Compensation for workplace accidents that result in injuries to a worker should be straightforward. Thanks to workers’ compensation, such workers are entitled to monetary benefits if they’re injured while on the clock. Under this insurance system, employees have certain benefits, rights, and responsibilities, and it is vital to understand these if you’ve suffered a work-related injury; this is when a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
Workers’ compensation claims aren’t always straightforward. Employers and their insurers may deny your claim as they often prioritize their own interests instead of your well-being. Workplace injuries and occupational diseases often leave employees and their families with a huge financial burden. That’s why it is important to talk to a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure that you receive the monetary benefits that you’re entitled to.
At Work Injury Rights, we are dedicated to helping injured workers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by ensuring that obstacles like pre-existing conditions and denial of a claim don’t get in the way of receiving the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured on the job, call us today at 954-833-5226 to speak to one of our Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyers workers’ compensation lawyers and find out your rights, benefits, and responsibilities.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation, also known as workers’ comp or workman’s compensation, refers to a form of government-mandated insurance carried by employers to provide compensation for employees who are injured while on the job. Under this system, employees who suffer work-related injuries are entitled to benefits in exchange for their right to sue their employers.
Through workers’ compensation, you are entitled to the following benefits:
- Medical benefits, including doctors’ visits, prescription medications, surgery, physical therapy, and medical equipment
- Income benefits, if your treating physician advises you to take time off work for the statutory amount of time
- Necessary travel expenses
- Possible vocational rehabilitation expenses
It is advisable to speak to a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer who specializes in Florida law since each state has its unique set of workers’ compensation rules.
What Should I Do if I’m Hurt on the Job?
If you have been injured on the job in Fort Lauderdale, here are things you should do to protect your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits:
- Inform your employer about your injury
- See a doctor as soon as possible to receive the medical care you need, and follow their instructions
- Maintain a written record of your workplace injury and symptoms
- If possible, take clear photos of your injury
- Reach out to a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer and file a workers’ comp claim under their legal guidance
- Follow your doctor’s advice and take maximum rest to recover
What are the Most Common Workplace Accident Injuries?
Employees could suffer various types of injuries depending on their employment.
However, the most common workplace injuries include:
- Back and neck injuries, which may occur following car accidents, due to falling objects or even continuous heavy lifting.
- Burns may occur among workers who operate kilns, ovens, or those who are constantly exposed to radiation or corrosive chemicals.
- Fractures may occur due to long falls, car accidents, or among employees who engage in repetitive activities.
- Amputations or loss of limbs may occur among workers who operate heavy machinery and constantly handle large cutting tools.
- Hearing loss is a common type of injury in overly noisy workplaces that provide employees with poor-quality or no hearing protection gear.
- Joint pain is common among employees who engage in repetitive tasks and jobs that involve heavy lifting.
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents often result in injuries such as fractures and dislocations.
- Construction accidents are considered some of the most serious as they may result in head and facial injuries, broken bones, and even paralysis.
- Injuries resulting from car accidents while traveling for work-related reasons.
- Cuts and lacerations are injuries that may occur while working with cutting machinery or tools.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer today to find out if your injury will qualify as a compensable work injury.
Why Should I Hire a Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
While not all workers’ comp cases will need a lawyer, it is usually advisable to seek legal counsel as soon as you suffer a work-related injury as you may not be conversant with all workers’ comp laws. Generally, a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer will help you report your injury and file notice of claim within the allowable statutory time.
An attorney will also come in handy if your claim is denied by your employer as they can help collect evidence and represent you before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Your Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer may also advise you on the possibility of filing a lawsuit if a third party was responsible for the accident that resulted in your injury.
How Much does it Cost to Hire a Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Our Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyers at Work Injury Rights, just like most other workers’ comp attorneys in Florida, work on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t pay anything until your case is closed and benefits awarded. After the award, a percentage of it is used as lawyer fees.
Florida law caps this at 20% for the first $5,000, 15% for the next $5,000, and 10% for the remaining benefits received in the first ten years from the date of filing the claim, and 5% of the remaining benefits received after 10 years.
