Work Injury Lawyers in Tampa, FL201 N. Franklin Street, 7th Floor
Tampa, FL 33602
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Tampa Workers' Compensation
The workers’ compensation claims process is a complicated one, and one you shouldn’t have to deal with alone. Focusing on your recovery should be your top priority, not fighting with the insurance company for the compensation you need.
One of Morgan & Morgan’s clients in Tampa was a heavy equipment mechanic who suffered a neck injury while loading heavy equipment onto a truck, and who required surgery. After his employer initially denied his workers’ compensation claim, our attorneys got to work on proving that he needed the compensation. The employer settled before ever getting to trial, and our client received a settlement of $450,000.
If you were injured while working on the job, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover damages for your injuries. To find out more about your available legal options, complete ourfree case review form.
Workplace Injury Cases We Handle
Workers’ compensation can mean a lot of different things when dealing with filing a claim. Our attorneys handle claims involving a number of injuries that happen on the job. This can include:
- Muscular injuries, broken bones, torn ligaments, torn rotator cuffs, and herniated disks from lifting, pushing, or other actions;
- Sickness from exposure to toxins, including occupational diseases like mesothelioma or Black Lung
- Head injuries like concussions or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) from falling objects, falls, etc.
- Tendonitis or other repetitive motion injuries
- Construction accidents
- Hearing loss or damage
- Cold and heat stress or burn injuries from accidents like electrocution
- Assorted injuries to the back, spinal cord, shoulder, eyes, knees, neck, hip, respiratory organs, ankles, wrists, feet and hands
There are other workplace injuries we handle as well. Ultimately, the specifics of your injury will determine whether you have a case to make a claim.
How Can a Morgan & Morgan Attorney Help Me File a Claim?
The most important thing you can do after sustaining an injury on the job, especially if you have a particularly complicated claim, is to have an attorney with a comprehensive understanding of the claims process. That way, you can rest easy after an injury while we help you recover benefits you are entitled to. Your attorney can:
- Explain the claims process and guide you through each step
- Help you obtain necessary resources and documentation
- Handle discussions with your employer or your employer’s insurance company
- Help officially file your claim for benefits
In addition, if your claim is rejected or undervalued, your attorney can help appeal that decision to higher authorities.
Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
Most employers in Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in case of on-the-job injury; it’s important to verify that your employer is one of them. To pursue workers’ compensation benefits, the following steps occur:
Notice: Florida law requires you to report your job-related injury to your employer within 30 days of the incident. Your employer then has 7 days to report it to their insurance company.
Claim and Report:Once you’ve reported your injury, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. Along with this claim, you should have a detailed report of the incident that resulted in an injury. This is where a Morgan & Morgan attorney comes in handy - they can be a vital asset when gathering and analyzing information, as well as determining the most important information for the report and helping compose it.
Evaluating the Injury: When evaluating how severe your injury is, you are required to see a doctor that is approved by your employer or their insurance company. After this, you are allowed to get a second opinion from a physician of your choosing. Both of these evaluations will be taken into account when deciding how much you receive in benefits.
Insurance Evaluation: Your employer’s insurance company now reviews your claim, report, and medical evaluations and determines the benefits you’re eligible for.
Re-Evaluation: If the insurance returns with a claim, and you and your attorney feel the claim is undervalued, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the insurer. If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney may appeal the decision to higher authorities.
Denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
In some cases, an employer’s insurance company will deny an injured worker the right to any benefits entirely. This can happen for a number of reasons: insurers could accuse the worker of misrepresenting the injury, blame the injury on a pre-existing condition or even claim the injury was not sustained on the job.
Should you appeal this decision, your attorney will be required to file a petition with the Division of Administrative Hearings. Your case will be assigned to a judge, who schedules a hearing. In this hearing, both sides can present information (including evidence and witnesses) that supports their position. The judge, using this information, makes a decision.
If the judge also denies your appeal for benefits, your attorney may file a second appeal with the Florida First District Court of Appeals, where the information is presented in front of a different judge or panel of judges.
What Are Third Party Lawsuits?
If a third party was involved in or contributed to the incident causing your injury on the job, you may be able to seek additional benefits. These lawsuits must be filed in addition to workers’ compensation claims.
A third party in a workers’ compensation injury could a defective tool or product that failed to work and played a crucial role in your injury - in this case, you could potentially file a product liability case against the manufacturer. Third party lawsuits can not be filed against your employer or any co-workers involved in the accident or injury.
Contact Us About Your Workers’ Compensation Case
If you were injured on the job, you may be able to recover compensation through a workers’ compensation claim or lawsuit against a third party. To have a Tampa attorney review your case and discuss your legal options, please complete our free case review form.
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Which Employers Are Required to Carry Workers' Compensation Insurance in Tampa?
State laws govern which employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance and which employees are covered. Generally, any employer with four or more employees must have workers' compensation insurance. It does not matter whether the employees are full or part-time or were injured during a probationary period. All are eligible. They should be entitled to workers' compensation benefits if they sustain an on-the-job injury.
