Every year, thousands of utility workers in this country get hurt on the job. Working on power lines and repairing equipment means that utility workers face the risk of electric shock and dangerous falls. Our Tampa workers comp attorneys have helped many utility workers get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve.
Here, we’ll explain how a workers’ compensation lawyer can help after an accident on the job. We’ll also briefly discuss some of the more common injuries utility workers experience.
Your Work Injury Lawyer in Tampa Must First Prove You Meet the Criteria for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Before you receive benefits, your Tampa workers comp attorney must first prove that you qualify for workers’ compensation. Just because you got hurt on the job, that doesn’t mean your employer will approve your claim.
Some of the basic requirements for workers’ compensation in Florida include the following:
- Your accident must have taken place while you were doing your job.
- You must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your workplace accident.
- You must report your injury to your employer as soon as possible and no later than 30 days from the accident.
- You must have been acting within the normal scope of your employment.
- You must agree to be treated by an approved workers comp doctor.
The more important requirements will be discussed in more detail below.
Did You Get Hurt While On the Clock?
One of the most important criteria for collecting workers’ compensation benefits is that your injury took place on company time. Even if you’re a salaried employee, your work injury lawyer in Tampa must prove that this is the case.
It’s important to note that you will not qualify for workers’ compensation if your injury happened on a lunch break. The same is true if you got hurt on the way to or from work. You must be physically working at the time of your accident for it to be covered.
Were You Acting Within the Scope of Your Normal Employment?
Another important requirement is that you were acting within the scope of your employment at the time of your injury. If, for example, you offered to help a customer carry a package in after you fix their meter, that wouldn’t be covered by workers’ compensation.
What your Tampa workers comp attorney will do is review the facts surrounding your workplace accident. As long as they believe it happened while you were performing your duties, you should be okay.
Can Your Tampa Workers Comp Attorney Prove You Reported Your Injury on Time?
Under Florida law, you have thirty days to report your workplace injuries. There is no reason to put off reporting this. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your employer will think you fabricated your injuries.
Another reason you don’t want to wait too long is that your employer will suspect you were under the influence of drugs when you got hurt. They may think you’re waiting for the drugs to exit your system before you report your accident.
This would help ensure that you pass the drug test your employer requires prior to sending you out for treatment.
What Are the Most Common Types of Utility Worker Injuries?
If you are a utility worker, then you already know how dangerous your job can be. Every day, you put your health and safety on the line.
Some of the more common injuries suffered by utility workers in Tampa include:
- Slips and falls
- Soft tissue injuries from bending, climbing, and twisting
- Injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident
- Falling from a ladder and sustaining broken bones or sprains
Thankfully, the injuries suffered in these types of accidents should heal rather quickly. Unfortunately, there are other injuries that could be life-threatening.
There Are Other, More Serious Injuries Suffered by Utility Workers as Well
Given the nature of utility line work, it’s no surprise that workers suffer serious injuries. For example, you could get burned or electrocuted if you touch a live power line.
You could also be injured in a gas explosion. The types of injuries you would suffer if this happened could cause permanent damage. You may suffer third-degree burns or lung damage. You could even go blind depending on how close you were to the explosion.
Your Work Injury Lawyer in Tampa Will Make Sure Your Claim is Handled Properly
One of the benefits of hiring a work injury lawyer in Tampa is that they’ll oversee your claim. They’ll make sure the insurance company handles your claim properly. They’ll also make sure you aren’t taken advantage of.
Once the insurance adjuster realizes that you’ve hired a Tampa workers comp attorney, they’ll take your claim more seriously. So will your employer.
They Can Also Help You Appeal Your Claim if It’s Denied
If your workers’ compensation claim happens to be denied, your attorney can help you file an appeal. The only problem with this is that the same person who denied your claim the first time around will be the one who reviews it the second time.
If your appeal isn’t successful, your Tampa workers comp attorney can still appeal your case to the Division of Workers Compensation.
Your Tampa Workers Comp Attorney Won’t Let Your Employer Force You Back to Work Too Early
One other benefit of retaining a work injury lawyer in Tampa is that they’ll make sure you aren’t forced back to work too soon. Legally, your employer cannot call you back to work until your doctor determines you’ve achieved maximum medical improvement.
Your employer may try to call you back early. Or they may tell you that you have to perform a light-duty position that you don’t feel you’re capable of performing. Your Tampa workers comp attorney will get a second opinion from a different doctor to see what they think.
If the second opinion states that you aren’t ready to return to work or perform the functions of a light-duty job, they’ll let the insurance adjuster know. They’ll also try to negotiate a settlement if your injuries are going to keep you out of work for a long period of time.
Reach Out to Our Experienced Tampa Workers Comp Attorneys Today
If you’re a utility worker and you’ve suffered a serious injury at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. The only way to know for sure is to meet with an experienced Tampa workers comp attorney.
Utility workers are at a much higher risk of getting hurt on the job. Between the climbing and exposure to power lines, it’s a wonder more utility workers don’t get seriously injured. The good news is that, if you do get hurt, there’s a good chance you’ll qualify for workers compensation benefits.
Our firm offers all new clients a free, initial consultation. All you have to do is call our office at (954) 324-COMP. Schedule a date and time to come into the office. Or, if you prefer, we can always conduct your consultation by phone or video call.