Have you recently suffered an injury while working? If so, you may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your losses and injuries.
When you contact our legal team at Sternberg Forsythe, P.A., we will put our decades of experience and expertise to work for you. Having worked in the Fort Lauderdale area for many years, you can feel confident our legal team is ready to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. Regardless of what your claim requires or how complex it may be, we are ready to help protect your rights.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation and Your Rights in Florida
Your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover job-related employee injuries. While there are some exceptions, most employers are required, by law, to have this coverage.
Under the workers’ compensation policy, an employee will receive compensation for injuries that occurred on the job, no matter who is at fault. This coverage keeps employers immune to injury lawsuits filed by employees.
Common Types of Work-Related Injuries That Occur
As an injured worker, you are entitled to receive compensation for all your out-of-pocket costs for medical care, vocational retreating, and lost wages. You may also receive a lump sum payment.
Our legal team has handled thousands of workers’ compensation cases, with some of the most common we see including:
- Total and permanent disability
- Exposure to chemicals, mold, beryllium, asbestos, etc.
- Catastrophic injuries
- Partial or full amputations requiring the use of a prosthesis
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- Surgery for the elbow, shoulder, knee, back, neck, etc.
- Repetitive trauma injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome
Will Your Workers’ Comp Claim Go to Court?
There are some situations where you don’t have to make a court appearance to receive benefits. One of the reasons for this is that our attorneys can go to court for you and serve as your advocate. Our law team is dedicated to making the process as simple and smooth as possible while you focus on things like recovery. You can count on us to help you recover the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Any worker who has been injured or developed an illness in the course of their employment is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits you receive are determined by the severity of your illness or injury and if the results are permanent, temporary, or partial. The benefits you receive should cover all medical treatment required to reach MMI – maximum medical improvement.
Some of the types of workers’ compensation benefits we can recover for you include:
- Medical test costs
- Physical therapy
- Wage replacement
- Hospitalization and doctor’s visits
- Reemployment services
- Prescription medications
- Mileage reimbursement
Along with helping you recover compensation for medical expenses, workers’ compensation benefits will also offset your lost income due to your injuries. Usually, the benefits equate to about two-thirds of your weekly wage and are paid bi-weekly.
There are a few different types of benefits you may receive. These include:
- Temporary partial benefits: If a doctor releases you to return to work, but you achieved MMI and can only earn 80% or less than your prior wages, you receive temporary partial benefits.
- Temporary total benefits: If you are completely disabled while recovering from the illness or injury but are expected to go back to work in the future, you receive temporary total benefits.
- Permanent impairment benefits: If you are in a situation where you achieved MMI but still have a functional, psychological, or physical impairment the doctor does not expect to improve, you receive permanent total benefits. The benefits are the percentage of disability your doctor provides, called the impairment rating.
- Permanent total benefits: For situations where you are completely disabled and will not improve nor be able to work to support yourself or your family, you can receive benefits permanently.
- Death benefits: If you have a loved one who passed away because of a workplace illness or injury, and the death occurred within a year of the accident or within five years of ongoing disability, you are entitled to receive funeral expenses and dependency benefits.
Our team of experienced and dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys understands the importance of making sure you get the benefits you deserve. We will fight for your rights and ensure you have the funds needed to recover from your work-related injury or illness.
Common Questions About Florida Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you are injured on the job and plan to file a workers’ compensation claim, it’s only natural to have questions. Some of the most common are answered here.
Does your injury make you qualified for workers’ compensation benefits?
Workers’ compensation benefits can be used by any employee who experiences a work-related illness or injury. This means that your illness or injury must occur because of your work-related tasks. This can include repetitive trauma, occupational diseases, physical injuries, and others caused by different workplace accidents.
How long do you have to let your employer know about the injury or illness?
According to Florida law, you have just 30 days from when the incident occured to file a report or inform them of your work-related illness or injury.
How long will your employer have to report your injury?
Employers in Florida must file a report regarding your accident, injury, and illness within seven days after learning about the incident.
How much of your medical bills will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits?
Your workers’ compensation benefits will cover multiple medical costs, which include (but aren’t limited to):
- Transport to the emergency room
- Emergency room care
- Hospital stays
- Required medical treatment
Usually, any treatment considered necessary or ordered by your doctor or another medical professional should be covered by your workers’ compensation benefits. Your doctor or another medical provider will submit the medical bills to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company to receive payment.
Can you select your own doctor for treatment?
In 1997, Florida law was changed, and it now requires all employers to provide any medically necessary treatment for employees through a managed care arrangement. As a worker, you must see one of the authorized physicians. However, a stipulation allows injured workers to change their treating physician one time and acquire a second opinion from a doctor who works in the same specialty. Employees can also have one IME (independent medical examination) by a qualified treating physician if they do not feel satisfied with the authorized treating physician’s care.
Can you recover lost wages?
According to Florida workers’ comp law, benefits will not be paid for the initial seven days of a disability. If you lose time because the disability lasts longer than 21 days, you can receive payment for the initial seven days from the insurance provider.
Usually, the bi-weekly benefit payments you receive will be around 66.6% of your average weekly wage. This is calculated using what you earned the 13 weeks directly before your injury, not counting the week the injury occurred. If you worked under 75% of the 13-week-period, then the wages of a similar employee at the same establishment who has worked 75% of the period or your full-time wage will be used to calculate this amount. Most people receive their first benefits check within 21 days of reporting the injury to their employer.
What if you are having trouble getting the benefits you deserve?
While the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system in Florida, you can still have issues while trying to recover the benefits you are owed. If this happens, our legal team is ready to help. You can feel confident that we will work to help you recover the benefits you deserve quickly without any serious issues or speed bumps. We are ready and able to evaluate your case to determine the proper course of action that meets your needs, and that will help maximize your financial recovery.
Contact an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Unfortunately, workers are injured and develop work-related illnesses all the time. If you are in this situation and need help recovering the benefits you are entitled to, we are here to help. Reach out to our legal team at Sternberg Forsythe, P.A., to learn more about our services or to schedule a free consultation. You can feel confident that our legal team will fight aggressively for your rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can get to work on your case.