Fort Lauderdale Workers Compensation Attorney

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People get injured on the job every day. Most of these people work in industries like construction or HVAC. This is because people who do physical work are more prone to injuries. But, that doesn’t mean that other workers don’t get hurt. Anyone could suffer a work-related injury. If this happens to you, you need to contact a Fort Lauderdale workers compensation attorney.

Most employers are pretty good about handling workers comp claims in Florida. They report the accident to their insurance carrier. They arrange for you to get the medical care you need. They pay your workers comp benefits and don’t give you a hard time. However, it doesn’t always work like this.

There’s no guarantee that your employer will do the right thing. He may suspect that you faked your injury. Or, he has a policy of denying all claims upfront and forcing employees to prove their injuries are work related. Although this isn’t fair, it happens all the time.

Your Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney will help make sure your claim is handled properly. He’ll stay in touch with your employer and the insurance company. He’ll make sure you aren’t forced to return to work sooner than you should be. 

Some people think they’re protected because they’ve been at their job for years. This means nothing. The insurance company doesn’t care how long you’ve worked for the company. Sure, your tenure lends some credibility to your claim, but it doesn’t guarantee that your claim will be paid. This is why you need a Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer right away.

What Should You Do if You Get Hurt at Work?

You could wake up one day, head out to work feeling fine. The next thing you know, you’re being carted off in an ambulance with a torn knee or broken back. These things happen in the real world. That’s why it’s important that you know what to do if you’re hurt at work.

There are certain things you need to do following a work-related injury:

  • Make sure you report your accident to Human Resources: You may not be able to do this yourself. If your injured too bad to physically find someone from HR, ask a coworker to get your manager. Your manager can arrange for Human Resources to get you sent out to the hospital.
  • Complete your company’s incident or accident report form: You need to document your accident. Don’t rely on your employer to do this. You have no idea what they may claim happened. You need to provide your version of events and include any relevant information. Make sure you include the names of any eye witnesses. 
  • Ask for medical treatment right away: Your employer has a policy on how to handle workplace accidents. This policy will include a procedure for getting you the medical treatment you need. They may require that you see a company approved doctor. If you don’t, you could jeopardize your workers compensation claim.
  • Call a Fort Lauderdale workers compensation attorney: Make sure you call a workers comp lawyer as soon as possible. This doesn’t have to happen the same day as your accident but do it as soon as possible. Your attorney will make sure your claim is handled the right way from the start. The longer you take to call him, the less help he will be early on.

Common Types of Workplace Injuries in Fort Lauderdale

No matter what you do for a living, you could end up getting hurt at work. Some of the more common positions that suffer workplace injuries include:

  • HVAC: People who work on heating and air condition systems are on their knees a lot. They also have to work with heavy equipment. They’re exposed to dust, water and mold. They are at risk for all sorts of work injuries.
  • Mechanics: If you think of the equipment auto mechanics work with, it’s no surprise that they suffer a lot of work related injuries.
  • Laborers: Laborers are on their feet all day long. They tend to do a lot of lifting and a lot of repetitive work. They can suffer back, neck, hip and knee injuries more so than a secretary or cashier.  
  • Factory workers: These workers are exposed to loud and dangerous equipment all day long. They can develop serious injuries. They can also develop hearing damage. 
  • Truck drivers: Due to them having to climb in and out of trucks all day, they tend to experience a lot of work-related injuries.
  • Sports players: Professional athletes suffer a lot of injuries. There have their own system or workers comp but they do suffer a lot of work-related injuries.

If you get hurt at work, you could experience anything from a chemical burn to a knee injury. Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyers handle all sorts of injuries. Some of the more common injuries they see are:

  • Back Injuries: Many employees suffer back injuries. This could be from lifting heavy boxes. Or, it could be from a chair breaking and you fall to the floor. Most back injuries involve herniated discs or nerve damage. Most require surgery and physical therapy. You could be out of work for quite some time.
  • Knee Injuries: If you do a lot of physical labor, you may pop your knee or twist it. Some knee injuries can be resolved without surgery. However, most serious knee injuries, like back injuries, require surgery and therapy for months.
  • Carpal Tunnel: A lot of people who have to work with their hands all day end up with carpal tunnel syndrome. Attorney see this a lot with casino dealers, mechanics and electricians.
  • Brain Injuries: Anyone who suffers a severe blow to the head can suffer a traumatic brain injury. These require surgery and may leave you permanently disabled. 
  • Workplace Illness: Certain chemicals can cause different disease. You could suffer from cancer or breathing issues if you’re exposed to these chemicals.

If you suffer any of these injuries, you need to call a Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer. 

Florida’s Workers Compensation Statute

Every state has their own rules when it comes to workers comp. In Florida, you’re covered under workers comp if you meet the following requirements:

  • 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 

As long as you satisfy these requirements, you should receive your workers compensation benefits.

If your claim is approved, you will be entitled to medical treatment and replacement wages. In Florida, your benefits are 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 

There are times when you think your claim will be approved and then find out it was denied. 

Thankfully, your Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer can appeal your claim and try to get your benefits approved.  

Why Certain Workers Compensation Claims Are Denied? 

