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Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

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Workplace accidents can occur in any industry and any setting, from construction sites to office buildings. When a serious injury keeps you from being able to do your job, it’s understandable to worry about medical costs, missing out on paychecks, and possible retaliation from your employer for pursuing financial compensation.

If you are hurt on the job, you might be shocked that your employer and insurance carrier can deny you the compensation you’re entitled to. Fortunately, help is available. Our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers at Berlin Law Firm provide legal protection and support for injured employees across the state. Evaluations for new cases are free. Schedule yours today.

Berlin Law Firm

Discuss Your Work Injury Claim for Free

Learn the types of compensation you may be eligible for and have your questions answered. Call today.

Workers’ compensation in Florida is meant to provide you with peace of mind and keep you afloat financially while you are recovering.

Berlin Law Firm Serves Our Injured Workers

The attorneys at Berlin Law Firm are here to stand up for the rights of injured workers in Florida. With over 30 years of experience in this complex legal field, we’ll guide you step by step through the process to make sure you get the full amount of workers comp that you are owed.

We are dedicated to handling your claim effectively and swiftly so that you can focus fully on your recovery and getting back to work.

In our pursuit of justice on our clients’ behalf, we can help with the following:

  • If your employer denies your claim, we can help you appeal and then represent you in court.
  • We can help you obtain damages for lost wages.
  • Obtain the medical care you need and deserve.
  • And more.

Florida Workers’ Compensation Laws

With a few exceptions, most Florida businesses with at least four employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If an employee is injured at work while performing their job duties, their employer must notify their workers’ compensation insurance company within seven days after the injury is reported.

About construction workers, every employer, regardless of the number of employees, must carry workers compensation insurance. Additionally, even if you work for a subcontractor that decides not to carry workers compensation insurance, the workers compensation insurance carrier for the general contract will cover your injuries.

Florida Workers’ Compensation law assures “quick and efficient delivery of disability and medical benefits to an injured worker. It requires employers to “facilitate the worker’s return to gainful employment at a reasonable cost to the employer.”

Who Gets Workers’ Compensation in Florida?

Almost all employers in Florida must carry workers’ compensation insurance. The coverage requirements vary slightly by industry.

These industry requirements include:

  • Construction: Employers with one or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Agriculture: Employers with six or more regular employees (or 12 or more seasonal employees) must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Other Industries: Employers with four or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance.

There are some exceptions to these rules — if you aren’t sure, it doesn’t hurt to ask your employer whether they carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Employer Requirements for Florida Workers’ Compensation

Most employers in Florida are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, which provides benefits to help cover medical costs and lost wages for employees who are injured on the job.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also imposes strict reporting requirements on employers. If an employee is injured badly enough to be hospitalized, the employer must report the injury to OSHA within 24 hours. If an employee is killed on the job, an employer has eight hours to report.

Employers are legally obligated to report workplace injuries to the insurance company.

Things Your Employer Cannot Do

Workers’ compensation law protects you from unscrupulous employers. Legally, your employer isn’t allowed to make you use your personal insurance (instead of workers’ comp insurance) for a work injury. They also cannot fire you or otherwise retaliate against you for filing the claim.

If your employer tries to do either of these things, reach out to a Florida workers’ compensation attorney right away. 

Contact our team for free and speak to an attorney today.

Florida Is a No-Fault State

In Florida, workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” systemNo matter whose fault the injury was or who or what caused it or contributed to it, the injured employee is entitled to benefits.

The workers comp system is meant to benefit both employers and employees. By offering workers comp, the employer is released from legal liability in the event of an employee injury. This means that an injured employee can’t sue the employer for negligence.

There are some exceptions. If the employer has been grossly negligent or intentionally harmed an employee, the employee may be able to sue. Whether an employee can legally sue or not is handled on a case-by-case basis.

Third-Party Claims

Workers’ compensation rules strictly limit an employee’s right to sue after an on-the-job injury. However, there are situations where a third party – i.e., a person or entity that is not your direct employer – may have caused or contributed to your injury. If our investigation proves this to be the case, you may be entitled to sue that third party or parties for damages above and beyond what you receive from workers comp. In other words, suing a third party does not put your workers’ comp benefits at risk, but does give you an option to receive additional compensation to cover medical bills, lost or reduced wages, and reduced earning capacity in the future if you sustained a long-term disability.

