From small claims to complex litigation, Burnetti, P.A. represents the injured and not the insurance companies.
- Lost Wages: If the victim has a temporary disability, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the average weekly wage until the victim is cleared to return to work. If the disability is permanent, workers’ compensation typically pays a lump sum or an annuity.
- Medical Bills: In addition to emergency care, workers’ compensation pays for follow-up care, medical devices, physical rehabilitation, and any other reasonably necessary medical costs.
Common Occupational Diseases and Issues Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Hearing LossOne in five people have some degree of hearing loss. Among people over 65, the proportion increases to one in three. In most cases, the hearing loss is related to an educational or workplace environment. Noise levels as low as 85 decibels, which is basically a chamber orchestra in a smallish concert hall, are high enough to cause hearing loss over time. The louder the sound, the shorter the time period required.Typically, hearing aids are about the only cure for hearing loss. The good news is that, with the right kind of device, many victims get almost all of their hearing back with devices that are small and unobtrusive. Workers’ compensation pays for these devices in full, as well as any necessary medical appointments to diagnose the condition and find the right kind of hearing aid.
MSDsMusculoskeletal Disorders account for about a third of workers’ compensation costs. Much like hearing loss, MSDs are usually not life-threatening, but they are incredibly disruptive to victims’ personal lives. They also substantially decrease productivity on the job. Some common MSDs include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome,
- Sprained ligament,
- Thoracic outlet compression,
- Tension neck syndrome
- Trigger finger,
- Herniated disc,
- De Quervain’s syndrome
- Degenerative disc disease,
- Digital neuritis, and
- Radial tunnel syndrome.
Asbestos Exposure IllnessesMesothelioma, asbestosis, and other similar lung disease may be completely latent for forty years or even longer. Therefore, these conditions are difficult to diagnose, because the patient has no apparent risk factors for lung cancer or other serious illness. Asbestos was widely used in construction, shipbuilding, and other industries until at least the 1970s. As such, asbestos remediation is an ongoing issue. Workers may be unintentionally exposed to asbestos as well. It’s estimated that the World Trade Center towers contained about 5,000 tons of asbestos, and many of these victims may show absolutely no sign of illness for at least several more decades.The strict time deadlines commonly associated with workers’ compensation claims are somewhat suspended in asbestos cases. However, victims must still file claims as soon as they are diagnosed with asbestosis, mesothelioma, or another such condition. A failure to do so may mean the loss of compensation and lung cancer treatments are far too expensive for most people to afford.
PTSDThough commonly associated with trauma injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder may also be an occupational disease. First responders are especially susceptible to PTSD. Combat-like situations erode the amygdala, which is the part of the brain which controls logical thought. Without a strong amygdala, the prefrontal cortex hijacks brain functions. This part of the brain controls visceral emotional responses, which is why PTSD victims experience symptoms like:
- Heightened awareness,
- Nightmares, and
Occupational AsthmaProlonged exposure to wood dust, animal dander, grain dust, fungi, and certain chemicals may all trigger occupational asthma. Typically, people with unusually sensitive airways are particularly at risk for this occupational disease. About the only cure is to end the exposure, which could mean wearing a respirator, but most likely means changing jobs.Florida workers’ compensation usually pays full benefits to people with pre-existing medical conditions. Essentially, the occupational disease must create the illness as opposed to aggravating it, and that can be a very fine line. Workers’ compensation also pays victims the difference in salary if they can no longer pursue a certain occupation and must accept a lower-paying position.
Count On Savvy Attorneys to Help You Seek Compensation for Occupational DiseasesThose suffering from occupational diseases may be entitled to the compensation they need to get better. For a free consultation with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer in St. Petersburg, contact Burnetti, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.
Common Reasons for Workers' Comp Denial in Tampa, FLIf your worker's compensation claim was denied in Tampa, Florida, there are many reasons this could be the case. It could be something as trivial as a form not filled in correctly or a missing piece of paperwork. Other common reasons for claims to be denied include:
- Not Injured at Work. One of the most common reasons for a claim being denied is doubt that the injury actually occurred at work. If an investigator or claims adjuster determines that the injury occurred at a time when the employee was not working, then the claim may be denied.
- Injured During the Commute. Except for in special circumstances, injuries resulting from travel to or from a place of work are not covered by workers' compensation benefits in Florida. Injuries due to travel which is performed as a part of one’s job duties, on the other hand, including work-related errands, may be covered. If your worker's compensation claim was denied in Tampa, Florida for this reason, a workers' compensation attorney might be able to help you appeal this.
- Not Reported in Time. Every state requires a worker to report an accident resulting in an injury in a timely manner to their employer. In the state of Florida, workers' have 30 days to report the accident, or you may be facing a workers’ comp denial.