Still, some industries and workers are exempt from workers' compensation coverage. For example, independent contractors are generally not covered as well as some agricultural workers depending on how long they've been employed. A number of workers are incorrectly classified as independent contractors, which leads to disputes. The incorrect classification may be an innocent error on behalf of the employer or an unethical tactic to avoid paying for insurance. Typically this can be resolved by a "right to control" test, which analyzes the specifics of the job, such as:
- Whether the worker provides their own tools and materials to perform the job and if the work is outside the scope of regularly performed work at the company
- Whether the worker has autonomy over their schedule and when the work is to be completed
- Whether the worker is regularly performing independent work that is in the same vein as the work being performed at the employer's business
If you question whether you are legally exempt from workers' compensation coverage, a workers' compensation lawyer in Tampa can examine your employment details and give you an unbiased answer. Morgan and Morgan have advocated for workers' rights for over 35 years.
What Kind of Benefits Might I Be Entitled to Under Workers' Compensation?
The type of assistance you can expect under the workers' compensation program will depend on the severity of your injury or illness. The medical treatment for physical injuries and occupational illnesses is typically covered. However, physiological issues only qualify if a demonstrated strong correlation between the mental or nervous condition and a sustained injury exists.
What Injuries Qualify for Workers' Compensation?
The most commonly reported injuries that are covered include sprains, cuts, and fractured bones, although many types of injuries qualify. Additionally, injuries caused by repetitive motions usually qualify. Some examples include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinosis, tendinitis, and tennis elbow. These and other impairments are generally covered if the condition can be linked to normal work activities.
When Will I Receive My Workers' Compensation Wage Benefits?
Wage benefits are paid following a bi-weekly schedule. However, under Florida law, you will not be reimbursed for the first seven days of missed work unless your disability extends more than 21 days. Once you meet that threshold, you'll be paid for the first seven days, and the subsequent missed days until you can return to work. You should expect your first check within 21 days after reporting your injury to your employer.
How Long Can I Collect Workers' Compensation Wage Benefits for a Temporary Disability?
For temporary disabilities, workers can collect wage benefits for a maximum of 104 weeks. Medical benefits should be covered through the employer's insurance with no out-of-pocket costs to the injured worker. Likewise, medical benefits have no expiration as long as care is needed. Be sure to follow company protocol using authorized medical providers and adhere to doctor's orders. Otherwise, benefits may be discontinued.
How Much Are Workers' Compensation Wage Benefits?
Workers' compensation wage benefits amount to two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a set maximum weekly allowance. The replacement wages are not taxed. For workers that have sustained permanent injuries that impact their ability to work, other disability benefits may include the following:
Permanent disability benefits - Permanent partial disability benefits are available for workers who've sustained a permanent injury but can still perform some work because the impairment is only partial. Permanent partial disability benefits kick in once temporary disability benefits have expired.
Permanent total benefits - Should a worker sustain injuries that leave them unable to work now or in the future, they're entitled to permanent total benefits up to the maximum allowable time until the employee reaches the age of 75.
Workers given permanent partial or permanent total benefits may be subject to periodic medical exams to determine their ongoing eligibility.
How Do I File a Workers' Compensation Claim in Tampa?
Florida law mandates that injured workers report a workplace injury to their employer within 30 days of the accident or discovery of an occupational illness. Your employer has one week to report the incident to their insurer.
Still, you have up to two years to file a workers' compensation claim for benefits. However, we recommend that you pursue a claim promptly following an injury that results in missed work to avoid complications.
Once the process is underway, you should expect to get more details from your employer's insurance carrier in follow-up communication within three days. Suppose your employer fails to initiate the process or you don't hear from their insurance provider. In that case, you can contact Morgan and Morgan or Florida's Employee Assistance Office at 800-342-1741.
What Should I Do if I'm Denied Workers' Compensation Benefits in Tampa, FL?
Suppose you've been denied benefits for a legitimate workplace injury or illness. In that case, you have the right to hire a workers' compensation lawyer in Tampa. Morgan and Morgan can assist you in ensuring you get the benefits you deserve.
We'll first take a look at the reason why your claim was denied and address the issue. Commonly, it may come down to providing medical evidence or establishing the injury occurred during the course of your employment. Presenting evidence is crucial to getting a claim denial reversed. Your Morgan and Morgan workers' compensation lawyer in Tampa will be central to overcoming objections.
After assisting you in filing an appeal, we'll prepare to present your case to the administrative judge that will be assigned to your case. If the initial appeal falls through, we will escalate the issue to higher levels until it's resolved successfully.
The legal professionals at Morgan and Morgan understand how upsetting claim denials can be. We know you're counting on the benefits to sustain you while you recover. We also want you to know that our law firm was established on the foundation of protecting workers. Your workers' compensation lawyer in Tampa will have the skills and resources required to deliver a favorable outcome when you encounter benefit eligibility disputes.