If you are injured on the job in the state of Florida, or if you become sick because of your job, you may qualify to have the state’s workers’ compensation system pay for your medical expenses and for the partial reimbursement of your lost wages. Can a West Palm Beach workplace accident attorney help?

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program for injured employees. It is established and managed by the state. Employers pay into the workers’ compensation system on behalf of their employees.

IF YOU ARE INJURED AT WORK, WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?

Injuries on the job can happen in any workplace and in any line of work. Obviously, some jobs, like construction, are more dangerous than others, but anyone could be temporarily or even permanently disabled by a job-related injury. If that happens to you, what steps should you take?

Here is how the system works. Employers in Florida who have four or more employees are required by law to carry workers’ compensation coverage for those employees. Independent contractors are not considered employees and are not covered.

workers comp florida

Workers’ comp in Florida:

1. ensures that employees who are injured on the job do not have to pay out-of-pocket for their medical bills arising from an on-the-job injury
2. provides injured employees with partial compensation for lost wages
3. compensates permanently disabled workers

HOW DOES WORKERS’ COMP BENEFIT BOTH EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS?

When an employee is injured on the job, instead of filing a personal lawsuit against the employer – and then having to prove legally that the employer was negligent – the injured employee may file a workers’ compensation claim.

The workers’ comp system protects employers from lawsuits; injured employees, in return, receive benefits automatically. All that an injured employee has to prove is that the injury was serious enough to require medical care and that the injury happened at work or was work-related.

WHAT INJURIES ARE CONSIDERED WORK-RELATED?

In Florida, any significant injury that you sustain at your place of work or while you are engaged in work-related duties will be covered by workers’ compensation. Cuts, scrapes, and anything else that may be treated with first-aid probably will not be covered.

injuries at work

A chemical spill that causes a brief headache probably will not be covered either, but if you are repeatedly exposed to chemicals that cause frequent headaches, you will probably qualify to receive workers’ comp benefits.

Injuries that are sustained while you are commuting to or from work, injuries that are sustained while you are away from your workplace at lunch, and injuries caused by horseplay, by violence, or by alcohol or drug abuse will not be covered by workers’ comp.

IF YOU ARE INJURED AT WORK, WHAT’S YOUR TOP PRIORITY?

If you are injured at work, getting medical attention is the first and most immediate priority. As quickly as possible, report the incident to your employer. Put that report in writing, and keep a copy. Most larger employers in Florida will have pre-printed or online injury report forms.

Under workers’ compensation rules, you actually have thirty days to report an injury to your employer, but you need to do that immediately. In south Florida, you should also contact – as quickly as possible – an experienced West Palm Beach workplace accident attorney.

Injured employees are sometimes uncertain if they qualify for workers’ comp benefits, and they are also sometimes uncertain about how to file a workers’ compensation claim.

HOW CAN A WORKERS’ COMP LAWYER HELP YOU?

In South Florida, if you are injured at work, your best move is to seek promptly the advice of an experienced West Palm Beach workplace accident attorney.

lawyer helping injured worker

Without a lawyer’s help, an injured employee may find it difficult to obtain the benefits that he or she is entitled to. A good workplace accident lawyer can make certain that your claim is complete and accurate and that no mistakes or misunderstandings will delay your benefits.

IN FLORIDA, WHAT DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROVIDE?

Workers’ compensation benefits in Florida can include:

1. medical care: doctors’ visits, tests, therapy, prescriptions, treatment, and hospitalization
2. temporary disability benefits that partially replace lost wages
3. permanent total disability benefits
4. death benefits

Temporary disability benefits may be paid for up to 104 weeks. If you are permanently disabled and cannot return to work after 104 weeks, you may qualify for permanent total disability payments.

WHAT IF YOUR WORKERS’ COMP CLAIM IS DENIED?

Unfortunately, the claims of injured workers in Florida are far too frequently denied. Insurance companies and employers often try to deny or reduce the workers’ comp benefits that are supposed to be paid to injured employees.

An insurance company or an employer might allege that a worker’s injuries happened away from the job or that the injury is not as serious as the worker claims.

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied for any reason, a workers’ comp attorney can help you appeal that decision to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. If necessary, an attorney can also help you to see a second, independent doctor and obtain a second opinion.

HOW CAN YOU APPEAL THE DENIAL OF A WORKERS’ COMP CLAIM?

Appeals are conducted in a courtroom setting, and you will probably face lawyers who represent your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You will need an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to represent you if you need to appeal a denial of workers’ comp benefits.

appeals

Florida allows appeals of denied workers’ comp benefits at several levels. Appeals require considerable paperwork – all of which must be accurate and complete – and you’ll have to meet strict deadlines. When you appeal a denial of benefits, an attorney’s help will be imperative.

Workers’ comp lawyers routinely handle complicated cases, so a good workers’ comp lawyer will know what it takes to prove that you qualify to receive benefits, but you will need to have some patience. If you have to file an appeal, your case could take months to resolve.

WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT A WORKPLACE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY?

The process of applying for and acquiring workers’ compensation benefits is unavoidably frustrating and time-consuming, but a good workers’ comp lawyer will make it easier and guide you through the process from start to finish.

If you are injured on the job in South Florida, do not wait to speak with an experienced workplace accident lawyer. Do it at once. If you have been injured at work, a good attorney’s help is your right. In fact, your future could depend on it.