Frequently asked questions about Florida's workers' compensation laws:
The workers' compensation system was established in order to help protect employers from potential lawsuits brought upon them by employees who have been injured on the job, regardless of who was at fault. These workers are often seeking and entitled to compensation for lost wages and medical expenses.
Am I allowed to sue my employer if I am hurt on the job?
No. Workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy if an employee is injured on the job and it was established to protect employers from lawsuits, as mentioned above. In Florida, employers with four or more employees, whether part-time or full-time, are required by law to have workers compensation coverage.
The only way it would be possible for you to sue your employer is if they unlawfully failed to provide adequate workers' compensation coverage.
What medical benefits does workers' compensation provide?
Through their workers' compensation insurance policy, your employer is typically required to pay for any and all medical treatment that may be required as a result of these injuries. Generally, your employer's insurance will choose which medical professionals administer care to you, with some very limited exceptions.
All reasonable and necessary medical care is provided for, including hospital care, surgical work, dental care, or vision. Along with any treatments, items such as braces, crutches, medical supplies and prescriptions are also covered. Additionally, any reasonable out of pocket travel costs associated with treatment are also subject to reimbursement.
Do I receive any compensation for time off of the job due to my injury?
As a general rule, an injured worker here in Florida is entitled to be paid for around 2/3 of their average weekly wage, prior to incurring their injury. The compensation will be provided for the time you miss from work until the time a doctor permits you to return to work.
What are the specific types of injuries that are covered by workers' compensation?
Any injury at all suffered by an employee who is in an accident while at work is covered by workers' compensation, and benefits would be due. Other incidents that also qualify for workers' compensation benefits include long term sickness or negative impacts on health which occurred over time. Exposure to toxins and chemicals in manufacturing, or asbestos poisoning would be prime examples of work related illnesses or injuries.
If I am injured on the job, what do I need to do?
The most important thing you need to do right away is report your injury as soon as possible. You only have 7 days from the time of the accident or 7 days from the time you realize you've become injured or sick to report the accident. And if you wait more than 30 days, you risk the chance of having any claims completely barred.
After reporting the injury, your employer is required to prepare and provide you with a copy of the notice of injury after you have read and signed it.
If any formal claims for benefits are being sought, they must be brought within one year of your last receipt of compensation or authorized medical treatment, or within two years of the date of your accident.
Can I get fired or lose my job for reporting an injury or filing a claim?
There are laws here in Florida which protect workers from potential retaliation by their employers as a result of them reporting accidents which occur in the workplace. Employers are not required to keep your position available for you.
How long could it take to resolve my case?
The cost of your injuries could potentially be a lifelong burden your employer may be responsible for. Or, it could just be as simple as a few hours off the job and the costs of stitching a wound in a hospital. All injuries are unique to the circumstances and situation at the time of the accident, so there is no general timeframe for how long it could take to resolve your case.
Typically, it takes about 7 months to bring a workers' compensation claim to trial. Here in Florida, the majority of workers' compensation claims are settled out of court, but you or your attorneys may wish to pursue the claim further in front of a judge. Any disputes that arise in your case are typically handled by a Judge of Compensation Claims who will be specially designated for your case.
You will not be awarded a lump sum for future benefits. Other ancillary damages such as pain and suffering are also not provided for under workers' compensation laws.
Why should I hire an attorney for my workers' compensation claim?
As with any serious change in your life circumstances, it is recommended you consult with an attorney in order to protect your rights and any potential claims. Workers' compensation is no different, as many mistakes often happen which may result in you being denied or having your claim delayed.
The attorneys here at Fernandez Law Group have over 40 years of combined legal experience representing many injured parties. We fight with employers insurance companies on a daily basis. We have a reputation for aggressively pursuing the benefits that are due to our clients, and we're ready to relentlessly work on your behalf to get you the fair compensation you deserve.
What types of mistakes do injured workers make that result in denied or delayed claims?
- Failure to report the injury in a timely manner.
- Failure to file any claims in a timely manner.
- The employer is disputing whether or not the injury occurred while you were on the job.
- Your injuries aren't considered severe enough to qualify for workers' compensation benefits.
- A doctor or specialist concluded that you are not disabled as a result of your work injury.
- Your injury is caused by a pre-existing condition.
What other things do I need to watch out for if I am injured on the job?
Unfortunately, insurance companies are in the business of making money. As a result, the insurance adjusters are specialists in finding any reasons they can deny your claim. Whether a through a loophole, or by claiming you're an independent contractor, or hand selecting the physicians they want you to see, there are a number of ways they can try and get out of providing you with the compensation you deserve. Many of these insurance companies are banking on the fact that workers will handle their own cases, often leaving them unprepared for situations that arise from common tactics they use to try and win.
If you've been injured on the job, don't allow your legitimate claims to be delayed or denied. The attorneys here at Fernandez Law Group are ready to assist you through the entire process until you receive the compensation you deserve.
Call or Text us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation and case evaluation.
Content authored by Frank Fernandez