We get up every day and go to work. We do our job and take pride in our work. Sure, we can’t wait for the weekend. Everybody needs a few days off from time to time. But the last thing we want to do is find ourselves out of work because of an injury. If you do get hurt at work, what should you do? Well, you’ll need to file a worker’s compensation claim. The purpose of worker’s comp is to help take care of you while you recover from your work-related injuries. Some of these benefits 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.
The first thing you need to do when you get hurt at work is let Human Resources know. They’ll arrange for transport to the hospital. They’ll also get started on your worker’s compensation claim. They’ll let the insurance company know you were injured. Also, they’ll also arrange for your medical treatment.
It’s important to note that you can’t just go see your primary physician for a work-related injury. You have to go to an approved provider. Your employer will let you know who this is. As long as you are under worker’s comp, you must continue to see this doctor. If you miss appointments or see an unapproved doctor, you jeopardize having your claim denied.
How Can a Workers Comp Attorney in Sebring Help?
Some people like to rely on their employer to help them with their worker’s comp claim. They have blind faith that their employer has their best interests in mind. However, you have to remember that it’s your employer’s job to keep costs down. They aren’t going to approve every claim. This is why it’s a good idea to have a Sebring workers comp attorney by your side.
Your worker’s comp attorney in Sebring will help you file your worker’s comp claim. They understand how the worker’s compensation system works. Here’s a basic breakdown of how worker’s comp operates on Florida.
- 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 worker’s 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.
When you file your Petition for Benefits with the court, they’ll schedule you for mediation. Mediation is not optional. You and your employer will attend this mediation together. Your lawyer will work with the insurance company and try to negotiate a settlement. The court wants to see your case settled. They don’t like seeing workers comp cases go to trial. Trials clog up the court system and are time-consuming.
If you’re unable to settle your case at mediation, the court will proceed with a review of your case. You won’t actually go to this hearing. The judge will review the papers related to your case and make a decision.
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 Sebring Workers Comp Lawyer Can Help You Get Permanent Disability Benefits
Sometimes, no matter what you do, your claim will be denied. The court may not feel you met the requirements for workers comp in Florida. They may believe you had a pre-existing condition that caused your injuries. Regardless, you need to find a way to take care of your family.
Your worker’s comp lawyer will advise you to file for disability. There are a lot of considerations when it comes to qualifying for disability. The administration will look at the following:
- 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?
In order to qualify for disability, you must 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 Sebring workers 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.
Sebring Workers Comp Attorneys Handle All Types of Workers Comp Injuries
There are certain rules when it comes to receiving workers compensation benefits. Generally, in order to qualify for workers comp, your attorney will have to prove the following:
- 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 Sebring 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 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 been hurt at work and sustained any of these injuries, contact an experienced Sebring workers comp attorney.
What Factors Can Disqualify You from Receiving Worker’s Comp in Florida?
In general, workers comp is designed to help employees who get hurt on the job. Not everyone is covered. There are certain situations where workers comp won’t help you. For the most part, these situations are ones in which you are the person responsible for your injuries, not your employer.
Make sure you let your attorney know upfront if you think there is an issue with your claim. If you were drinking at the time of the accident, let him know. If you were horsing around with co-workers and it’s on camera, let your attorney know. Nothing’s worse than his being blindsided halfway through your case. He’ll do his best to try to get your compensation under 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 their decision. The following factors can disqualify you from receiving worker’s compensation benefits:
- If you’re drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of your accident, your claim will be denied. Your employer will have witnesses to state that you were drinking prior to your accident. If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, your lawyer can argue that you need rehabilitation. Depending on your employer’s policy on substance abuse issues, they may agree to this.
- If you weren’t on the clock at the time of your injury – If you’re not working at the time of your accident, it isn’t going to be covered under worker’s compensation.
- You were fired or laid off prior to your injury – If, for example, your trip on the way to your car after you’re fired, it won’t be covered under worker’s comp.
- You’re doing something outside the scope of your employment at the time of your accident – If you’re a cashier and get hurt unloading a truck, your employer may deny your claim. You have to prove that there was a legitimate reason why you were doing something outside the scope of your employment in order to have your injuries covered.
If any of these issues apply to your case, the chances of getting approved for workers comp are slim to none. Insurance companies aren’t in the business of approving questionable claims. Your attorney can only do so much to prove your claim.
Contact a Sebring Workers Comp Lawyer
If you suffer a work-related injury, contact an experienced Sebring workers comp lawyer. These cases can be a lot more complicated than you may think. There will be issues of causation. There may even be claims that you weren’t injured at all. Your medical history will be called into question. You want an attorney by your side if this is the case.
There’s no guarantee that your worker’s comp will be approved. Claims are denied all the time. Hopefully, your attorney can get your claim approved. If he does, you’ll eventually have to return to work. If you’re unable to do this, your lawyer will have to prove that you are permanently disabled.
Permanent disability is determined based on the specific body part you injured. Certain body parts are worth more than others. A back is worth more than a wrist. A brain injury is worth more than a back injury.
Your attorney may argue that you’re 100% disabled. The insurance company will claim you’re 10% disabled. They’ll have to go back and forth until they come to an agreement. If they can’t settle the issue, you’ll have to go to court. The court will decide how bad 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.
Your Sebring workers comp lawyer at Burnetti, P.A. 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.