Nobody wants to get hurt at work. As much as we hate getting up for work, we really don’t mind working hard. We want to be able to take care of our families. We do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. So, what happens when you get hurt while on the job? If you get hurt at work, you should qualify for worker’s compensation. Worker’s comp is designed to cover your expenses while you’re recovering from your injuries. Some of the benefits offered by worker’s comp include:
- Medical Benefits – You are entitled to medical treatment for your work-related injuries. This includes hospital visits, surgery, physical therapy, and medication. As long as you are treated by an approved provider, there shouldn’t be any issues here.
- Wages – As long as you’re out on worker’s comp, you’re entitled to weekly compensation benefits. Your weekly benefit amount depends on what you earned while working. You get approximately 2/3 of your weekly wages while on worker’s comp. This money isn’t taxed.
- Medical Equipment – If you need any durable medical equipment for your injuries, they’ll be covered by worker’s comp. This includes things like wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, and walkers.
When you get injured at work, make sure you visit your Human Resources department. Every company has its own protocol for work-related accidents. You need to report your accident to HR. You also need to go out for medical treatment immediately following treatment.
Once you have met with HR, make sure you call an experienced lawyer in Clearwater. They’ll help you navigate the confusing world of worker’s compensation. They’ll also make sure you receive the benefits to which you’re entitled.
How Can a Clearwater Workers Comp Attorney Help?
You can handle your worker’s comp claim yourself. There’s no law saying you need to have a worker’s comp attorney. However, there is a lot at stake. If you don’t file your claim properly, you could risk having your claim denied. The longer it takes to get your benefits, the longer you go without the money you need to pay your bills.
A worker’s comp attorney in Clearwater can help you with your worker’s comp claim. They’ll help you understand the basics about how worker’s compensation works in Florida. Here is a basic guide to the worker’s compensation system:
- Workers Comp Benefits: In Florida, your worker’s comp weekly benefits are about 2/3 of your normal wages. The cap on weekly benefits is $917. There are special rules about certain injuries, such as paralysis. In these cases, you’ll receive 80% of whatever your earnings were. There is no cap on these benefits.
Your benefits will continue until one of three things happen:
- Your doctor says you’re ready to go back to work
- Also, your doctor says you aren’t going to get any better
- You’ve reached the maximum time to receive benefits (2 years)
- Claim Denied: If your claim is denied, you’ll have to file a Petition for Benefits. Before you do this, your Clearwater workers comp lawyer will talk to your employer and try to get your claim approved. Once the employer knows you have a lawyer, they may be more likely to approve your claim.
Once you file your Petition for Benefits with the court, they’ll order you to attend mediation. The goal of mediation is to get your case settled with the employer. If you can’t settle the matter, your case will go before the court. You won’t actually go to court. Your case will be decided based on the written record. This is why it’s so important that your attorney file your petition properly.
If the court approved your petition, you’ll start receiving your benefits.
If your petition is denied, your attorney can help you apply for disability. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be approved. It’s important that you have an experienced attorney by your side during this process.
Your Clearwater Workers Comp Lawyer Can Help You Get Permanent Disability Benefits
When you get hurt at work, the last thing you expect is to have your worker’s comp claim denied. If this is the case, you will have to look at social security and disability. It may be the only way you can survive if you can’t go back to work.
- How serious are your injuries?
- Are you able to work in your previous job?
- Are you able to work at all?
- Also, are you earning $1,000 or more per month?
- Are you able to perform normal, daily activities?
- How long have you been disabled?
- Will you be disabled for at least 1 year?
There are two types of disability. If you have worked and paid into the insurance pool, you’ll be eligible to receive something called SSDI. This is social security disability insurance. If you haven’t contributed enough to the pool, you’ll have to apply for social security insurance. The amounts paid under each are different. You will receive more under SSDI than you will under SSI.
Regardless of which type of disability you’re applying for, you need to meet certain conditions. Some of the medical conditions that qualify you for disability in Florida include:
- Loss of vision and inability to speak
- Respiratory illnesses
- Cardiovascular illnesses
- Digestive tract problems
- Immune system disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Musculoskeletal problems
Your Clearwater worker’s comp attorney is very familiar with how disability works. If you don’t qualify for worker’s comp, your lawyer will help you apply for disability.
Clearwater Workers Comp Attorneys Handle All Types of Workers Comp Injuries
- You must be working at the time your injury occurs or the illness begins
- You must be working within the scope of your employment. For example, if you’re a cashier and you get hurt unloading a truck, you could have a problem. Unless you were specifically instructed to unload the truck, your employer may argue that you weren’t working within the scope of your employment. They’ll argue that you weren’t hired or trained to unload a truck. Your Clearwater workers comp lawyer will challenge these claims.
