Florida Workers Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that provides compensation to employees who have suffered job-related injuries. In the State of Florida, all employers that have more than four employees must provide worker’s compensation insurance. In the construction industry, if an employer has more than one employee, they must carry worker’s compensation. Additionally, Florida’s workers’ compensation system is “no-fault,” meaning that you do not have to prove fault in your claim in order to recover benefits.
Being injured on the job is not only painful; it can be scary and confusing. You might be anxious about missing time from work and worried about how you are going to pay your medical bills and other expenses.
It’s important to take the right steps after a work injury to protect yourself.
- Tell your boss or supervisor right away if you have been injured. Even if it seems like a minor accident, it is important to file a report so the proper authorities are aware.
- After you have made your employer aware of your injury, go to the doctor. Again, even if an injury seems minor you should seek medical treatment. A condition that seems harmless may worsen over time and if you put off going to the doctor you might have a hard time collecting Cialis Online compensation for treatment.
- It is also imperative to obey your doctor’s orders. Not only is this intended to improve your health and lessen recovery time, it may be important if you choose to pursue compensation for your injury .
- Keep copies of everything concerning your injury including medical records, accident reports, pharmacy bills, and even take notes of the time you have been away from work , your symptoms, and any other pertinent information.
- Speak with a personal injury or Workers’ Compensation attorney to explore your legal options and rights following a work accident. Never sign any paperwork or give a recorded statement without consulting anattorney first.
Taking these steps after a work accident can help you give yourself the best chance for a successful recovery and for collecting compensation. This difficult time may be made easier by making the right choices. Remember that you have rights as an employee.
What Types of Injuries are Covered in Workers’ Compensation Claims?
It is the intent of workers’ compensation to provide benefits to people injured on the job, whether the injury was the employer’s or employee’s fault. As long as the injury is work-related, it can be covered under workers’ compensation. Such injuries can include:
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Traumatic physical injuries
- Repeated trauma injuries
- Mental injuries associated with physical injuries sustained on the job
- Occupational diseases
In most cases, an injury at work must be handled through the Florida worker’s compensation system. However, there are exceptions to this rule if the employer’s conduct is considered so negligent that the employer is “culpable” in the accident that led to the injury. There may also be exceptions if the injury occurred as a result of a defective product. The experienced attorneys at Wolf & Pravato are knowledgeable in all areas of personal injury law and can help you to decide whether your work injury claim can lead to a lawsuit or whether you’ll be restricted to recovery through workers comp alone.
The Florida Worker’s Compensation System
Florida, like the other states throughout the United States , has established the workers compensation system as an exclusive remedy system. Under Florida worker’s compensation laws, employers may not be sued for most work related injuries but instead must buy insurance for employees that will pay for medical bills and lost wages if an injury does happen as a result of the job.
While workers compensation in some ways provides broader recovery by allowing employees to recover damages even if employers weren’t negligent — and in some cases, even if the employees themselves caused the injury — it also does not allow for some of the damages that are permitted in personal injury cases , like compensation for pain and suffering or punitive damages. The costs of non-economic losses that aren’t covered can be substantial, leading workers to want to explore the possibility of suing for an injury at work.
When Can You Sue for an Injury at Work?
It is possible to sue your employer for an injury at work only if the employer’s actions went beyond the mere “negligent” into “culpability” for the accident. The burden would be on the plaintiff to prove this, and it is a very difficult standard to meet. Thus, having an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer is essential. Even with a lawyer, however, it is rare for the court to find that an employer’s behavior rises to this level of negligence.
Two more common situations when you can sue for an injury at work involve third- party negligence and product liability . If you are using a machine at work, for example, and the machine causes you to suffer harm, then you may be able to make a defective product claim against the manufacturer, distributor and reseller of the equipment. Likewise, if a third party who was not an employer was the one who caused you harm — such as a co-worker, a salesperson or anyone other than your employer who precipitated the accident’s occurrence — then you can potentially sue that individual personally.
If I am Injured at Work, Can I Sue Outside of Workers’ Compensation?
Even though workers’ compensation can provide money and benefits to an injured worker, temporary or permanent disability payments may not be enough. Workers’ compensation also does not provide punitive damages to punish an employer for poor safety controls or dangerous conditions. For these reasons, it is important for injured workers to understand their rights to bring a case outside of the workers’ compensation system.
If you were injured by a defective product, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of that product. When a worker is injured by a machine or piece of equipment that was defective, failed to work properly, or is just inherently dangerous, the manufacturer of that product can be held responsible for the injury if it could have been known that the danger existed and/or did not properly warn the business or employees of that danger. In this case, the manufacturer would have to compensate the injured worker for damages such medical expenses, lost wages and/or pain and suffering.
If you were injured by a toxic substance, you might be able to file a toxic tort claim against the manufacturer of that substance. Sometimes the chemicals and other substances that workers use are toxic and can lead to severe injuries and/or illnesses. These substances can include such things as asbestos, benzene, chromium compounds, radium and silica. Any substance that harms you could possibly be the subject of a lawsuit for a “toxic tort.”
If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to sue your employer in civil court. Although this gives you the opportunity to get more money than what you would receive from workers’ compensation, you will also have the burden of proving that the employer was at fault in causing your injury, something that you would not have to do win order to get money and benefits from the workers’ compensation system.
It is possible that, when an employee is injured on the job, it is not the fault of your employer or a dangerous substance or machine, but another person. If a third party was the cause of your injury, you might be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person. You might be able to sue that person for damages if he or she injured you while on the job.
In any of these cases, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. For more information regarding workers’ compensation claims, or seeking damages outside of the scope of workers’ comp, contact the Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorneys from Wolf & Pravato at 1-954-633-8270. Justice is not automatic, we will fight for you.
What Benefits are Available in Workers’ Compensation Claims?
Workers’ compensation benefits generally include medical expenses, rehabilitation, retraining, replacement income, temporary disability pension and long-term or lump sum pension if a worker is permanently unable to work.
If an employer that is not exempt fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance, that employer may be subject to fines, criminal prosecution, personal liability for injuries and lawsuits from injured employees.
Who is Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
There are several different types of workers that are not entitled to workers’ compensation insurance:
- Business owners
- Independent contractors
- Domestic employees working in private homes
- Farm workers
- Maritime workers
- Railroad employees
Certain types of employment, such as maritime and railroad workers, have different processes for compensating workers injured on the job.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Florida?
In the State of Florida, an employee must report the injury to his or her employer within 30 days of the incident. When reporting the accident, the worker should include specific details, such as the location of the incident, the cause and the time of day. It is also helpful to include the names of any witnesses to the accident. After filing the initial injury report, the employee then has two years in which to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Florida Workers Compensation Lawyers
If any disputes arise or if a workers’ compensation claim is denied, legal representation may be necessary. Sometimes, employers and their insurance companies will deny that an injury occurred on the job.
Speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato today. We will ensure that your rights are protected. Justice is not automatic. Let us fight for you.