Under Florida law, workers who suffer a work-related injury should be provided with medical care and compensation for lost wages by their employers. Such benefits are provided to employees under workers’ compensation to help them get on their feet after a work-related injury or illness. Unfortunately, many employers and their insurance carriers don’t make workers’ compensation claims as easy as they’re supposed to be.
After an on-the-job injury, it is important that you work with a workers’ compensation attorney as there are many issues that may require legal expertise. At Work Injury Rights, our lawyers take a comprehensive approach to your work injury or illness to ensure that you achieve full financial recovery. We also ensure that the claim is handled within the allowable time to avoid denial of claim by your employer or their insurance company.
If you have been injured on the job and feel that odds are stacked against you, then you need to seek legal assistance. Contact us today via 954-833-5226 or by filling our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyers.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation, also known as workman’s compensation or workers’ comp, is an insurance system that covers all the medical costs and replaces a portion of lost wages for workers who suffer on-the-job injuries or illnesses. For your injury or illness to be compensable under workers’ compensation, it must have occurred out of and in the course of employment.
Under Florida’s workers’ compensation, workers who get injured on the job are entitled to:
- Medical treatment, including hospital stays, surgery, prescription drugs, medical equipment, and physical therapy, which are fully paid for by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.
- Necessary travel expenses incurred while seeking medical treatment.
- Temporary disability benefits, if their injury or illness keeps them out of work for some time.
- Permanent disability benefits, if the work-related injury permanently prevents them from resuming their work or engaging in any kind of gainful employment.
To help you return to work after a work-related injury, you may require vocational rehabilitation or retraining. Any costs related to such rehabilitation are also covered under workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp laws differ from one state to the other, and it is important that you work with a Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer who specializes in Florida law.
What Should I Do if I’m Hurt on the Job?
The aftermath of a work-related injury is often a tedious and overwhelming process, with the need to receive the necessary medical treatment and pursue compensation leaving injured workers with questions about the things to do after the injury.
Here are the steps to take after a workplace injury:
- Report your injury to your employer in a timely manner, even if the injury seems minor.
- Seek medical care from the recommended doctor, and let them know that it is a workplace injury.
- Keep a record of the symptoms of your workplace injury.
- If your injury is visible, say a cut, it is important that you take clear photos and keep them.
- Contact a workers’ compensation attorney for legal assistance in the process of filing your workers’ comp claim.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions, take maximum rest and recuperate.
What Are the Most Common Workplace Accident Injuries?
An experienced Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer knows how the type of workplace injury can impact a worker’s claim. Some injuries are far more debilitating, others will be more expensive to treat, while others will require a longer recovery period.
The most common workplace injuries in Sunrise, Florida, are discussed below:
- Back, Neck, and Spinal Injuries – these injuries can be catastrophic as they may lead to paralysis
- Burns – long-term exposure to toxic chemicals can cause many injuries, among them burns
- Fractures – tripping on an object and falling on your hand or wrist can easily cause a fracture, which may keep you out of work
- Amputations – like spinal injuries, amputations are considered catastrophic as they often leave workers in no condition to resume work or secure any kind of employment in the future
- Hearing Loss – continuous exposure to occupational noise without proper hearing protection equipment can lead to hearing loss
- Joint Pain – repetitive activities and heavy-lifting can lead to joint pain, including shoulder, knee, and wrist pain
- Slip and Fall Injuries – slip, trip, and fall accidents are common in most workplaces and can result in fractures or hip injuries
- Construction Accidents – workers may suffer a blow to the head by getting hit by a heavy object or by falling from a height, which could lead to serious brain injury
- Accidents during business-related travels – car accidents while on business-related travels may result in broken bones, fractures, or even back and neck injuries
- Accidents while operating machinery or using tools – such accidents could lead to cuts, lacerations, and even amputations.