- Failure to See an Approved Medical Provider. After the accident is reported to the employer, the injured employee should be provided with a list of approved medical providers. Any medical treatment related to the injury should be done by this provider, and failure to do so may result in a workers' compensation denial in Tampa, FL.
- Not Getting Treatment. If the injured worker never seeks treatment for the injury at all, then there is no workers' compensation claim. Medical treatment from an approved provider is necessary to recover any benefits at all.
- Pre-Existing Conditions. In some cases, an injury may be attributed to a pre-existing condition, such as an old back injury, which is aggravated or exacerbated by the accident at work. In some cases, these claims can be denied. In order to have the highest possible chance of success for a workers' compensation appeal in Tampa, FL, you should consider working with a workers' compensation attorney.
- Intoxication. If it is believed that a worker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and the intoxication may have contributed to the accident, this can cause a workers' comp denial in Tampa, FL. Usually, this requires testing done at the time of emergency medical care to verify. If you believe your claim has been wrongfully denied, for this reason, a workers' compensation attorney may be able to help.
- Horseplay, Jokes, and Similar Activities. Employees who are injured during roughhousing, horseplay, or a practical joke gone wrong can find their worker's compensation claims denied. This is generally because these sorts of activities are considered by employers to be not work-related activities, and thus not considered to be on the job. With the help of an attorney, you may pursue a successful workers' compensation appeal for this or any of the other common reasons for claim denial.
Consult with a Tampa, Florida Attorney About Your Workers' Comp DenialThe experienced Tampa, Florida, workers' compensation attorneys here at Burnetti, P.A. have helped many injured workers' from the Tampa Bay area recover workers' compensation benefits for their injuries by pursuing successful workers' compensation appeals for claims which were initially denied. If you have been injured on the job and your worker's compensation claim in Tampa, Florida has been denied, all is not lost. Consult an attorney right away about your workers' comp denial to begin the appeals process. Your worker's compensation benefits, if approved, can be paid retroactively back to the date of the injury.
How Common is Elder Abuse in Lakeland, Florida?Elder abuse is, sadly, very common among residents of nursing homes in Lakeland, Florida and elsewhere. Nationwide, nearly a third of nursing home residents report abuse, and a staggering 95% say that they have witnessed other residents being the victims of abuse or neglect. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is vital that you keep a careful watch for the common signs of elder abuse in Lakeland, FL. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, you should immediately consult with an experienced elder abuse attorney in Lakeland, FL like the staff at Burnetti, P.A. Our compassionate and knowledgeable staff can help you seek justice and compensation for your loved one.
Signs of Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect in Lakeland, FLNursing home neglect is a form of elder abuse which can be as harmful as more direct forms of abuse. It results from a failure to uphold the duty of caregivers to provide for the wellbeing of their residents. In general, providing substandard care, withholding food, medication, and other necessities, failure to provide adequate hygiene, and leaving residents unattended for prolonged periods of time are all forms of nursing home neglect. Some of the immediate consequences include injuries such as bedsores, the danger of infection, malnutrition, unnecessary pain and suffering, and sometimes death. The harm caused by neglect need not be intentional – it may occur due to unavailability of resources or insufficient staff to provide an adequate standard of care for residents. In addition, neglect may be difficult to spot. Unlike abusive situations which can leave bruises or other tell-tale signs, neglect can proceed with no outward signs until the level of neglect has become quite serious. Therefore, it is important to keep your eyes open for some of the signs of neglect, including unexplained weight loss, additional pain, bed sores, or a general worsening of health with no clear indication as to cause.
Physical Abuse Signs in Florida Nursing HomesThe issue of nursing home abuse is physical harm or emotional anguish suffered by a resident as a result of someone’s actions with specific intent to cause harm. Physical abuse is usually easy to identify, as bruises and other injuries are often visible. Mental abuse may be present in unexplained depression, fear, or other signs of mental distress. At times, neglect may also be abuse, if the intent is to cause harm. Some common physical elder abuse signs include dehydration, malnutrition, falls, fractures, and other unexplained injuries such as bruises and cuts. It can also include rapid weight loss or gain, infections, or frequent illness which goes unreported to the family. Withholding of medication or over-administration of medicine may also be signs of abuse, including sedation. Emotionally, elders who are abused may be easily agitated, withdrawn, or even non-communicative. They may exhibit fear of being touched or other changes in behavior, and they may not wish to speak in the presence of staff. Depression, mood swings, and cognitive difficulty such as becoming easily lost may also indicate abuse or neglect.Environmentally, the presence of unsanitary conditions such as dirty floors, clothes, and surfaces may indicate a lack of adequate care. Slippery floors are a danger to residents which are sometimes the result of neglect or malice. Poor lighting is also an indicator of neglect, as it makes it difficult for elder residents to safely navigate their rooms and other parts of the facility.