What Should I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
If your workers’ comp claim is denied by your employer or their insurance carrier, you will receive a Notice of Denial from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If this is the case, you have a right to file a Petition for Benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC).
If mediation efforts are unsuccessful, you and your employer’s insurance carrier (or their defense team) will appear before the OJCC, and a judge will listen to both sides of the case and decide, within 30 days, whether to award you benefits or not.
Having your claim denied might reduce your chances of receiving benefits, and it is important that you work with an experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer to have your claim approved as early as possible.
What Responsibility Does the Employee Have When Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Employees who are injured on the job are required to fulfill certain responsibilities through the workers’ comp claims process to ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve.
These responsibilities include:
- Reporting the work-related injury to the employer or supervisor within the statutory period (30 days from the date of the accident).
- Filing a workers’ comp claim within the statutory period (2 years from the date of the accident).
- Seeking reasonable medical care from the recommended doctor.
- Submitting to a drug test if the employer requests one when investigating your work-related injury.
- Accepting a job recommended by the treating physician if you can return to work before reaching maximum medical improvement.
- Keeping the employer updated on important issues like your likely date of return and doctor’s recommendations.
Hiring an experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure that all of these steps have been followed.
What Responsibility Does the Employer Have in the Workers’ Compensation Process?
Under Florida laws, employers have the following responsibilities in the workers’ comp process:
- Send the injured worker to an approved doctor to receive medical care.
- Investigate the workplace accident that caused the employee’s injury.
- Report the employee’s injury to their insurance carrier within the statutory period (not later than 7 days after learning of the injury).
If your employer has failed to fulfill their responsibilities following your work injury, get in touch with one of our Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyers to discuss your options.
Can I be Fired for Claiming a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
By law, Florida employers can’t fire their employees for filing a workers’ comp claim. Employees are protected against unfair termination or any form of retaliation that may be as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
If you think you were terminated as a result of a work injury claim, contact one of our Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyers to find out your legal options and how best to move forward.
Is there a Time Limit to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?
Workers’ comp claims in Florida are time-bound, and injured employees are required to file their claims within the statutory time limit. In Florida, workers’ comp claims should be filed not later than 2 years from the date of the accident. Failure to observe the statute of limitations might lead to the forfeiture of your right to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
Can I Sue My Employer?
Under workers’ compensation, an employee who suffers work-related injuries may receive benefits in exchange for their right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. It follows that in most workers’ compensation claims, employees may not have the right to sue their employers.
However, you should speak to a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer about the possibility of filing a lawsuit if your employment is terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Can an Independent Contractor File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In Florida, independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation and can’t receive benefits if they are injured while on the job. What’s more, Florida’s workers’ comp law doesn’t allow for independent contractors in the construction industry. Generally, independent contractors won’t receive workers’ comp benefits in Florida. If you think you may qualify to receive benefits as an independent contractor, call our Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyers to review your case free of charge.
What is My Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?
To establish the total worth of your workers’ comp claim, you’d have to factor in all the benefits that you’ve been awarded due to your work-related injury. Normally, the following benefits will make up the worth of your claim:
- Medical expenses
- Any physical or vocational rehabilitation costs
- Part of your lost wages
- Income benefits, including temporary total disability benefits, temporary partial disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and permanent total disability benefits. In many cases, temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are awarded and are usually two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wages (capped at $1,011 per week).
Call Our Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today for a Free Consultation
Workers’ compensation ensures that workers receive the benefits they deserve if they suffer a work-related injury or illness. Through workers’ compensation, such employees can pay off their medical bills and receive monetary benefits to cover their lost wages if the injury or illness forces them to take time off work.
An experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer can handle your workers’ comp claim, ensuring that everything is done in accordance to the law and within the allowable time limits.
If you’re an employee in Fort Lauderdale and have been injured while on the clock, call Work Injury Rights today at 954-833-5226 to schedule a consultation to find out your rights and possible benefits.