Why Should I Hire a Sunrise Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
At Work Injury Rights, we advise against starting a claim process without talking to a workers’ compensation lawyer. An attorney will help ensure that you report your injury and file a claim in a timely manner to avoid having your claim denied. Your lawyer will also help you determine the benefits that you may receive, given their experience with workers’ comp cases. If your claim is disputed or denied, your workers’ comp lawyer will help you file a Petition for Benefits and represent you when your case goes to trial.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Sunrise Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Our lawyers at Work Injury Rights work on a contingency basis, meaning that you don’t pay anything until you receive your workers’ compensation benefits. Most lawyers also work on a contingency basis, and lawyer fees will generally be 25-33% of the benefits. Previously, Florida law capped lawyer fees in workers’ compensation as follows:
- 20% of the first $5,000
- 15% of the next $5,000
- 10% of the remaining workers’ comp benefits awarded in ten years after filing your claim
- 5% of the remaining workers’ comp benefits awarded after 10 years.
What Should I Do if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
The first step to take if your claim has been denied is speaking to a Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer. Your attorney will evaluate your claim and establish the reason for the denial of your claim. A lawyer will also help you appeal the insurance carrier’s decision by filing a Petition for Benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC).
In most cases, the judge will order that the case goes to mediation. If mediation fails, you and the insurance carrier will appear before a judge, present your arguments, and the judge will issue a decision within 30 days on whether you’ll receive workers’ comp benefits or not.
What Responsibility Does the Employee Have in Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, you are required to fulfill the following responsibilities during the claim process:
- Report the injury to your employer within 30 days from the date of the accident
- Accepting medical care from the recommended doctor, if your injury necessitates medical treatment
- Engaging in light-duty work provided by the employer if you can resume work even after your injury.
What Responsibility Does the Employer Have in the Workers’ Compensation Process?
Employers are also required to play their role in the workers’ comp process. Basically, they have the following responsibilities:
- Reporting the workers’ injury to their insurance carrier not later than 7 days after they’re informed about the injury
- Providing medical care by sending the injured worker to a doctor of choice
- Offering the worker light-duty work approved by their treating physician if their injury isn’t too serious.
Can I be Fired for Claiming a Workers’ Comp Claim?
No. Under Chapter 440 of Florida Statutes, employers are prohibited from firing, threatening to fire, intimidating, or coercing an injured worker who files a workers’ compensation claim in a bid to receive benefits.
Is there a Time Limit to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Sunrise, Florida?
Your Florida workers’ comp claim is forever barred unless it is filed within 2 years from the date of the work-related injury. If you wish to file a Petition for Benefits after the initial 2 years, you should do so not later than 1 year from the last payment of benefits or last provision of authorized medical care.
Can I Sue My Employer?
Under workers’ compensation, injured workers have the right to receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident that caused their injury. In exchange, such workers are required to forfeit their right to sue their employer. Therefore, workers’ will not, on most occasions, have the right to sue their employer after a workplace injury.
Can an Independent Contractor File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Independent contractors aren’t considered employees under Florida law, and are therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
What is My Sunrise Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?
Working with an experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you determine the worth of your claim as they know what benefits you might receive. Usually, your claim’s worth will be determined by the following benefits:
- Medical benefits to cover your expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- A portion of your lost wages
- Travel expenses relating to the treatment of your injury
- Temporary disability benefits, equivalent to two-thirds of your average weekly wage (with a cap of $1,011 per week)
- Permanent disability benefits, if your injury prevents you from engaging in any gainful employment permanently.
Contact Our Sunrise Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
Under workers’ compensation, workers who suffer on-the-job injuries are entitled to benefits regardless of who is at fault. Unlike the common belief, workers’ comp claims aren’t always straightforward, and it is important that you work with a workers’ comp lawyer who specializes in Florida workers’ compensation law. This way, you can avoid the devastation that comes with having your claim denied.
If you’ve been injured on the job and are wondering where to start, call the office of Work Injury Rights today at 954-833-5226 to speak to one of our Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyers about your injury.