Workers’ compensation is meant to benefit everyone involved. Even when it does, it can be helpful to have a lawyer. But sometimes it doesn’t benefit an injured employee like it should, and at times like these it’s more important than ever to have experienced attorneys by your side.
With over two decades of experience helping employees recover workers’ compensation benefits, Morgan & Morgan understands the tactics employers and their insurance companies use to reduce the compensation paid to workers who were hurt on the job. Sometimes, they will try to minimize the extent of your injuries; others have claimed that an injury was the result of a preexisting condition, disqualifying you from receiving benefits.
Our attorneys in Jacksonville work with medical and workplace injury experts to demonstrate both how severe your injury is and how it was caused by an accident at work. We know what it takes to help you in times like these, and our consultations are no-cost and no-obligation. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury at work, contact us for your free consultation.
How an Attorney Can Help After a Workplace Injury
The process that comes after getting injured on the job can be complicated, and at times a long one. Here are some of the steps of getting workers’ compensation that a Morgan & Morgan attorney in Jacksonville can help you with:
File a Claim: To qualify for benefits, you need to report the injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident. Hiring an attorney for this can entail letting them complete paperwork, the forms and questionnaires that must be filled out in your report. While they do this, you can focus on your recovery.
Evaluate Your Injuries: Our attorneys, in workers’ compensation cases, often work with medical experts to help evaluate the extent of your injuries. Using this evaluation in tandem with your required independent medical examination, we can help you seek damages to compensate you for the injuries you suffered. Generally, under workers’ compensation the employer is required to pay for all necessary medical treatments and rehabilitation resulting from a workplace injury - our evaluations help make sure they do.
File an Appeal: Hopefully your claim will be quick and painless, and you get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. But sometimes, your appeal can be denied for invalid reasons. There are many instances of an employer or insurance company denying a workers’ compensation claim on the basis that an injury was caused by a preexisting condition. In Florida, you’re allowed to appeal these denials.
In the appeals process, you have the right to a hearing, where your attorney can present your case to a judge. He or she can present evidence to the judge, such as medical records, expert testimony on your medical condition, or a witness testimony. The judge often makes their decision within 30 days of the hearing. If they also deny your claim, your case can still have a chance with an appeal in the Florida court system.
Handle Mediation: In some cases, a workers’ compensation claim is settled out of court through mediation. At the mediation, your workers’ compensation attorney can present evidence to an independent, third-party mediator who will try to facilitate a settlement.
Options For Additional Compensation
In addition to all of these methods of help, a Morgan & Morgan workers’ compensation lawyer can also help you to be aware of other ways to get compensated for your injury. Workers’ compensation is generally the exclusive way an employee can seek any compensation after a workplace injury. However, in some instances third-party lawsuits are possible.
In a third-party lawsuit, you can attempt to seek damages against a party other than your employer. For example, if a defective piece of machinery or equipment was involved in your accident, a third-party lawsuit could be possible against the manufacturer of the defective equipment.
The other major way you could potentially get added compensation is if your employer retaliates against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This could possibly result in a separate lawsuit against the employer; for example, if their retaliation is to fire you, you could have a wrongful termination case.
How To Know if Your Employer Has Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Though it’s extremely likely that your job does carry workers’ compensation insurance, it is important to know for sure. Florida’s workers’ compensation system states that, with a few exceptions, any employer that employs four or more employees (whether part-time or full-time) must have workers’ compensation insurance.
One of the exceptions is for anyone who works in construction; for the construction industry, workers’ compensation insurance is required for any employer with at least one employee. If you work in an agricultural industry, an employer must have either 6 regular employees or 12 seasonal employees that work 30 days or more in order to have coverage for workers’ compensation.
If your employer doesn’t employ the number of people required to carry workers’ compensation coverage, it is still possible that they have it. If they don’t, and you’re injured on the job, you could potentially have a case against your employer.
Independent Medical Examination
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must take an independent medical exam (IME). An IME is conducted to evaluate the extent of your injuries and determine whether it was caused by a workplace accident. Insurance companies, however, sometimes use the IME to minimize payouts.
The insurance company hires the doctor who will conduct the IME. In some cases, however, the doctors, rather than being independent, are biased in order protect the financial interests of the insurance companies that hire them.
An attorney will work to ensure that you receive an accurate and unbiased diagnosis of your injuries. If your claim is denied as a result of a biased IME, your attorney may get a second opinion from another physician to prevent the chance of any inaccuracies.
Get Your Free Evaluation ASAP
Morgan & Morgan’s workers’ compensation attorneys have helped countless Floridians get the benefits they deserve for their injury. If you or a loved one suffered an injury on the job, fill out our free case review form to find out how a Jacksonville workers’ compensation attorney can help you recover compensation.