What Should I Do If I Notice Elder Abuse Signs in Lakeland, FL?If you suspect your loved one is a victim of elder abuse or nursing home neglect in Lakeland, FL, consult immediately with an attorney at Burnetti, P.A. and take steps toward removing your loved one from the facility as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to help you recover damages from the abusive or negligent providers, while your loved one can begin the process of recovering from this unthinkable scenario.
- Make sure the gift is age appropriate – Toys meant for an older age range may have small parts that could be a choking hazard to a younger child
- Watch out for pull-toys – If a toy has a string longer than a foot, it could be a strangulation hazard for young children
- Don’t forget the helmet – Some of the most dangerous toys are the ones with wheels. When purchasing a bike or scooter, make sure you also purchase a helmet
- Avoid purchasing backyard trampolines – Trampolines accounted for more than one million Emergency Room visits in the past decade
- Check for recalls – Make sure the purchased toy has not been recalled for safety issues. You can visit Safe Kids Worldwide for the list of current recalled toys
Rely On a Florida Personal Injury Attorney if Injured by Holiday GiftsAt Burnetti, P.A. we fight on the behalf of the injured. If a defective toy has injured your child, you may be eligible for a product liability claim. For more information, call 1-888-BURNETTI.
Types of Workers’ Compensation InjuriesThere are several types of accidents or illnesses that may qualify a victim for Tampa workers’ compensation benefits. Some of these include:
- Illness from exposure to toxins resulting in occupational diseases (i.e., mesothelioma or Black Lung);
- Repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis;
- Head injuries such as concussions or traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to falls or objects falling on you;
- Pushing, lifting or similar injuries causing broken bones, torn rotator cuffs or ligaments, and/or herniated discs;
- Damage or loss of hearing or sight; and
- Burn injuries or cold and/or heat stress due to electrocution or explosions.
The Basics of Tampa, Florida Workers’ CompensationWhether or not you are eligible for workers' compensation benefits is dependent upon several factors. This includes if you work for the public or private sector, what industry you work in, and what state your job is located in. That being said, most employees are covered by and eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In fact, Florida employers who have four or more employees and construction companies with as little as one employee, are required to have workers’ compensation coverage for their workers. Employers are not, however, required to carry workers’ compensation coverage for independent contractors. Due to its broad coverage, the majority of work-related diseases, injuries, accidents, illnesses, and deaths are covered by the workers’ compensation system. State law requires that a workers’ compensation insurance company either promptly approve or deny your benefits. If the claim is approved, you will start receiving disability payments as well as other workers’ compensation benefits. If your claim is denied, you are typically required to file a Petition for Benefits within the later of (1) two years of the injury or illness or (2) within one year of your last wage loss or medical payment.
What to Do if Injured at WorkWhen reporting a work-related incident, the harmed worker should provide specific details regarding the harm to his or her employer including: names of any witnesses; location of the accident; the cause of the injury or illness; and the time and date of the accident or details regarding when the symptoms began. Once you report the injury or illness, your employer should send you to an occupational doctor for a medical consultation and/or treatment. It is important that you provide this doctor with accurate information about why and how you were harmed as well as the severity of your symptoms.Of note, workers’ compensation coverage is employer-sponsored meaning it is paid by the employer at no cost to you. It is important to know that:
- It is the injured or harmed worker’s responsibility to report the work-related accident or injury as soon as it happens or is discovered;
- Workers’ compensation benefits will pay for the most reasonably and necessary care if you suffer a work-related injury or illness;
- The employer or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier has the right to choose the doctor who will treat the employee;
- Benefits will replace a portion of the employee’s lost wages for time the doctor puts the patient out of work due to the injury or illness.
Florida’s Workers’ Compensation SystemWorkers' compensation does not require a harmed employee to establish fault or negligence to successfully be awarded benefits. This is commonly referred to as a “no-fault” system.Generally speaking, a harmed worker must report the on-the-job injury to his or her employer within 30 days of the incident. If the harm is a work-place illness, the employee must report the condition to his or her employer within 30 days of the first sign of the illness appearing. Failure to notify your boss within the time frame can result in a delay of your benefits at best and an outright denial due to ineligibility at worst.After the initial injury report is filed, the harmed worker has a limited amount of time to file a workers' compensation claim. In Florida, this time frame is two years from the of the injury or knowledge of the illness. The Florida workers’ compensation system offers several types of benefits including income replacement, reimbursement for medical treatment and other expenses, as well as temporary and permanent disability, vocational rehabilitation, impairment benefits, and expenses for reasonable and necessary medical care. If you do not file your Tampa workers’ compensation claim within this time, you risk losing these income replacement as well as healthcare and other workers’ compensation-related benefits.
