If you get hurt at work, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Although your employer is supposed to handle everything for you, you still need a Boynton Beach workers’ compensation attorney. There’s no guarantee that your employer will do the right thing. They may not file your claim properly. Or, they may tell the insurance company to deny your claim.
A Florida workers’ compensation lawyer will handle the legal side of your claim for you. You are the one who has to get medical treatment. You also need to keep your lawyer updated with any instructions provided by your company approved doctor.
Make sure you stay in touch with your workers’ comp lawyer. He needs to know if your situation changes. He may have to reach out to the insurance company to resolve issues for you. This means he needs to know if there are any developments in your treatment.
Regardless of whether you trust your employer or not, you need to call a Boynton Beach workers’ compensation attorney right away. They can make sure your claim is handled properly. They can also make sure you aren’t forced to go back to work too early.
- 1 Things to Do If You Suffer a Workplace Injury
- 2 What are the Common Types of Workplace Injuries?
- 3 What are the Workers’ Compensation Laws in Florida?
- 4 Why Would Your Claim be Denied?
- 5 Your Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Will Try to Settle Your Claim
- 6 What if You’re Fired While Out on Workers’ Comp?
- 7 What if Your Company Closes While You’re Out On Workers’ Compensation?
- 8 Contact a Boynton Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Things to Do If You Suffer a Workplace Injury
If you get hurt at work, there are a few things you need to do right away. First, make sure your accident is reported to your supervisor or Human Resources. If you can’t move because you’re hurt, ask a coworker to get your manager. The last thing you need to do is make your injuries worse by trying to race to your manager’s office.
The next thing you need to do is fill out an accident report. This is crucial. This report will document how you were hurt, where it happened, and what injuries you suffered. It also gives you a chance to list any witnesses to the accident. It’s very similar to a police report in this way. This report is crucial for your attorney. He may need this information down the road.
The last thing you need to do is seek medical treatment. It’s important that you get treated by a company approved doctor. Almost every company requires their employees to see an approved doctor for all work related injuries. This is something required by their insurance carrier. If you go to your own doctor, or someone other than who is approved, you can jeopardize your claim.
After you’ve done all of this, you need to contact ou Boynton Beach workers’ compensation attorneys. If you get injured on the job, your lawyer will make sure you receive the benefits you deserve.
What are the Common Types of Workplace Injuries?
The type of workplace injury you suffer will depend on the kind of work you do. There are injured workers from every industry on workers’ compensation. One of the most common industries to suffer work injuries is the construction industry. Because of the nature of their work, they tend to get hurt worse than other employees.
A few other industries that experience their share of workplace injuries include:
- HVAC: People who work in heating and air conditioning are constantly crawling around in dangerous places. They also work with some dangerous equipment. They may suffer knee injuries from their physical labor.
- Mechanics: Because auto mechanics work with tools and heavy equipment, they are susceptible to a workplace injury more so than other industries.
- Laborers: It makes sense that people who do physical labor all day are more likely to get hurt. They lift heavy boxes and have to twist and turn all day long.
- Factory workers: People don’t think of hearing loss when they think of workers’ comp, but a lot of factory workers suffer hearing damage. This is from the loud noises they contend with day in and day out.
- Truck drivers: Because truck drivers have to climb in and out of their vehicles all day they can end up with knee and back injuries.
- Sports players: We don’t think of athletes as having to file for workers’ comp. But they do. If they suffer an injury on the field, they may need workers’ comp benefits.
These are all industries where people have to do some sort of physical work. This means they are subjected to more risks of getting hurt. Although employees suffer all sorts of injuries, some of the more common workers’ compensation injuries include:
A lot of workers’ comp claims involve back injuries. These are often times related to disc issues. Most require surgery and physical therapy.
A lot of employees tear their ACL or meniscus from hard labor. They may need surgery to correct these issues. They may not be able to do the same kind of work afterwards.
People who work with their hands may eventually develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This requires surgery to correct it. This is commonly associated with casino dealers and secretaries.
Some of the scariest injuries are neck injuries. You could suffer nerve damage. You may even break your neck. Some construction workers who suffer a great fall end up with a broken neck. The odds of returning to work after this type of injury are slim to none.
Anyone who suffers a severe blow to the head can suffer a traumatic brain injury. These require surgery and may leave you permanently disabled.
If you work around certain chemicals, you could end up with a breathing condition or even cancer.
All of these injuries qualify you for workers’ compensation in Florida.
What are the Workers’ Compensation Laws in Florida?
Every state has its own laws when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. Most states have a Division of Workers’ Compensation who oversees all claims. They are also in charge of handling appeals and benefits issues.
The only difference in how states handle workers’ compensation has to do with the amount of wages you receive. The length of your benefits may also change from state to state.
In Florida, you’re entitled to workers’ comp benefits as long as you meet certain criteria:
- Your injury took place while you were at work
- You were on the clock when you got hurt
- You were doing something within the scope of your employment at the time of your injury
- You weren’t under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident
- You seek medical treatment from a company approved doctor
If you meet all of these criteria, you should receive your benefits.
If your claim is approved, you’ll receive medical care and replacement wages. In Florida, the amount of benefits you can receive is as follows:
- ⅔ of your weekly wages
- No more than $863 per week
- No more than two (2) years of benefits
- No more than six (6) months of benefits for psychiatric issues
As long as you follow the workers’ comp guidelines, you’ll be entitled to these benefits in Florida. However, there are cases in which your claim can be denied.
