Each year, thousands of Florida residents are injured in workplace accidents. If you are injured on the job, Florida offers workers’ compensation to provide you with financial assistance while you can’t work.
As an injured worker, you deserve to receive coverage for your workplace injury. This is true even if the accident was fully or partly your fault. Unfortunately, some injured workers’ discover that their employers or the insurance company take significant steps to deny the claim.
If you find yourself in this situation, the experienced Pembroke Pines workers’ compensation attorneys from Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. can help. We have a history of success fighting for our client’s rights to receive these benefits and work to ensure they get what you deserve.
Related Article: 3 Common Questions about Workers’ Compensation in Florida
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Requirements for Pembroke Pines Employers
Workers’ compensation is mandatory for any employer with four or more employees. It is also a “no-fault” system.
It doesn’t matter if you were negligent or at fault for your accident and injury – you can still file a claim and receive benefits. While this is true, many employers still try to avoid paying benefits by claiming your injury is “fake,” from a preexisting condition, or occurred beyond your scope of employment.
Pembroke Pines Workers’ Compensation Benefits Explained
The type and amount of workers’ compensation benefits depend on your illness or injury severity. To be considered eligible for these benefits, you must experience a physical illness or injury (though Florida is beginning to recognize mental conditions caused by workplace incidents). While this is true, there must be a strong correlation between the physical injury and your mental or nervous injuries to receive compensation for them.
According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common types of non-fatal injuries reported in Florida workers’ compensation claims include fractures, sprains, and cuts. Repetitive strain or overuse injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome, are also common. It may result in the need for expensive surgeries, extensive recovery time, and the need for career changes later in life.
Usually, medical and disability benefits are dispersed based on an established compensation schedule. The benefits check is usually two-thirds of your average weekly wage (with caps being in place).
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Other types of disability benefits may be payable; however, it depends on the type and severity of the workplace injury you sustained. These include:
- Permanent disability benefits: If you experience a permanent injury but are only considered partially impaired (this means you can still handle some types of work), you can receive permanent partial disability benefits.
- Disability income benefits: Social Security Disability benefits are for anyone with a permanent disability that will last over a year and result in the individual being unable to perform the work they did in the past or find new work.
- Supplemental benefits: This type of benefit is paid by an injured workers’ employer and can help you if your injuries are too severe.
- Permanent total benefits: This type of benefit is applied if you can’t work because of severe injuries.
- Death benefits: If a worker dies because of a workplace accident or injury, their family can receive benefits to pay for funeral costs, dependent support, or educational support.
It is important to note that filing for any type of workers’ compensation benefit is complicated and full of red tape. It’s smart to enlist the help of an experienced and trusted workers’ compensation lawyer in Florida, regardless of the type of benefits you are entitled to.
Common Types of Workplace Injuries
Unfortunately, all types of injuries are possible at work or on a job site. The injury you experience depends on your industry and job.
While this is true, some workplace injuries are more common than others. Some of the most common at-work injuries include:
Due to the demands for increased flexibility, joints are extremely susceptible to injury. If this type of injury occurs, it can be extremely painful and even debilitating. They often require surgery and take a long time to heal. Joint injuries requiring surgery or extended convalescence periods can receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Some of the most common (and often) most serious injuries are to the back. Events like lifting an object that is too heavy or slipping and falling can cause a back injury. In other cases, repetitive actions, such as bending and lifting throughout the day, can result in a back injury. If you have a pre-existing condition, it may be aggravated by various activities you do at work.
This type of injury is caused by overuse when muscles get tired and can’t absorb the additional shock of hard work or heavy lifting. As time passes, your fatigued muscles will move the load to the bone, which can cause a fracture or crack.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This is a painful condition and occurs if the nerves in your wrist are compressed. It is a very common condition in the U.S. and Florida and the leading contributor to lost time on the job. If you experience this injury, you will likely have numbness, tingling, and burning in your arms, hands, and fingers.
Related Article: Why Doesn’t Workers’ Compensation Cover Pain and Suffering?
Steps for Filing a Florida Workers’ Compensation Claim
Based on Florida law, if you experience an injury at work, you have 30 days from when the accident occurred to report it to your employer. Your employer must report the injury to their insurance provider within a week.
If all this is done properly, you have up to two years to file a workers’ compensation claim. Once your accident is reported to your employer’s insurance company, you will receive a call from an insurance adjuster with additional details about how to follow up and continue the claim process.
The IME- independent medical examination is an important aspect of any Florida workers’ compensation claim. You should seek an IME from the approved medical provider immediately after an injury because your injury will greatly impact the benefits you receive.
The insurance company authorizes the approved medical provider for your employer. However, if you have more severe injuries, it’s important to contact your employer and let them know about the situation immediately. Doing this will increase the likelihood that they will help you throughout the process.
The IME’s purpose is to determine your medical condition’s seriousness and confirm that it occurred on the job.
Costs Compensated by Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The workers’ compensation benefits you receive should cover all your hospital, medical, and dental costs. You can also receive coverage for any prescriptions your doctor gives you or medical equipment.
Make sure you don’t skip your scheduled appointments. If you do, your benefits may be stopped. If you have to travel to your appointments, you may be able to receive compensation for your gas mileage. Make sure you track your appointments and save all your medical-related receipts.
Appealing a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim
As mentioned above, there is a chance your workers’ compensation claim will be denied. If this happens, you have the right to contest the denial through the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims. At this point, our experienced workers’ compensation attorney is essential if you plan to move forward with the appeal process. Our legal team can help to improve your claims by providing expert testimony, medical record evidence, and more.
Also, with the help of our attorneys, we can negotiate a settlement through an alternative dispute resolution process, like arbitration or mediation. Usually, workers’ compensation cases will be settled before they make it to court; however, you can count on our attorneys to represent you if you must have your case heard by a judge of compensation claims.
It’s important to remember that these situations are complex; however, they are also emotional. The entire legal process can make you feel an array of emotions related to your accident and injury, from anxiety to anger, fear, and more. You should reduce the stress you experience by hiring our legal team to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
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Why Working with Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Pembroke Pines Is Smart
If you have suffered an injury due to a workplace accident, Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. provides clients with a free initial case evaluation. Our legal team will review your case and assess its strengths.
During this initial meeting, we will let you know what rights you have and any course of action available to you. We will also ensure you have access to the right attorney for your situation. All this is offered at no charge to you.
We also provide a “No Recovery, No Fee” promise to clients, which ensures you have peace of mind that there is no obligation to pay us until we help you receive the payout you deserve. We never receive payment unless you do. If you need A Florida workers’ compensation attorney in Pembroke Pines, our team is ready to provide your needed services. We will fight for your rights and ensure you are satisfied with the results achieved.
If you need help with your workers’ compensation claim, be sure to contact us today and schedule your free initial consultation.