Consult with a Tampa Workers' Compensation Attorney TodayUnless your claim is simple and straight-forward, with only a few days off from work, you should consider hiring a knowledgeable Tampa workers' compensation attorney right away. The insurance company will have a team of lawyers on their side fighting to deny your benefits, so you should have legal representatives advocating on your side. Reach out to us today to have one of our experienced lawyers evaluate your case.
Texting While Driving Can Cause A Car AccidentThere have been numerous reports and articles for quite some time now just how distracting and dangerous texting while driving can be. Yet, it still happens. It doesn’t take long to see someone who is texting on any road, at any given time. You can easily spot it, the driver’s head looking down or to the side, crossing over the lines, speeding up or slowing down for no apparent reason. Despite people saying they can drive while texting, it is distracting. It can also be deadly. And, Tampa is the 2nd highest county in Florida for distracted-driver accidents in 2016. The laws are cracking down, and officers are looking for it. So, if you want to avoid an accident or a legal fight, pull over to text, or turn the phone off. If you are a victim of an accident involving the other driver's texting, call a Tampa auto accident attorney to help recoup some of your loss.
More Distracted DrivingPlaying with the music channels might get you to your favorite song. But, it can also get you in trouble if you don’t notice the car suddenly stopping in front you. Or, crossing the line, even for just a split second, can lead to a deadly crash. Other means of distraction include:
- Picking up something that dropped
- Eating or drinking
- Turning to talk to the kids in the back seat
- Reading a map
- Gawking at a car pulled over, for whatever reason
SpeedingSeems like common sense. But, yet people speed all the time. Speed limits exist for reasons other than making our lives complicated. Going too fast and losing control, or even too slow and forcing others to go around you, is a common cause of auto accidents. Pay attention to the speed limit signs and stick to them unless the weather or conditions of the road are bad.
WeatherFlorida isn't notorious for snow. So, Tampa drivers don't have to worry about ice too often, or tracking through deep snow. However, rain, fog, and the wind can also wreak havoc on the roads. If the weather is questionable, adjust your speed or pull over. If others are not slowing down, and it's making you uncomfortable, pull over for a while.
AlcoholJust as with texting and driving, driving under the influence continues to be a problem, despite the multitude of information on it available to all drivers. Alcohol impairs judgment and slows down the reactionary ability. Quick decisions are slowed down, such as the ability to stop, turn with the curves in the road, or stop at a red light. Want to go out for a drink or two? Have a designated driver, or call a cab. Never get behind the wheel after drinking, even if you feel you are still in control of your faculties. If you are a victim of a drunk driving auto accident, call the attorneys at Burnetti, P.A., of Tampa.
Reckless DrivingIt seems everyone is in a hurry these days. Our lives are packed full of various activities such as jobs, sports for the kids, school events, and more. But, taking curves faster than we should, passing when we shouldn’t, riding another car’s bumper, changing lanes quickly without checking, won’t always get us where we are going quicker. In fact, it rarely does. Even if you aren’t pulled over, or crash, studies show that all that effort is for naught. If you get there quicker, it might be seconds, not minutes. Have you ever had someone fly by you on the road, only to see them at the same red light as you within the next few minutes?
Blind SpotsEvery car has them, and they make it difficult to see everything around you while driving, especially when changing lanes. It's best to check both side mirrors and the rear-view mirror before making a lane change. Turn your signal on, look, wait for a second, look again, then change when it is safe to proceed. Also, try not to drive in the blind spots of the cars around you, except for passing and moving out of their blind spot quickly.
Driving While TiredOperating a vehicle while overly tired is similar to drunk driving. It will slow down your senses. There are several suggestions as to what one can do if feeling drowsy behind the wheel; however, the best advice is to pull over immediately if you are tired. It could save not only your life, but also the lives of innocent others with which you are sharing the roadway. Drowsy driving is dangerous and can result in considerable damages.
Lack of MaintenanceA lack of maintenance can pertain to the vehicle or the conditions of the roadway. Hitting a pothole going down the highway can cause a driver to lose control, especially if it causes damage to the car. But, your vehicle should also be properly maintained to help prevent car accidents. There are several other factors to proper maintenance for a vehicle, all of which could potentially create a dangerous situation if not addressed properly in a timely fashion. Brake pads, proper fluid levels, tire tread, clean windshields, and properly replaced belts and hoses are just a few of the items on a vehicle that can contribute to an accident if not maintained before getting on the roadway.These are some of the more common causes of auto accidents in Tampa. And, if you find that you are a victim of one, and the other driver was at fault and careless, consult with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney to learn about your rights. The attorneys at Burnetti, P.A. are ready to help with your car accident.
Many significant settlements obtained by Burnetti, P.A. for its clients are governed by confidentiality agreements and are not listed.