Florida workers’ compensation attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. understand the impact and challenges presented by workplace accidents. They can lead to serious, debilitating conditions that affect your health and life in many ways. We are here to help you with your workers’ compensation claim and work to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.
However, when receiving workers’ compensation benefits, many of our clients want to know why they can’t get compensation for pain and suffering. Find out more about Florida workers’ compensation laws and your rights to benefits and compensation here.
Your Right to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Florida
According to Florida law, you receive workers’ compensation coverage from your employer if you work for a business or company that has three or more employees. It’s not legal for businesses or companies to have over three employees and not purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
It doesn’t matter how or why you are hurt. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault type of insurance. This means it doesn’t matter if you are at fault for your injuries; you can receive benefits for your medical treatment and lost wages. When it comes to pain and suffering, though, things get a little more complex.
What Are Pain and Suffering?
The term “pain and suffering” applies to the emotional and physical stress you experience after an accident. It is based on the pain your injury caused or the lifestyle changes you had to make because of it.
In traditional personal injury lawsuits, pain and suffering are considered general damages. Some examples of this include:
- Depression or anxiety
- The inability to do things you enjoyed in the past
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Humiliation, anger, or fear
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement or scarring
If you are involved in a car accident, you may experience pain and frustration when trying to do daily tasks you could do easily before the incident. If someone is burned at work, they may suffer humiliation or embarrassment in social situations due to their disfigured appearance or scars.
Put simply, pain and suffering damages are anything that reduces your quality of life due to physical injuries.
Workers’ Compensation vs. Traditional Insurance Claims
Even though you can recover pain and suffering damages when you file a personal injury lawsuit, it doesn’t work that way with a workers’ compensation claim. The purpose of workers’ compensation was to make it easier for workers to file a claim with their employers.
In most workers’ compensation claims, your benefits include the following:
- Payment for medical treatment
- Wage benefits (if your injury keeps you from working for a minimum of seven days)
- Rehabilitation benefits
- Death benefits (if you die, your dependents receive benefits)
You don’t have to sue your employer to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Since it is a no-fault system, if your employer has more than three employees and you can prove the injury occurred while you were at work, then you can receive the benefits mentioned above. However, there’s a trade-off – you won’t receive pain and suffering benefits through workers’ compensation.
Some injured workers become frustrated when they learn they won’t receive compensation for pain and suffering from their workers’ compensation claim. They may be in significant pain and dealing with emotional and physical turmoil. Unfortunately, this is a limit on workers’ compensation benefits.
While you can’t get pain and suffering damages with your claim, it’s smart to work with our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys to ensure you receive the full benefits you are entitled to. This will help reduce your stress as you seek treatment and help you recover from your injuries.
Are There Any Situations When You Can Receive Pain and Suffering Benefits?
While pain and suffering aren’t offered by a workers’ compensation claim, there are some situations when you can seek these damages from a third party that had a role in your workplace accident.
An example would be if you were operating a vehicle while clocked into work. During your drive, someone crashes into you, and you are seriously injured. You would obviously have a workers’ compensation claim because the accident occurred while you were on the clock and handling job tasks. However, it may also be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Injuries that occur in a serious car accident may result in you receiving pain and suffering damages. It’s best to get in touch with our attorneys to learn if this is an option for your case. There’s a good chance you can file a personal injury claim against the driver at-fault, which could include compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced.
Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Rights After an At-Work Accident
While there are limits on what you can receive from a workers’ compensation claim, your benefits will help reduce the out-of-pocket costs you have due to an accident. One of the best things you can do is to understand your rights and take steps to protect yourself throughout the claims process.
Some things you can do to protect your rights and ensure you receive the benefits and compensation deserved after a work accident include:
Report the Incident Right Away
You have limited time to report the workplace injury to your employer. In Florida, you have 30 days to report the accident. While this is true, it’s best to report the incident immediately. If you don’t report the injury on time, you may lose your right to receive benefits. It’s also more difficult to remember exactly what happened as more time passes.
Get in Touch with Our Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
While most workers’ compensation cases are simple and stress-free, issues can arise. One example is if your employer or their insurance provider attempts to downplay the injuries you experienced. If this happens, our legal team is ready to help ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
If you want to ensure you aren’t taken advantage of and receive the full benefits you are entitled to, get in touch with our Florida workers’ compensation attorney immediately. We don’t require any upfront fees and only receive a payment if you get your benefits.
Seek Medical Attention for Your Work-Caused Injuries
After reporting the injury, your employer should give you a list of approved doctors to see for treatment. These are the doctors covered by their workers’ compensation insurance policy. You must go to an authorized physician to be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. It’s also required that you follow their treatment instructions.
Keep a record of all your costs related to your workplace injury. This includes medical bills, how much time you missed from work, and other information you believe could be important or helpful. If possible, take pictures of where your accident occurred. Any type of accident-related documentation you receive can be beneficial if you deal with problems with your claim.
Get in Touch with Us for Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you experience an on-the-job injury, you have rights. One right is to receive benefits from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. If you have issues securing the benefits you are entitled to, experienced attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. are ready to help. We will review the facts of your case and help you with the legal process.
While it can be frustrating to have your benefits denied, we are here to help. Get started today by scheduling a free initial consultation to discuss your case.