People get hurt at work all the time. You could be doing your job one minute and on your way to the hospital the next. Your employer is supposed to take care of you when this happens. They should make sure you get medical care and take care of your wages. Even if they promise to do this, you still need to call a Miami workers compensation lawyer.
There’s no guarantee that your boss will do what he’s supposed to do. For all you know, he may advise the insurance company to deny your claim.
Your Miami workers compensation attorney can handle the legal side of your claim while you focus on getting well. You need to follow all of your doctor’s instructions. Go to all of your appointments. Keep your Miami workers comp lawyer updated with any new information.
If your situation changes, you have to let your attorney know. If your employer is demanding that you return to work early, he needs to know. If they’re requiring you to go on light duty, he has to be made aware. He’ll have to reach out to your employer or the insurance company to resolve issues for you.
Even if you’ve been at the same job for years and trust your employer, you need a Miami personal injury lawyer right away. It’s the insurance company that makes the decisions on whether or not to approve your claim. Your attorney will make sure he’s kept abreast of any decisions made by the insurance company.
Things to Do If You Suffer a Workplace Injury
There are a few steps you need to take if you get hurt while on the job.
- Report your accident to your manager or the Director of Human Resources: If you can’t do this yourself, have a co-worker let them know. You need to make sure your HR manager is aware of what’s happened. He’s the person who will report your injury to the insurance company. He’s also the one who will arrange for you to get medical treatment.
- Fill out an accident report: This is crucial. Your incident report documents the details of your injury. It will list how you were hurt and who witnessed the accident. You’ll be asked to describe your injuries and let them know where you believe you’re injured. Your workers comp attorney will need this report for your claim.
- Get medical treatment immediately: If you wait too long to get treatment, your claim will be denied. You also need to make sure you receive treatment from a company approved doctor. If you don’t do this, your claim will almost certainly be denied. Every company has an approved doctor who treats work related injury. Yes they do this because their doctor will support them if your claim goes to court. However, you don’t really have a say in the matter.
- Call a Miami workers compensation lawyer. If you get hurt on the job, your Miami workers compensation attorney will make sure you receive the benefits you deserve.
- 1 Things to Do If You Suffer a Workplace Injury
- 2 What are the Common Types of Workplace Injuries?
- 3 The Florida Workers Compensation Statute
- 4 Why Would Your Claim be Denied?
- 5 Your Miami 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 Miami Workers Compensation Attorney
What are the Common Types of Workplace Injuries?
Certain industries are known to have more workplace injuries than other. It really depends on the kind of work you do. If you do a lot of physical labor, chances are, you’ll be injured more easily than someone with a desk job. Some of the industries that experience the most work-related accidents are:
- 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.
It doesn’t really matter what industry you work in, you could suffer a work-related injury. Some of the more common workers compensation injuries include:
- Back Injuries: A lot of workers comp claims involve back injuries. These are often times related to disc issues. Most require surgery and physical therapy.
- Knee Injuries: 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.
- Carpal Tunnel: 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.
- Neck Injuries: 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.
- 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: If you work around certain chemicals, you could end up with a breathing condition or even cancer.
If you suffer any of these injuries, you may end up needing to file a workers compensation claim in Miami.
The Florida Workers Compensation Statute
Each state is a little different when it comes to how workers compensation claims are handled. Almost every state has a Division of Workers Compensation who oversees all claims. This Division is also responsible for handling appeals and benefits issues.
According to the Florida workers compensation statute, you’re entitled to workers comp benefits as long as you meet the following 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 will probably receive your medical benefits and wages.
If your claim is approved, you’ll receive medical care and replacement wages. In Miami, 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 these guidelines, you should be fine. However, some workers comp cases are denied.
Thankfully, your Miami workers compensation attorney will help you file a lawsuit against your employer if your claim is not paid.
Why Would Your Claim be Denied?
There is a chance that your workers comp claim will be denied. There are different reasons why this can happen. Regardless of the reason for the denial, workers compensation attorneys can help you file an appeal.
Some of the reasons an injured worker’s claim may be denied include:
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident. Most employers will deny a claim on this basis. If you’re lucky, your employer may have special programs for people who suffer from substance abuse and get injured on the job. They may offer you rehabilitation.
- You weren’t working at the time of your injury – If you’re not on the clock, your claim won’t be approved. In order to file a petition for benefits, you need to get hurt while you’re actually on the job.
- You were terminated prior to your injury – Believe it or not, some people get hurt after they’ve been fired and still try to collect workers comp. This is not allowed. The Florida statutes don’t include coverage for terminated employees.
- Outside the Scope – If you were doing something outside the scope of your normal employment at the time of your injury, your injuries may not be covered. It depends on your employer. If you work for a company who normally doesn’t fight issues like this, you may be covered. However, most employees will challenge your claim.
Your Miami 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 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 Miami, 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. An experienced Miami workers compensation lawyer will have the skills to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
Most employers would rather settle a claim than go to court. They don’t want to have to deal with the time and expense of a lawsuit. The insurance company doesn’t want to go either. They’d also rather settle than pay out a long claim.
You don’t want to drag out a long claim either. In Florida, employers do not have to hold your job while you’re out on workers comp. You may want to work out a settlement and move on to your next job.
Just keep in mind, if you settle your workers comp claim, you can’t go back later and ask for more money. Your settlement will close your claim. This is why your Miami workers compensation lawyer will make sure he knows what your estimated future medical bills are. He’ll ensure that this amount is included in your settlement.
What if You’re Fired While Out on Workers Comp?
In Florida, employees can e terminated while they’re out on workers compensation. As long as your benefits are paid, your employer doesn’t have to keep your job open. Once they learn that you’ll be out for a few months or longer, they will probably look to fill your spot. They can’t afford to do without an employee for that long. Nor can they afford to pay two people to do the same job.
Remember, Florida is an at-will state. 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.
Our employer may have been prepared to fire you anyway. If this is the case, there’s not much you or your lawyer can do about it. They may have a file showing that you’ve been written up and disciplined in the past. They may even claim that you got hurt because you knew you were going to be fired.
This happens more than you think. If you believe you were fired for retaliation for filing a workers comp claim, your lawyer can file a case for wrongful termination. Just keep in mind- the odds of winning this type of lawsuit are very low.
What if Your Company Closes While You’re Out On Workers Compensation?
The other thing that can happen to you while you’re out on workers comp is that your company closes. There may be no employer to go back to. If they close their doors, you should continue to receive your workers comp benefits. However, if your workers comp benefits end because the company didn’t pay their insurance, you have options.
Perhaps you can collect disability while you’re waiting to get better. Your Miami workers compensation lawyer can help you file for disability.
If your injuries are just temporary, you can file for short-term disability. For disabilities that are going to be permanent, it’s a lot harder. The requirements for disability are much stricter than they are for workers compensation.
To qualify for permanent disability, you have to prove that you can’t return to work for at least one (1) year. You must also demonstrate that you won’t be able to return to the job you held before. Over 70% of all applicants for disability are denied when they first apply for benefits.
Contact a Miami Workers Compensation Attorney
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 Miami workers compensation lawyer 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 Miami 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 Miami. 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.