What Benefits Are Florida Workers Eligible for Through Workers’ Compensation?
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What Benefits Are Florida Workers Eligible for Through Workers’ Compensation?
If you sustained one or more injuries in the workplace, how do you recover the financial losses generated by lost wages and medical expenses? Do you file a civil lawsuit against your employer to recover financial losses, or is there another way for you to receive just compensation for getting hurt at work? According to laws passed in 49 out of the 50 states, American employees have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover the financial losses caused by a workplace injury. Workers’ compensation claims do not involve proving negligence, which means you avoid litigation and instead, interact with your employer’s insurance company.
States began enacting workers’ compensation laws in response to the growing outcry from American employees regarding unjust workplace practices. Every state except Texas requires employers to fund workers’ compensation insurance programs to help employees pay for medical expenses and to make up for lost wages. Each state has established guidelines for workers’ compensation programs, including determining the type of financial benefits delivered to injured employees. For example, Florida has implemented a workers’ compensation benefits plan that includes payments to employees that qualify for temporary and permanent disability.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim to receive the financial benefits awarded by the State of Florida requires the legal expertise of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. A workers’ comp attorney possesses a deep understanding of the Florida workers’ compensation system that includes knowing what type of financial benefits you have qualified to receive. Your workers’ compensation lawyer conducts a comprehensive investigation into the workplace incident that caused your injuries, as well as interviews witnesses to provide support for the physical evidence collected. One of the most important services provided by a Florida-licensed workers’ compensation attorney involves ensuring you file an accurate and fully completed claim form.
At Morgan and Morgan, our law firm has represented clients since 1988 that required legal support for filing workers’ compensation claims in Florida. From Key West to Panama City, our law firm covers the entire Sunshine State by providing the most experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation claim support. Our workers’ compensation lawyers know how to negotiate favorable settlements with reluctant insurance adjusters, as well as help our clients navigate the often confusing claim filing process.
Schedule a free case evaluation today with a workers’ compensation lawyer from Morgan and Morgan to receive compensation for your injuries.
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What Are the Most Common Causes of Workplace Accidents?
To determine a reasonable value for a workers’ compensation claim, an attorney must consider several factors, including the type of accident. With more than 30 years of handling workers’ compensation cases, Morgan and Morgan has come up with a list of the three most common causes of workplace accidents.
Fall From Heights
A fall from a height of just a few feet can cause devastating injuries. Employees that have to move up and down ladders every day are the most vulnerable to sustaining injuries that develop after a fall from a height. Employees that work in warehouses and at construction sites experience the most fall-from-height injuries, including brain trauma, dislocated hips, and spinal cord damage.
Improper Lifting Technique
Employees that spend time lifting heavy objects in the workplace can sustain injuries such as a herniated disc and dislocated shoulder. Lifting heavy objects requires following a timeless safety technique, with employees lifting objects by bending their knees. Employees that are responsible for stocking products report the most injuries sustained because of improper lifting techniques.
Repetitive motion injuries are a frequent cause of workers’ compensation claims because this type of injury negatively impacts a wide variety of professionals. Carpal tunnel syndrome represents the most recognized type of repetitive motion injury for professionals that perform the same motions every day with their hands, wrists, and arms. Repetitive motion injuries typically take time to develop, which makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly when an employee sustained an injury.
What Are the Workers’ Compensation Laws in Florida?
Florida has enacted several statutes that form the legal foundation for workers’ compensation laws. The Sunshine State requires businesses with a minimum of four employees to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Employers pay for a certain type of coverage that depends on several factors, such as the type of industry and the number of employees. For example, a small mom-and-pop grocery store with eight employees pays for a different type of workers’ comp coverage than a large grocery store chain that employs thousands of workers. Florida statutes define LLC members and corporate officers to be considered employees. Employers in the Sunshine State that employ 12 or more temporary employees that work at least 30 days during a designated season must purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
Although Florida grants a couple of exceptions, employees have up to 30 days after a workplace accident to report the incident to their employers. The clock starts clicking on reporting a workplace accident on the day of the incident unless you sustained one or more injuries that developed delayed symptoms. For example, you might receive a diagnosis of whiplash a few days after a workplace incident because the symptoms took more time than expected to develop. A workers’ compensation lawyer from Morgan and Morgan helps you report a workplace accident to your employer as quickly as possible after an incident.
