Have you been injured at work? Are you struggling with medical bills? our worker’s comp attorneys in Clearwater can help you get the compensation you deserve for your workplace injuries, extending to medical fees to lost salaries. We offer a free consultation so, there is no risk for you.
Florida’s worker compensation laws protect workers who have been injured on the job by providing a number of benefits, depending on the harm suffered. These benefits may extend its coverage to include:
- Permanent (total or partial) disability
- Temporary partial disability
- Medical fees incurred through the injury
- Loss wages
- Job performance rehabilitation
- 1 What is Worker’s Compensation Insurance
- 2 How Can a Clearwater Worker’s Comp Lawyer Help
- 3 How Florida Restricts worker’s Compensation Laws
- 4 Contact our Trustworthy Worker’s Comp Lawyers Today
What is Worker’s Compensation Insurance
Worker’s Compensation (or worker’s comp) is insurance purchased by a company t0 provides benefits and coverage for work related injuries. The state of Florida mandates that all employers are compelled to purchase worker’s compensation coverage. The worker’s comp law requires the business/employer to provide a policy, in which employees are reimbursed for job-related injuries, despite the party at fault.
The benefit of having this coverage for the employer is that it renders them immune from a variety of injury lawsuit claims brought up by their workers. This policy dictates that an employee/employer relationship is established which leaves out most independent contractors who are not covered under most worker’s compensation laws.
The Office of Insurance Regulation holds authority over the regulations of rates, forms, and solvency for worker’s compensation coverage. The state of Florida has given jurisdiction regarding the Division of Worker’s Comp to the Department of Financial Services, making them the competent authority to guarantee that employees receive the proper benefits under this coverage. The benefits range from medical expenses to disability, or even death.
Florida worker’s compensation law is located in Chapter 440 in the Florida Statutes.
How Can a Clearwater Worker’s Comp Lawyer Help
Workers' Compensation Claims Process
While the state of Florida requires businesses to purchase worker’s compensation coverage, actually receiving the benefits can be on the tricky side. The state is known for being pro-business in its policies, however, this doesn’t translate directly to a pro-employee stance. There have been some legal barriers set up by the state to inhibit the reimbursement injured workers deserve through their worker’s compensation policy.
These laws make it a necessity to reach out to a Clearwater lawyer as soon as an injury has occurred onsite. An attorney should be contacted regardless of how you feel the severity of the injury has taken.
The purpose of finding a worker’s compensation attorneys in Clearwater is for them to represent the injured claimant in order for them to get the benefits due. Some of their duties include:
- Information gathering in the form of medical records or evidence
- Gathering depositions of the injured party, medical expert witnesses, other parties involved
- Perform the discovery phase where information is shared between the two opposing parties
- Performing legal research
- Drafting relevant legal documents including motions, briefs, and opinions
- Litigating the claim before a worker’s compensation judge
How Florida Restricts worker’s Compensation Laws
With Florida being a pro-business state, the laws instilled are constructed to promote business growth as well as their interest. These laws can severely inhibit the benefits you are owed through the worker’s compensation policy, that your injury lawyer will fight for you to get. However, as previously stated, these laws are designed to help the business and they accomplish this by:
Allowing the Insurance Company to Choose the Doctor
When you need to seek medical treatment for your on-the-job related injuries, you would assume that you would go to your general practitioner or family physician. However, this is not the normal procedure. The physician you’ll be assigned to will have been carefully selected by the worker’s compensation insurance company.
As stated above, the amount of compensation you’re entitled to be directly related to the severity of the injury. While if you have legitimate injury cause during a work-related incident, they most likely will not hand-wave your claim. They will, however, attempt to recommend a treatment plan that is insufficient to fully recover from the injury in an attempt to shorten the payout period of the worker’s compensation.
Not Guaranteeing Job Protection
Under the Florida worker’s compensation state law, there is no job protection guarantee. As unsettling as it is to deal with a physician who may not have addressed the underlying issues you incurred on the job, it can be even more disconcerting to think you may not even have a job to go back to.
Companies regulated in Florida are under no obligation to maintain a vacancy in your position for you, while you are receiving benefits and treatments.
Constricting the Amount of Time you can Receive worker’s Compensation Reimbursement
As stated previously, the insurance issued physician’s goal is to get you back to work to reduce the payment period for compensation.
The time limits are specific for each type of worker’s compensation benefit and the injury incurred. The time limit will depend on if you’re:
- Temporarily disabled. The states worker’s compensation law allows a maximum of 104 weeks of temporary compensation for an injured worker. In order to receive this compensation the employee must maintain a “no work” status, if they are found to have trespassed this regulation, they will most like be sued for insurance fraud.
- In need of medical benefits. These benefits will not expire as long as the need for the care is related to the work-related accident. The counterpoint is that you need to given medical care from the insurance appointed physician at least once a year to maintain coverage.
- Suffering permanent partial disability. The law states that if an injured worker is suffering from permanent partial disability after temporary benefits have expired, or the patient’s condition cannot be further improved upon, they are allowed impairment income benefits. This is once again subject to the insurance’s physician’s approval.
Making it Difficult to Prove Disability
As is the case of any insurance company, worker’s compensation insurance companies have a risk management department that goes through every profile, looking for any possibility to cut expenses and trim risk. The goal of each of these companies is to have a net gain at the end of the day, and paying out to injured workers will severely cut into the profit margins.
In order to stay in the black, many companies will look to limit their liability and exposure by denying benefits to an injured worker if they can work any of the various jobs of a company. If you’ve broken your leg, but can still type, then they may deny you benefits and place you in a new position, without the benefits to cover the medical expenses incurred from the harm.
The job does not even need to be lateral in pay, which may result in a wage cut. The proof of burden on the insurance company is to only show that you can work not what you can specifically do.
Limiting the Pay of your Worker’s Compensation Lawyer
The laws surrounding worker’s compensation in Florida have changed frequently over the last few years. One of the ways that it’s been restricted is by making it more difficult for worker’s compensation law firms to get paid for their representation. Unlike in most cases, these firms are not reimbursed by their client directly.
Their fees are normally covered by the employer who had received the funds from the insurance company or the insurance company directly who is the opposing party. The checks to pay for the lawyers generally aren’t signed until after a settlement has been agreed upon, or until the trial has finished, which can take a substantial amount of time.
This has led to injured workers searching for a lawyer in a diminishing pool that is willing to represent them, knowing that a paycheck is not on the horizon for a few months.
Contact our Trustworthy Worker’s Comp Lawyers Today
If you’ve been injured, you need to retain a skillful personal injury attorney to assist injured workers with filing and litigating claims. We can help you by:
- Answering questions and guiding you through the worker’s compensation process
- Perform the necessary paperwork and evidence gathering by contacting medical providers
- Represent your interest during the discovery phase and the trial
- Negotiate settlements on behalf of the claimant