Most employers in Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to mitigate conflicts among employers and employees when a work injury occurs.
Workers’ compensation insurance (usually) prevents employees from suing their employer. This is great news for all parties involved. However, do you know what workers’ compensation covers if you are injured on the job? Will your employer be liable for injuries and damages beyond what the workers’ comp insurance covers?
These are great questions and ones our attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. aim to answer here.
What Does Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation in Florida is designed to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs when you sustain a work injury. Specifically, you may be entitled to:
- Payment for all authorized medical treatments, including doctors’ visits, hospitalization, and prescribed medications.
- Temporary disability benefits for wage loss if you’re unable to work for a specified time
- Permanent disability benefits if you can’t return to work or must take on a lesser-paying job due to your injury
- Vocational rehabilitation services to assist you in finding suitable employment
What If a Third Party Is Involved?
Sometimes, a third party, like a subcontractor or equipment manufacturer, might be responsible for your work injury. In such scenarios, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against the third party in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.
A successful lawsuit could yield compensation for pain and suffering, something not available through workers’ compensation alone.
The Reality of Pain and Suffering in Workers’ Compensation
Florida’s workers’ compensation laws do not explicitly cover pain and suffering, unlike personal injury lawsuits where such damages might be awarded. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you don’t need to prove your employer was negligent to receive benefits. The trade-off, however, is that you’re generally not entitled to compensation for emotional distress, inconvenience, or pain and suffering.
When Might Pain and Suffering Be Covered Indirectly?
While the Florida workers’ compensation system doesn’t account for pain and suffering, specific allowances can provide some relief:
- Medical Treatment for Pain Management: Your authorized treating physician may prescribe pain management treatments, such as medications or therapies, as part of your medical care.
- Psychological Counseling: If your work injury has led to emotional distress or mental health conditions like PTSD or depression, workers’ compensation may cover treatment from a qualified mental health professional.
- Global Settlements: Sometimes, parties agree to a lump-sum settlement that encompasses all future medical expenses and lost wages. While pain and suffering aren’t specified, you could use a portion of this lump sum for related care or relief.
Why Consulting a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Is Crucial ?
Navigating the intricacies of Florida’s workers’ compensation system can be overwhelming, especially when you’re already dealing with the physical and emotional toll of a work injury. Consulting a workers’ compensation lawyer isn’t just a smart choice; it’s crucial for ensuring you get the benefits and medical attention you rightfully deserve.
Specific reasons to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer from Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., include:
Expertise in Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation laws in Florida are complex and ever-changing. Having a lawyer on your side ensures you’re up-to-date with the most recent legal stipulations. Your attorney can handle paperwork, ensure deadlines and legal requirements are met, and reduce the chances of errors that could compromise your claim.
Advocate for Your Rights and Benefits
A workers’ compensation lawyer acts as your advocate, negotiating with insurance companies and your employer to make sure you’re receiving the benefits you are entitled to. Whether securing the right medical care, obtaining wage loss benefits, or fighting for a fair settlement, a skilled lawyer can be the difference between a denied claim and the financial support necessary for your recovery.
Representation in Disputes and Appeals
Unfortunately, not all workers’ compensation claims are approved on the first attempt. In such cases, a lawyer becomes indispensable for challenging denials and navigating the appeals process. With their expertise, they can gather the necessary evidence, represent you in hearings, and make a compelling case for why your claim should be approved.
In the wake of a work injury, your primary focus should be recovery, not stressing over legal paperwork or wrangling with insurance adjusters. Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer gives you the peace of mind to focus on your health, secure in the knowledge that an experienced professional is advocating for your best interests.
Contact Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., for Assistance with Your Florida Workers’ Compensation Claim
Florida’s workers’ compensation program has benefits and drawbacks. While it can help you cover medical bills and replace your lost wages after a work injury, the benefits may fall short for more serious or long-term injuries.
At Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., you can count on our experienced attorneys to advocate to ensure you have the full benefits required to recover. We will use every avenue of legal recourse to pursue this.
If you have been injured on the job and need legal assistance, Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.