Liable third parties that can potentially be sued for an on-the-job injury include, but are not limited to:

  • Property owners
  • Independent contractors
  • Members of the public (such as if another driver causes a crash while you’re driving your employer’s vehicle for work purposes)
Berlin Law Firm

Discuss Your Work Injury Claim for Free

Learn the types of compensation you may be eligible for and have your questions answered. Call today.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Florida workers’ compensation laws allow injured workers to obtain three primary types of benefits:

  • Lost wages: If you cannot work temporarily or permanently due to a work injury, you are entitled to benefits generally equal to a portion of your average weekly wage. This percentage varies depending on when you were injured and how long you worked before your accident.
  • Medical bills: All authorized medical bills, including hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and medications, should be submitted to your employer’s insurance company for payment.
  • Job rehabilitation: If you cannot perform your original job duties because of your injury, you can receive compensation for training in a new role.

You can receive Temporary Total or Partial Disability payments, or a combination of the two, for up to 250 weeks. Let’s say your healthcare provider determines you are 100 percent permanently impaired and unable to perform any work. In that case, you will receive payments for the duration of your disability or until age 75.

Benefits and Entitlements of Injured Workers in Florida

In Florida, all employers are required to purchase and maintain workers’ compensation insurance as long as they have four or more employees.  If the employer is in the construction industry, they are required to have workers’ compensation insurance even if only one employee.

Many workers who are injured on the job and reach out to Berlin Law Firm express concern that they may have been partially responsible for the accident. However, Florida is a no-fault state for workers’ compensation insurance, meaning that you can still recover benefits under workers’ compensation even if the injury was completely your fault. As long as you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident and you were not acting with malicious intent, your injury should be covered.

Not only does workers’ compensation cover serious injuries suffered while on the job, but it also covers cumulative injuries, events, and conditions. For example, you may work in a contaminated or toxic work environment that gradually causes debilitating medical conditions that may not be discovered for years.

While some injuries incurred outside of work will not be covered, others will be. For example, if you were driving a company car on your way to pitch an innovation to a client, workers’ compensation could cover an injury sustained in a car crash. These cases can be complex, so it is always best to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

If you are injured while on the job, you may face a lengthy recovery process in which your capacity to return to the workforce is limited or even completely restricted.

Some of the benefits that workers’ compensation may pay you include:

  • Your medical costs
  • Bills for rehabilitation
  • Prescription drugs
  • A portion of your lost wages
  • Necessary travel expenses incurred while pursuing treatment for your injuries
  • Two-thirds of your average weekly wage, with a cap of $575 per week, which is referred to as your income loss replacement benefit
  • If the physician authorized to treat you under the plan issues a disability rating in compliance with the guidelines of the American Medical Association, you may be eligible for Permanent Partial Disability

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How Our Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help

If you aren’t familiar with the workers’ compensation system, it might seem like filing a claim and receiving benefits would be quick and easy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.

Fortunately, an experienced attorney can handle the claims process on your behalf, giving you the time you need to heal. Working with a Florida workers’ comp lawyer can help you in several ways:

  • Maximizing your benefits
  • Helping you navigate the claims process
  • Preserving your job
  • Increasing the value of your settlement
  • Recovering compensation if you were denied

If you’ve been hurt at work, reach out to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Sarasota and Tampa.

Berlin Law Firm

Discuss Your Work Injury Claim for Free

Learn the types of compensation you may be eligible for and have your questions answered. Call today.

Dealing With the Insurance Company

After you report your injury to your employer, they have seven days to notify the insurance company. In most cases, the adjuster will contact you shortly after you report the accident. The insurer has three days to send you an informational brochure explaining your rights and responsibilities and general information about state workers’ compensation laws.

While the workers’ compensation process should be straightforward, that’s not always true. We recommend calling them if you don’t hear from the insurance company within a few days. Ask about the packet and the status of your claim.

If they have no record of your injury or do not provide the required information, contact a Florida workers’ compensation injury lawyer at Berlin Law Firm as soon as possible. Insurance companies have a financial incentive to minimize or deny claims, so having an experienced legal team in your corner is in your best interests.

