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DeLand Workers' Compensation Claims
Deland, Florida, located between Orlando and Daytona Beach in Volusia County, has a relatively small population. Still, the surrounding metropolitan regions swell the number of residents to more than half a million people. Considering these numbers, it's just a matter of time before local workers may find themselves injured on the job requiring the help of workers' compensation lawyers in Deland. Morgan and Morgan understand how complex workers' compensation laws and processes can be.
If you have an issue with your workers' compensation claim or need to appeal a decision that didn't go in your favor, we can set you up for the best chance of winning. Every seven seconds, an employee in the United States is injured while performing their work. Sometimes, these injuries are severe or even fatal. We work with individuals and families who have been victims of workplace injury to ensure they get the most out of their workers' compensation claims.
We know you have a lot of questions that need to be answered. For example, you might wonder how the claims process works, who is covered by workers' comp insurance, and what sort of injuries are covered. We'll try to answer all of these questions and more, but don't hesitate to reach out to us so we can give you a personalized free case evaluation.
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How Does Workers' Compensation Work in Florida?
In most instances, you can pursue a workers' compensation claim when you're injured or develop a work-related illness while on the job in Florida. Most workers have the legal right to do this. However, to be successful, there are procedures you must follow. For example, according to Florida law, you're required to inform your employer of the incident within 30 days. You may file a claim for benefits within two years of the date of the accident or upon discovering you've developed a work-related illness. Still, there are some exceptions. If you need clarification on your specific case, reach out to one of our qualified workers' compensation lawyers in Deland.
Once you've reported the accident, your employer should report the injury to their insurance carrier as soon as possible (not to exceed seven days), and the insurance carrier must send you information within three days of being put on notice by your employer. The information they send should explain your rights and responsibilities, along with further information about workers' compensation laws in Florida.
If your employer does not contact their insurance carrier, you have the right to inform them yourself. However, in our opinion, this is a red flag indicating your employer does not intend to treat you fairly. At this point, we recommend talking to one of our lawyers.
The medical care needed to treat your injury or illness should be 100% covered by your employer, including emergency room visits, doctor appointments, testing, medication, and any rehabilitative treatment you need. However, you need to use a medical provider that is authorized by your employer or insurance company. Submit all relevant bills to your employer to get reimbursed. Still, if you disagree with the insurance company's doctor's diagnosis, you can petition for a change of doctor. We can help ensure you comply with all the regulations for a successful claim.
Will I Get Reimbursed for Missing Work Due to My Injury?
Under Florida law, you won't get paid for the first seven days unless your disability caused you to lose 21 or more days of work. You should get a benefit check that is 66 ⅓ percent of your average weekly wage bi-weekly until you've been released to return to work by your doctor. If you've been declared temporarily totally or temporarily partially disabled, you can receive these benefits for up to 104 weeks. Your average weekly pay is determined by using wages earned in the 13 weeks prior to your injury, excluding the week the incident took place. These pay benefits are not taxed, so while only receiving a percentage of your pay sounds bad at first, when you figure in no tax deductions, your check should be close to what you're accustomed to receiving. You should expect to get a check within 21 days of informing your employer of your injury.
Things can get pretty complicated if you're receiving a combination of social security and workers' compensation benefits. Suppose this scenario matches you, and you don't feel like you're getting the full benefits you're entitled to receive. In that case, our workers' compensation lawyers in Deland can set things right.
Are Florida Employers Required to Hold My Job for Me, or Can They Fire Me After an on-the-Job Injury?
Unfortunately, no legal provisions require a Florida employer to retain your job while you recover. However, they cannot fire you simply because you filed a workers' comp claim. That is illegal because it is a protected right for all workers. If your employer fires you from the job or retaliates in any way just because you attempted to file or did file a workers' comp claim, Morgan and Morgan can help to hold them accountable.
What Happens if I Can No Longer Do the Type of Work I Used to Perform?
You may be eligible to receive free reemployment services to help you return to the workforce. These services may include vocational counseling, job training, retraining, and analyses of skills that are transferable. This is your right, so we recommend you take advantage of these services when ready to return to work.
What Can I Do if My Deland Workers' Compensation Claim Is Denied?
In many instances, you may be denied because of missing information or because you need to follow the procedure correctly. It's no time to panic because our lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. The first step is identifying the reason the claim was denied. Here are some common reasons that we see on a regular basis:
Questionable injury - Only injury or illness incurred during the course of your employment duties are eligible for workers' comp benefits. Disputes may arise if your employer believes your injury was the result of something while not on the clock, such as break time, or if you were hurt because you were fooling around.
