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Orlando Workers' Compensation
Medical bills, combined with missed time at work, can be devastating after you are injured on the job. Florida workers’ compensation laws provide injured employees with coverage for their medical bills and lost wages.
But while these laws may seem straightforward at first, employers and their insurance companies have shown that they are willing to do whatever they can to minimize their expense.
This can include minimizing your injury, claiming it isn't work-related, suggesting you have received an unreasonable amount of treatment, or demanding you return to work unreasonably soon after a serious injury.
After a construction worker in Orlando had 150 pounds of construction material dropped on his head, he was left permanently disabled and unable to work.
Morgan & Morgan helped him receive a settlement of $1,117,500. If you or a loved one is dealing with a workers' comp claim, they may be able to help you as well. Contact us for your free consultation today.
What to Do after Being Injured on the Job in Florida
Besides getting medical treatment, the most important thing to do after suffering an on-the-job injury is to report it to your employer. Claims not reported within 30 days may be barred, but as a practical matter, it is best to report a claim as soon as possible.
When a claim proceeds as it should, the employee receives care from a physician, who identifies the injury and determines what treatment is necessary and when and if the injured worker can return to duty.
The worker begins receiving biweekly checks for two thirds of their average biweekly wage, typically calculated based on the preceding three months, until they are able to return to work.
Unfortunately, Florida workers' compensation claims do not always proceed as they should, and can be fully or partially denied for a number of reasons:
- The attending doctor (who is typically chosen by the employer) determines that the worker does not have a significant injury, despite complaints of serious pain.
- Even though the worker is clearly injured, the employer determines that the injury did not take place on the job. For instance, the employer suggests that the worker injured their back at home and simply reported it as a work injury.
- After a period of treatment, the attending doctor determines that the worker has recovered and is able to return to work, even though the worker is still in pain.
- After a period of treatment, the attending doctor determines the worker is not recovering as they should and suggests that the worker is exaggerating their symptoms. When this occurs, it is time to contact an Orlando workers' compensation lawyer.
What Benefits are Available for Injured Workers in Florida?
- Injured workers are entitled to receive necessary medical treatment free of charge.
- A worker who is temporarily disabled is entitled to receive biweekly wage loss benefits for up to two years or until they can return to work.
- A worker who is partially disabled – that is unable to perform their previous job but still able to perform a less demanding job – is entitled to wage loss benefits for the difference if the pay rate of their new position is less than 80 percent of that of their former position until they are able to return.
- If a worker is still partially disabled after reaching maximum medical improvement, they can continue to receive 75 percent of their benefits for an amount of time determined by the severity of their remaining disability.
- A worker who is so badly injured that they can never return to work can receive permanent disability benefits until age 62 (or age 75 if they do not qualify for Social Security). If an injured worker ultimately dies, their family may be entitled to benefits as well.
Contact our Florida Workers' Comp Lawyers Today
As an injured worker, you cannot count on your employer or its workers' compensation carrier to have your best interests in mind. Most will go to great lengths to minimize their expenses for your injury and will consider your long-term health and well-being to be secondary at best.
If your employer is denying your claim, forcing you back to work too early, or claiming that your recovery is progressing too slowly, you need an Orlando workers' compensation lawyer on your side.
Call Morgan & Morgan at 877.667.426 or contact us online to have your situation evaluated by an experienced workers' compensation lawyer.
Morgan & Morgan
Who Can Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Anyone classified as an employee by an employer may receive workers’ compensation benefits after experiencing injuries on the job. Full-time workers and part-time employees both qualify. It doesn’t matter if you’re a minor or a foreign worker employed by a U.S. employer — you can receive workers’ compensation for your injuries.
People who don’t qualify for workers’ compensation include independent contractors, volunteers, day laborers, or domestic workers employed by private individuals.
However, sometimes employers will voluntarily purchase workers’ compensation plans for these types of workers. You may be eligible for compensation if your employer has a voluntary program and your injuries occur at work.
Employers with four or fewer employees do not need to carry Florida workers’ comp plans, except in specific industries.
Can I See the Doctor of My Choice to Obtain Workers’ Compensation?
For workers’ compensation purposes, you must follow the rules of your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. Some insurance providers allow employees to choose from a list of doctors they approve, while others designate a specific doctor you must see to get benefits.
You’ll need to follow all the requirements laid out by the workers’ compensation insurance provider to obtain benefits.
What Are the Most Common Types of Workplace Injuries?
Workplace injuries vary, depending on the role an employee has. For example, someone performing a job that requires regular lifting and exposure to heavy equipment may be more likely to experience broken bones, back injuries, or crushing wounds.
Similarly, an office worker may be subject to repetitive use injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
That’s not to say workers can’t suffer from various injuries despite their regular job duties. An office worker could easily slip and fall on a slick bathroom floor, resulting in a traumatic brain injury or broken bone.
Some of the more typical workplace injuries include:
- Concussion or other traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Illness from exposure to asbestos or toxic mold
- Burn injuries
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Tendon damage/tendonitis
- Heart damage from electrocution
- Crushing injuries
- Repetitive use injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
If your injury occurred at work, workers’ compensation insurance would likely cover it. You should be able to receive full coverage of medical expenses related to your treatment through your employer’s plan.
Why Should I Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Workers’ compensation is primarily handled by the employee, employer, the workers’ compensation provider, and physicians. However, there are certain situations when you’ll need the assistance of a workers’ compensation lawyer. A few include:
- You disagree with the treatment given by the workers’ compensation doctors
- You want to settle a workers’ compensation claim
- Your employer takes adverse action against you for filing a claim
- The payment to replace your wages during the workers’ comp period is incorrect
- The workers’ compensation insurance provider denies your claim
You may also choose to see a workers’ compensation attorney if you simply want assistance filing your claim and ensuring that you provide the requisite details.
How Long Will My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Last?
If you have a temporary total disability (TTD), the maximum time you can receive workers’ compensation benefits is two years. During that time, you’ll need to regularly visit the workers’ comp physician so they can assess your condition. Once the physician determines you have recovered enough to return to work, your benefits will end.
If you are considered permanently disabled, you’ll receive benefits until your disability no longer prevents you from working. You may receive benefits until the age of 62 if you are eligible to collect Social Security. Otherwise, your benefits will end at age 75.
Just like in a TTD case, a physician will continually reassess your condition if you are permanently disabled. If a doctor determines that you can return to work, your disability benefits will cease.
What Happens if the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Provider Denies My Benefits Claim?
Florida has a system designed to manage workers’ compensation denials and disputes.
You’ll need to contact your local Orlando Employee Assistance Office (EAO) to appeal a denied claim. Once they receive your information, the EAO will attempt to resolve your claim with the workers’ compensation insurance provider. If they are successful, you’ll begin to receive your benefits.
However, if the EAO cannot resolve your dispute, you’ll need to file a Petition for Benefits. The Office of Judges of Compensation Claims will set up a hearing with you, your employer, an agent of the workers’ comp provider, and your attorney.
The hearing will involve a mediator, who will attempt to handle negotiations between you and the workers’ comp provider. If you can reach a successful settlement, your case will resolve.
However, if mediation does not work, the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims will set up a workers’ comp hearing. The hearing is a trial where both sides present their cases with evidence. The judge will decide on the case. If the decision is not favorable to you, you may file an appeal with the First District Court of Appeal.
If your claim proceeds past the initial meeting with the EAO, you’ll want the assistance of a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer. Attorneys at Morgan & Morgan can provide you with the representation you need.