- You have to prove that you were in fact injured
- You must show that your injury prevents you from doing your job. If you work a desk job, you probably won’t qualify for Clearwater workers comp if you break your toe. Breaking your toes doesn’t prevent you from doing your job.
- Be careful of a pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition doesn’t automatically prevent you from getting workers comp. However, your employer will argue that they aren’t responsible for your injuries.
In order to receive benefits, you have to suffer an actual injury. There are many types of injuries that are included under workers compensation:
- Back Injuries – You may suffer a muscle strain or disc issues. You could even suffer a spinal cord injury
- Brain injuries – If you sustain a traumatic brain injury, you should qualify for worker’s comp
- Neck Injuries – You could suffer a tendon tear or even a broken neck
- Knee Injuries – You may tear your ACL or meniscus. Both will require surgery and physical therapy
- Hip injuries – You may break your hip or suffer muscle strains
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – There are other repetitive stress injuries, but the most common type is carpal tunnel
- Occupational Illnesses such as cancer, respiratory infections, etc.
If you’ve suffered any of these injuries, you need to contact an experienced Clearwater workers comp lawyer.
What Factors Can Disqualify You from Receiving Worker’s Comp in Florida?
The point of worker’s compensation insurance is to help employees survive while they recover. The goal is for you to return to work as soon as you’re able. In the meantime, you’ll receive financial and medical benefits through workers comp.
There are certain types of accidents that aren’t covered under worker’s comp. The court will look at certain factors when making its decision. The following factors can disqualify you from receiving worker’s compensation benefits:
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accidents – If you drunk or using drugs, your employer will challenge your worker’s comp. It is more likely that your substance abuse caused your injury. Your employer isn’t going to cover accidents that shouldn’t have happened.
- You weren’t working at the time of your injury – If you were off the clock or not on work property, your claim won’t be covered. Let’s say, for example, that you “borrowed” a company car over the weekend. If you’re in a car wreck over the weekend, worker’s comp isn’t going to cover your claim.
- You were terminated prior to your injury – If you are terminated from your job and get hurt on the way home, worker’s comp won’t cover your claim. An example of this is when you get fired and punch a wall on your way out the door. If you break your hand, worker’s compensation won’t cover this injury.
- You were doing something outside the scope of your employment at the time of your accident – Let’s say you were hired as a teacher. If you take it upon yourself to demonstrate your balance beam skills during lunch, your injuries won’t be covered under worker’s comp. You have to be working within the scope of your employment at the time of your accident.
If your claim is challenged for any of these reasons, you can certainly retain a Clearwater worker’s compensation attorney. Just understand that they can’t work miracles. They will fight to get you compensation. However, there is a good chance your claim will still be denied. The law is the law and even your lawyer can’t change that.
Contact a Clearwater Workers Comp Lawyer
If you’re injured at work, you should contact an experienced Clearwater workers comp attorney. Workers compensation law can be confusing. It’s hard to know why your claim may be denied. Getting approved for benefits may seem straightforward. However, there are times when your case isn’t so clear-cut. Having a worker’s comp attorney by your side can make the difference between having your claim approved or having it denied.
If your doctor claims you are permanently disabled, your lawyer will have to prove the percentage of your permanent injuries. Permanent disability is determined according to the body part you injured. For example, if you hurt your knee, it may represent 15% of your body. Hurting your back may be as high as 30%. This is what will determine how much your permanent worker’s comp benefits are.
Your attorney will claim that you are 100% disabled. The insurance company will say you’re 10% disabled. They’ll have to negotiate back and forth to come to an agreement. If you can’t settle the matter, you’ll have to go to court. The court will then decide what your disability is. Nobody wants to go to court. Trials are expensive and time-consuming. It’s in everyone’s best interest to settle your case.
Most people settle their worker’s comp claims. It’s cheaper for insurance companies and more convenience for everybody. Rather than receive weekly benefits for years, you can get a lump sum to settle your claim outright. Your settlement amount represents whatever permanent disability you’ve suffered as a result of your work accident.
Your Clearwater workers comp lawyer at Burnetti, P.A. will make sure you meet all of the technical requirements for your claim. They will deal with your employer and the insurance company. They’ll make sure there are no gaps in your medical coverage or weekly benefits.
Your Clearwater workers comp lawyer has handled dozens of workers compensation cases. They are familiar with how insurance companies work. They know how to negotiate a fair settlement. And, it requires, they’ll go to court and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Your employer has attorneys working for them. You should as well. You don’t want to go up against the other side alone. There is too much at stake.