The good news is that your Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against your employer.
Why Would Your Claim be Denied?
Your workers’ comp claim could be denied. There are many reasons why this could happen. Regardless of the reason, your Boynton Beach workers’ compensation attorney can help you file an appeal.
Some of the reasons your claim may be denied include:
Under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident
Almost all employers will deny your claim in these situations. There a handful of companies with special programs for employees suffering from addiction. However, that doesn’t mean your entire claim will be approved. If drugs and alcohol played a role in your accident, you probably won’t receive benefits.
You weren’t working at the time of your injury
If you were not on the clock when you got hurt, your injuries may not be covered. If you were on lunch or hadn’t clocked in yet, you may not qualify for workers’ comp.
You were terminated prior to your injury
If you get fired before you’re injured, you can’t file for workers’ comp. For example, if you get hurt when picking up your final paycheck, you won’t be covered under workers’ compensation.
Doing Something Outside the Scope of Your Employment When You Got Hurt
This really comes down to your employer. If you work for a company who doesn’t fight issues like this, your injuries will probably be covered. But most employees may challenge your claim.
Your Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Will Try to Settle Your Claim
Very few workers’ comp cases to court. They almost all settle long before they go to trial. This is because settlements are drawn out and expensive. If employers paid to litigate all workers’ comp claims, they’d go bankrupt. And, if it gets to the point where trial is coming up, you should think about settling. There is a chance you could lose in court. If your employer offers a fair amount to settle, you may be better off accepting it.
Your settlement amount depends on the type of injuries you suffered. It also depends on how badly you were hurt. The way it works with workers’ comp is each body part has a dollar value. If you lose the ability to use that body part, you’ll be entitled to a certain amount of money. Your attorney will go in high and the insurance company will come in low. They’ll have to negotiate back and forth until they agree on a number.
In Florida, the courts like to see workers’ comp cases settle. They clog up the court system. And, most of the time, the issues can be worked out between the two parties. Our experienced Boynton Beach workers’ compensation attorneys have the skills to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
Employers are also more interested in settling rather than going to court. They don’t want to pay you benefits for the full two (2) years. Now, in Florida, your employer isn’t required to hold your job. In most states, they are required to do this. So, if your employer has already replaced you, they may not want to bring you back when you recover from your injuries.
If you do settle your workers’ comp case, you can’t go back later and ask for more money. Your settlement closes your claim. This is why it’s important that your Florida workers’ compensation lawyer get you an amount that covers all of your medical expenses.
What if You’re Fired While Out on Workers’ Comp?
Believe it or not, some employees do get fired while out on workers’ comp. Whether or not you can be compensated for this depends on why you were fired. Florida law doesn’t require employers to hold your job. But, this doesn’t mean you can be fired for no good reason.
Keep in mind, Florida is an at-will state. Almost all states are at-will these days. So, you can be fired for any reason, at any time. Sure, if you were fired out of retaliation, you can file a claim for wrongful termination. But these cases are very difficult to prove.
So, what happens if you’re fired while out on workers’ comp? It really depends on one thing: were you fired because you went out on workers’ comp? Or, were you fired for behavior that took place before you ever got injured?
If your employer was going to terminate you anyway, you probably can’t do much about being fired while out on workers’ comp. Your employer may have documentation showing that you were scheduled to be terminated before you got injured. They could include write-ups and warnings in your personnel file. They may even argue that you purposely got injured to avoid being fired. It happens more than you may think.
If you believe you were terminated in retaliation for filing your workers’ comp claim, your attorney can file a case for wrongful termination. Just keep in mind- the odds of winning this type of lawsuit are low.
What if Your Company Closes While You’re Out On Workers’ Compensation?
Getting fired isn’t the only thing that can happen while you’re out on workers’ comp. Your company could close or go bankrupt. They could be sold to someone who revamps the entire company. All sorts of things can happen.
The good news is, if your company closes while you’re out on workers’ comp, you should still receive your benefits. Your employer paid into your workers’ comp insurance while you were employed. However, if your workers’ comp benefits do end because the company didn’t pay their insurance, you do have options.
You may be able to collect disability while you’re out of work. Your Boynton Beach workers’ compensation attorney can help you file for disability.
If your injuries are temporary, you can file for short-term disability. For disabilities that are going to be permanent, it could be harder. In order to qualify for permanent disability, you need to show that you won’t be able to work for at least a year. You also have to show that you’re not able to do the same job you did before you got hurt. It is very hard to prove this. In fact, over 70% of all applicants for disability are denied when they first apply for benefits.
Contact a Boynton Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you get hurt at work, you’re going to be scared and frustrated. You won’t know how you’re going to take care of your family. You worry that you’ll lose your job. Plus, you may be in a lot of pain.
You don’t have to deal with this yourself. You can lean on our Boynton Beach workers’ compensation attorneys to do the heavy lifting for you. You need to focus on getting better, You have to follow through with your medical treatment. You may need surgeries. You may have to go through physical therapy for weeks or months. You are not going to return to work until you’re ready.
If your employer tries to force you to go back to work too soon, let your lawyer know he can talk to your employer and let them know you aren’t ready to go back. He’ll also make sure you continue to receive your benefits.
Call us today at 800-800-6500 and schedule your free initial consultation with one of our Boynton Beach workers’ compensation attorneys today. You can sit down with an experienced attorney who can answer any questions you may have. We know the law in Florida. We can review your case and let you know what it may be worth. Contact us today. The consultation is absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.