What Are the Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Florida?
A workplace accident that causes one or more injuries can produce an incredible amount of financial distress. The devastating financial toll a workplace accident can take on employees is one reason why Florida has established a generous workers’ compensation benefits system.
Temporary Disability Benefits
According to Florida workers’ compensation statutes, you qualify for temporary disability benefits if you require time away from work to recover from your injuries. Employees do not qualify to receive benefits for the first seven missed days of work unless their injuries prevent them from working for 21 consecutive days. The value of temporary disability benefits is two-thirds of your average weekly pay before sustaining one or more workplace injuries. Florida sets a maximum value for temporary disability benefits. For example, the maximum value for temporary disability benefits in 2020 sat at $971 a week.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If your healthcare provider determines that you suffer from a permanent disability that prevents you from holding down any type of job, then you might be eligible to receive permanent total disability benefits. You receive a value for permanent total disability benefits that is equal to what you would receive for temporary disability benefits. The difference is with permanent total disability benefits, you receive financial assistance until you turn 75 years old regardless of your age at the time you sustained one or more injuries in the workplace. Some injuries, such as severe brain trauma or the amputation of an arm or leg, are automatically classified as injuries that qualify a victim for permanent total disability benefits.
Permanent Impairment Benefits
After you complete the treatment program implemented by your healthcare provider, you undergo a physical evaluation to determine whether you suffer from a negative health consequence that the Florida workers’ compensation program considers to be a permanent impairment. Living with an impairment does not mean you cannot work; it simply means you need to work a job that accommodates the restrictions placed on your abilities. For example, an impairment might prevent you from handling a full-time work schedule. Your healthcare provider assigns you an impairment rating, which is used to calculate the duration of your impairment benefits.
Other types of workers’ compensation benefits provided by Florida law include direct payments for medical expenses, as well as death benefits that cover the costs associated with a funeral and burial.
What Criteria Should I Consider Before Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Conducting extensive research on a workers’ compensation lawyer requires you to consider several criteria
Workers' compensation attorneys can represent employers or employees. Hiring an attorney who has represented employers might create a conflict of interest even if the lawyer has never represented your employer during a workers’ compensation case. At Morgan and Morgan, every one of our workers’ compensation lawyers represents just employees. You can rest assured the litigator assigned to your case by Morgan and Morgan has your best financial interests in mind.
Proven Record of Success
With more than three decades of experience litigating workers’ compensation cases, Morgan and Morgan certainly possesses the right amount of experience to help you file a persuasive claim. However, years of experience are not enough to warrant selecting a workers’ compensation lawyer. You also want to consider a law firm's record of getting clients the compensation they deserve. Not only has Morgan and Morgan amassed more than 30 years of experience handling workers’ compensation, our record of success in getting our clients what they deserve is unmatched in the legal profession.
An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer with a proven record of success can establish a positive relationship with the insurance adjuster reviewing your claim. Establishing a positive professional relationship is important to build the type of rapport that leads to an attempt to negotiate a settlement. Morgan and Morgan recruits attorneys who possess exceptional negotiation skills. Your workers’ compensation lawyer responds to a denied claim by submitting an offer for compensation. Your employer’s insurance company either accepts or rejects the offer. Another option is for the insurance company to submit a counteroffer.
Negotiating a settlement allows you to avoid the costly and time-consuming appeals process.
Provides Legal Support During the Entire Process
When you hire a workers’ compensation lawyer at Morgan and Morgan, you can expect your attorney to provide legal support from the day of the free case evaluation to the day when your claim gets resolved. Far too many law firms assign experienced attorneys to meet with clients for a free case evaluation, only to have the attorneys disappear for the remainder of a workers’ compensation case. You cannot afford to hire a lawyer who delegates most of the legal responsibilities of your case to a less experienced litigator.
Sustaining one or more injuries in the workplace can put a tremendous financial burden on your shoulders. Respond to a workplace accident with a sense of urgency by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the highly-rated workers’ compensation lawyers at Morgan and Morgan.