group, Work Injury Rights, can make sure that your interests are respected in every way.
Rest and recuperate.
After you have contacted a Miami workers’ compensation lawyer, you can rest assured that an expert will handle all the finer legal points, you should focus on making a full recovery. It will be very important to follow your doctor’s recommendations and instructions during this recovery process.
Steps for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The Florida workers’ compensation claims process is fairly straightforward but is not without its own nuance and complexities. Below is a list of the basic steps for filing your claim, but, we also have a more in-depth explanation.
Report Your Injury to Your Supervisor
After suffering an injury on the job, employees must report the injury to their employer within 30 days of the injury or risk their claim being denied. While it is never required to submit your report in writing, there is good reason to consider submitting a written report to your employer notifying them of your accident and the circumstances in which it occurred.
First and foremost, sending an email notification provides an important timestamp on the communication should any questions arise about that in the future. Your employer then has 10 days from receiving your notice to file a “First Report of Injury or Illness” form to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Attempt to Informally Resolve the Claim.
You will want to do all you can to try to resolve the issue directly with your employer. Be sure to follow up on the status of your claim to make sure it has been properly reported. As mentioned above, your employer has 10 days from notification of your injury to file their report with the state. Even if your employer completes the form in its entirety, the injured employee is required to sign the form. If the report has not been submitted within 10 days, you will need to begin taking corrective actions.
Contact a Qualified Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Even though we have gone into details to explain the process that surrounds getting worker’s compensation, there is much more to this than can be included in this short synopsis. The whole workers’ compensation claims process is complex and it is not unusual for insurance providers to seek ways to keep accident victims from collecting their rightful compensation. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney near you is well equipped to protect your rights and fight for fair compensation.
File Your Petition for Benefits.
If your efforts to recover compensation through your employer’s insurance or florida workers’ compensation system provider have proven ineffectual, the next thing to do will be to file a petition for benefits. This document must include your contact information as well as contact information for your employer and their workers’ compensation providers. The team at Work Injury Rights can help you file your petition while also providing exceptional legal representation.
Additionally, you will need to include:
- A description of your job responsibilities and what you were doing when you became injured.
- A description of the accident and a listing of all the body parts that were injured
- Listing of all claims you are making
- A claim on the interest of unpaid benefits as well as attorney’s fees.
- You will have to file your Petition for Benefits form with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC) Clerk’s Office. On the other hand, if you have secured legal representation, you can have this important task handled by a qualified professional.
- A copy of the petition must also be served to your employer and their insurance provider through the mail.
What are my Rights After an On the Job Injury?
Workers will sometimes be hesitant to file claims against their employers for fear that this will cause a serious problem for their employer and that their employers may even take retaliatory action. The truth is that these are all fairly routine proceedings designed to prevent any such retaliatory action, which would be grounds for further legal issues as it is illegal for an employer to do so.
If you believe that your employer has taken any form of retaliatory action, including, but not limited to, intimidation, coercion, threatening to discharge, or firing you, please let us know immediately. Call 954-833-5226 and talk with a Miami workers’ compensation lawyer today.
What Can I Do if My Claim is Denied?
Employers and their insurance providers will always look for reasons to deny claims and make minimal payouts. If your claim has been denied altogether, it is likely in your best interest to file a dispute with the state.
If your claim was denied you will enter a process that accompanies this denial. There are three steps in this process.
Notification of Denial
Your employer’s insurance provider should provide you with a notification of receiving the report within a few days of receiving the report. After this, they will investigate the claim and provide their decision within 30 days. Many claims will be categorically denied. If you have received a Notice of Denial, don’t worry, there are still numerous courses of action that can be taken to get you the compensation you deserve.
Appealing a Denied Claim
Injured workers seeking to obtain compensation or appeal a denied claim can petition the OJCC, the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims. There is a two-year window of opportunity to file your appeal, so it will be important to act quickly. At this point, the insurance company can choose to change their decision and pay compensation, or submit a response justifying their decision. Furthermore, just because they initially say they will pay, doesn’t mean they will not challenge the claim later.
Finally, mediation will be held to work out any disputes and the judge will make a ruling. If no resolution can be reached or the outcome is unfavorable, the ruling can be appealed once again. In this case, an administrative hearing will be held with the Judge of Compensation Claim. This will be much like a trial setting and both sides will present evidence. You will be asked to expound on the nature of your injuries, how they were sustained and how they prevented you from performing your duties. The judge will then issue a ruling within 30 days and even this ruling can be appealed further.
How Can a Workers’ Comp Attorney Help Me?
A qualified workers’ comp lawyer in Miami will be able to guide you through this complex system of the workers’ compensation laws and recover the compensation you need to make a full recovery. Because we have extensive experience in these claims and processes, our insight can greatly increase the value of your claim as well.
Contact a Miami Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at Work Injury Rights Today for a Risk-Free Consultation!
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, the implications can impact your life considerably. The team of Florida workers’ comp attorneys at Work Injury Rights have handled thousands of workplace and personal injury cases in South Florida and throughout the state. We are ready to stand by your side through the entire process, fighting to get you the fair compensation that you are entitled to under the law.
Call Work Injury Rights at 954-833-5226 today to receive a risk-free consultation and excellent legal assistance. We will examine the details of your case, and provide you with the best possible solution to your situation.