Resolving Denials, Disputes, and Appeals

In Florida, the percentage of denied workers’ compensation claims is higher than the national average. The good news is that a denial is not the end of your case. More than half of claims which are initially denied are ultimately approved. It helps to have a knowledgeable and determined Florida workers’ compensation lawyer overseeing your appeal.

Why Are Workers’ Comp Claims Denied?

Workers’ Compensation claims are denied for many reasons. Your employer or the insurance carrier may assert that:

  • Your intentional neglect caused your injuries.
  • You were hurt while performing non-job-related activities.
  • Your injury is related to a pre-existing condition.
  • You seek medical care that is not covered under worker’s comp insurance.
  • You filed your claim too late.

Although workers’ comp is a no-fault insurance system, there are some cases where an employee’s actions invalidate their claim, like if they were impaired by substances or acted recklessly on the job. At Berlin Law Firm, we take the time to thoroughly investigate your accident and gather critical evidence to show you were injured at work and that your injury is covered under the law.

Learn more about Denied Claims here.

Appealing a Denied Claim

When it comes to lost income and mounting medical bills, time is of the essence. Our team knows that being out of work after an injury can mean considerable financial hardship for many. That’s why we act quickly to appeal a denied claim.

Initially, we attempt to resolve your case by meeting with your employer and the insurance carrier. From there, we prepare a formal Petition for Benefits with the details of your accident and the losses you’ve experienced. We prepare for all mediation and hearings associated with your appeal.

You still have options if an administrative judge issues a final order denying your petition and appeal. In that case, Berlin Law Firm is fully prepared to take the matter to the next level by filing a formal legal appeal in the District Court. This process generally takes 3-6 months to resolve.

Claims Process Overview

The stress, confusion, and fear surrounding a workplace injury can be intense. Knowing what to expect during the workers’ compensation claims process may help provide you some peace of mind. Here is a general overview of what to expect here in Florida:

  • The first step is, if your injuries allow, to report the accident to your employer. Our lawyers at Berlin Law Firm strongly recommend that you make this report in writing and make sure to date the document. Florida law gives you 30 days in which to report the accident, but the sooner you can report it, the better. Witnesses to the accident will have a more accurate recollection of what they observed in the immediate aftermath of the accident, and your employer can provide you with a list of doctors that are included in the workers’ compensation network.
  • Your employer is then required to file a “First Report of Injury or Illness” form within 10 days of your report.
  • You will typically receive a phone call from the insurance company within 24 hours of reporting your accident to the insurance company.
  • You will obtain an Independent Medical Examination (IME), which is a crucial part of the claims process, where an approved medical provider will confirm that yours was a workplace injury and diagnose the extent of your injury.
  • Until told otherwise, you are still an employee of your employer. Even if you cannot work, make sure that you check in with your employer to provide regular updates about your condition.
  • If your employer denies your claim for workers’ compensation, you have the right to appeal. Our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers can help present your best case to contest this denial of benefits and ensure that you meet all legal deadlines. Contact us for a free consultation.
  • Mediation will then be held with the goal of resolving any lingering disputes, and the judge will then make a ruling. If this ruling is unfavorable to you, you have the option of appealing again, with this resembling more of a trial setting. At the conclusion of this appeal, the judge will make a ruling within 30 days, but even this ruling can be appealed if desired.

See Also:

Berlin Law Firm

Discuss Your Work Injury Claim for Free

Learn the types of compensation you may be eligible for and have your questions answered. Call today.

Injury Types Covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance

As you can imagine, some work injuries may be relatively mild, others are more serious, and others may be life-altering. Here are some types of injuries commonly sustained in workplace accidents:

Call for a Free Consultation

At Berlin Law Firm, our experienced attorneys have represented injured workers here in Florida for nearly 30 years. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial trauma our clients and their families may be experiencing, and we take pride in fighting for their rights.

If you have been injured while on the job, please call Berlin Law Firm today to schedule a zero-cost, zero-obligation consultation.

Berlin Law Firm

Discuss Your Work Injury Claim for Free

Learn the types of compensation you may be eligible for and have your questions answered. Call today.

Berlin Law Firm
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