Pre-existing injuries and medical conditions are also common reasons to be denied. For example, suppose you slipped and fell while playing soccer and walked around with a knee brace earlier in the year. Then later, at work, you slip and fall again, this time tearing a ligament. They may argue that since you had a bum knee previously, the real cause was the pre-existing injury.
Likewise, suppose you're a smoker who works in construction renovation and later develops chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Your employer may argue they aren't responsible because your smoking is an aggravating factor, not breathing in contaminants from the work environment. In instances like these, a workers' comp lawyer can help get medical verification that your condition is work-related.
Delayed filing of your application - You are supposed to notify your employer within 30 days of an injury. If you miss this deadline, it can be used against you. However, suppose you didn't realize the extent of your injury at the time, or you didn't put your diagnosed illness together with your employment until later. In that case, we can help demonstrate that you filed as soon as you understood the connection.
Illness not covered - Normal illnesses that we develop as we age, like heart disease, for example, are not covered under workers' comp. Likewise, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and the like would not be eligible illnesses. Occupational diseases that are recognized include tendonitis, hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Even so, these diseases must be directly linked to your work environment, with medical evidence to back it up. Still, suppose you have a pre-existing condition that was further aggravated in the work environment. In that case, you may see a reduction in wage benefits.
Once you understand the objections, you'll need an attorney to devise a strategy to respond and overcome the objections. This often comes down to the opinion and testimony of expert medical witnesses.
Why to File an Appeal When Your Workers' Compensation Claim Is Denied?
The next step after receiving notification of denial is to file an appeal. When you receive the rejection, it will contain instructions on how to go about this. At this time, we strongly recommend you have legal representation to ensure you follow procedure. You have two years to do this, but it's in your best interest to start immediately.
We'll prepare you to present your case and the evidence we help gather to the administrative judge in the most favorable light. This judge will decide if they're satisfied with your arguments and evidence and will either approve or deny the claim. Still, even if this judge denies benefits, you can appeal to higher levels of the court.
When Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Workplace Injury?
Unfortunately, in the majority of instances, a workers’ compensation claim is your only remedy. The exceptions are if a third party caused your injury. For example, suppose a cleaning company mopped the floors, and you slipped and fell because there were no warning signs out. In that case, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the cleaning company along with a worker’s compensation claim through your employer.
What Are the Disqualifiers for Workers' Compensation Benefits?
We already mentioned a few reasons why your claim might be denied, but some are very difficult to overcome. Here are a few examples that may disqualify you from receiving benefits:
- You refuse a drug test
- You don't comply with the doctor's recommended treatment plan
- You did not report the incident to your employer
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident
- The injury doesn't conflict with your ability to do your job in any way
- You were not on the clock at the time of the injury
- You were doing something outside the scope of your job at the time of the injury
- You intentionally inflicted your injury upon yourself
Who Are the Biggest Employers Around Deland, Florida?
Often, larger employers are the most likely to have workers' compensation policies and procedures under control. It's often smaller employers who make mistakes that might require the help of workers' compensation lawyers in Deland. Still, even big employers sometimes make mistakes, or their insurance company wants to avoid paying a large settlement for significant injuries. In that case, Morgan and Morgan can be fierce advocates representing your interests. We're not afraid to take on the Goliaths any more than a small business. Here are some of the region's largest employers:
- AdventHealth System
- Halifax Hospital System
- Publix Supermarkets, Inc.
- Walmart Associates, Inc.
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- Florida Healthcare Plans
- Brunswick Corporation
- Stetson University
- Winn Dixie Super Markets
Although the following employers fall under different workers' compensation policies, we also handle public-sector employee disputes, including up to the federal level. Here are some of the largest city, county, and federal employers in the Deland area:
- Volusia County Schools
- State of Florida
- County of Volusia
- Daytona State College
- City of Daytona Beach
- United States Post Office
- Volusia County Sheriff's Office
- City of New Smyrna Beach
- City of Port Orange
- City of Deland
Workers' Compensation Lawyers in Deland
It's essential to work with a lawyer who understands Florida workers' compensation law and has extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies. At Morgan and Morgan, we have been representing injured workers for more than 30 years and take pride in putting people first, not profits. Contact us today if you've been turned down for benefits or feel like you need to get the maximum compensation possible. We can help you meet the requirements for a successful claim by working diligently to gather evidence and develop a winning strategy. When you work with workers’ compensation lawyers in Deland, your odds of success improve dramatically.
Get in touch for a free case evaluation and experience the Morgan and Morgan difference.