Sometimes, workers comp claims are denied. You may have no idea why this happened to you. Your lawyer can review your denial letter and find out the reason for your claim being denied. Some of these reasons may include: 

  • You were drunk or high at the time of your accident. You’d be surprised to see how often this happens. If you’re under the influence, chances are, your claim will be denied.
  • You weren’t actually on the clock at the time of your accident. You could be on company property but not working. If this is the case, your claim will not be approved.
  • You were terminated prior to your injury – If you were fired prior to your injury, workers compensation insurance is not going to cover it. There aren’t many situations where this happens. However, you could be fired and are just picking up your check when you get hurt.
  • Outside the Scope – Most companies require that you be doing something within the scope of your employment at the time of your injury. For example, if you’re a cashier, you shouldn’t be carrying cases of frozen food on delivery day. This is considered outside of your employment. Your claim may be denied if this is the case.
  • Your injuries were caused some other way: If your injury took place outside of work, don’t expect it to be covered. For example, let’s say you hurt your knee playing basketball over the weekend. You fake an injury at work to get workers compensation, Your employer is not going to cover something like this.

If your Fort Lauderdale workers comp claim is denied, you can appeal it. Your lawyer can reach out to the insurance company and try to negotiate a settlement of your claim.

Your Fort Lauderdale Workers Compensation Lawyer Will Settle Your Claim 

Most workers comp cases are resolved long before they go to court. Insurance companies understand that they’ll have to pay most claims. They may dispute the amount you are entitled to. Or, they believe you should be ready to return to work earlier than you may think. But, deep down, they’re as interested in settling your case as your attorney is. Now, how much they’re willing to settle your case for is a different story.

Your settlement amount depends on how bad you were injured. It also depends on what part of your body was hurt. Each body part has a value. If you’re unable to use certain parts of your body, you’ll be entitled to certain benefits. The insurance company and your attorney will go back and forth and try to negotiate a settlement.

Florida courts like to see workers comp cases settle. All they do is clog up the court system. Most issues can be worked out between the two lawyers. An experienced Fort Lauderdale workers compensation attorney has the skills to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.   

Employers don’t want to go to court either. They have more important things to do with their time and money. They certainly don’t want to pay attorneys to go to trial. They’d rather avoid a long and drawn out process and settle it quickly.

You’re better off settling as well. In Florida, employers aren’t required to hold your job while you’re out on workers compensation. It’s in your best interest to settle quickly so you can return to work.

When you settle your workers comp claim, it is closed. You can’t sue your employer later on and ask for more money. This is why Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyers determine your future medical bills before he’ll negotiate a settlement. He’ll ensure that this amount is included in your settlement.

What if You’re Fired While Out on Workers Comp? 

In Florida, your employer isn’t required to hold your job while you recover from your injuries. This may not seem fair. If you hadn’t gotten hurt at work, you wouldn’t be in this position. It doesn’t seem fair that your employer can replace you and hang you out to dry.

Once your employer finds out you’re going to be out for a while, they may want to replace you quickly. They don’t want to have to pay two people to do one job any longer than they have to.

But, it may not really matter if they terminate you or not. Even if you’re not out on workers comp, you can still be fired at any time. Florida is an at-will state. You can be fired for any reason, at any time. Now, if you’re fired for retaliation for your injuries, you may have a claim for wrongful termination. Just keep in mind – wrongful termination cases are very hard to win.

If you are out on workers compensation, your employee may fire you. For all you know, he had planned on firing you before you got hurt. There isn’t much your Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer can do about it.

What if Your Company Closes While You’re Out On Workers Compensation? 

Even if you’re not fired, other things can happen that keep you from returning to work. Your company could shut down while you’re recovering from your injuries. You may be worried that your benefits will run out now that the company is closed. If this happens, you should be okay. Most insurance companies will continue to pay your benefits even after the company closes. They’ll also make sure your medical care is still covered. However, if your workers comp benefits end, you do still have options. 

You may be able to collect disability until you recover from your injuries. Your Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer can help you file for disability.  

To qualify for permanent disability, you have to prove that you can’t return to work for at least one (1) year. This is very difficult to do. You may only be out of commission for a few months. If this is the case, you won’t qualify for long-term disability. However, your attorney may be able to help you qualify for short-term disability.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Workers Compensation Lawyer 

If you get injured on the job, you’ll probably be scared and in a lot of pain. You’ll wonder how you’re going to take care of your family. You may worry that you’ll lose your job. 

The good news is, you don’t have to deal with this yourself. Rely on an experienced Fort Lauderdale workers compensation attorney to handle the legal side of things for you. You need to focus on recovering from your injuries. 

Make sure you follow up with your medical treatment. You could need surgery and physical therapy. This may keep you out of work for weeks or months. Some employees are out for over a year. The important thing is, your lawyer won’t let them make you return to work until you’re ready. 

Call and schedule your free initial consultation with a Fort Lauderdale workers compensation attorney today. You can sit down with an experienced attorney who can answer any questions you may have. He knows the law in Fort Lauderdale. He can review your case and let you know what it may be worth. Call today. The consultation is absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.  

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