Workplace Injuries and Workers’ Compensation
Our workplace injury lawyer in Tampa, FL understands that every year, millions of workers are injured while working for private employers. It is very important to determine whether your injury was caused by your employer or some other person or corporation. If you have sustained an injury or illness while working, you may have the right to receive benefits that cover their medical expenses and lost wages under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. However, sometimes injuries are caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer. In that case, you could have grounds to file a direct personal injury claim against this third party and your claim would not be limited by workers’ compensation laws. It is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you who is at fault for your injuries and help you recover all of the damages and benefits you deserve.
Do I have to report my injury?
Yes. You should report your injury to the employer as soon as possible, but no later than thirty (30) days. Your employer then has up to seven (7) days to report the injury to their insurance company.
What if surgery is recommended?
The doctors will typically start with conservative treatment, such as injections or physical therapy. However, if this is unsuccessful, surgery may become an option. Hopefully, if surgery is recommended, the workers’ compensation insurance company will authorize the procedure and agree to pay for it. However, it is not always so easy. Sometimes the insurer will request that you see another doctor for a second opinion. These doctors are paid for by the insurance company, so you won’t always get an unbiased and fair evaluation. If this doctor disagrees with the surgical recommendation, you will definitely need to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to pursue your legal rights.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
The workers’ compensation system operates differently in every state. However, there are some general rules that apply “across the board” when it comes to coverage and benefits. With very few exceptions, full-time and part-time public and private employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the event that they are injured while performing work-related activities and job duties. Additionally, most workers are eligible for benefits if they are hurt while at their employer’s jobsite, even if they are “off the clock.” The major exceptions to this general rule are enforced when workers are hurt as a result of altercations that they started, when workers are drugged or intoxicated when their injuries occur, and when workers commit fraud by engineering a dangerous situation in the hopes that they will get hurt and start collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
The other major exceptions to coverage involve independent contractors, specialty industry workers, and employees of very small businesses. In many states, employers with only a few workers on their payroll are exempt from maintaining workers’ compensation coverage. Additionally, workers in certain specialty industries, such as railroad operations and most of the maritime industry, aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits as their industries have unique injury compensation schemes. Finally, those workers who are properly classified as independent contractors aren’t eligible for coverage. With that said, some independent contractors have been intentionally or unintentionally misclassified and are rightfully eligible for benefits. If you’re classified as an independent contractor and you’re unsure if that classification is correct, please ask our firm’s Tampa, FL workplace injury lawyer for clarification based on your unique work-related circumstances.
What if the Accident that Caused My Injury Was Partially My Fault?
The workers’ compensation system is a “no fault” operation. This means that, with the exception of a few scenarios noted above, it doesn’t matter whose fault a worker’s injuries are. Unless the worker was drunk, drugged, picking a fight, or staging an accident, even if that worker causes the accident or other conditions that lead to their injuries, they remain entitled to benefits. The major “tradeoff” associated with this no fault approach is that workers who are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits are generally prohibited from suing their employers if those employers contributed to the harm that the workers have suffered. Workers can generally only file personal injury actions in the event that a third party contributed to their harm.
What if I’m Afraid of Retribution by My Employer?
It’s important to understand that the law protects workers’ ability to exercise their rights under the workers’ compensation system. This means that your employer cannot lawfully retaliate against you in any way for reporting your injuries, seeking workers’ compensation benefits, or otherwise cooperating with investigations, etc. into the circumstances leading to your harm. With that said, if you have concerns about retaliation, let the experienced team at Jeff Murphy Law know so that we can help you to protect and preserve your rights.
When to Settle Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
At some point, an injured worker may want to stop receiving benefits and settle the case by receiving a lump sum from the insurance company. While receiving a settlement can be a favorable option in many cases, it usually means that you give up the right to any future benefits related to your injury. An experienced attorney will know how to negotiate the best possible settlement and can advise you whether a lump sum settlement is your best option. Let the team at Jeff Murphy Law assist you and help you obtain a full recovery for your workplace injury. Call us at 813-443-5553 for a free consultation.
Get Help Today
When you are suffering from an injury that happened at work, you are likely searching for a workplace injury lawyer in Tampa, FL. The attorneys at Jeff Murphy Law can assist you. We understand that not every accident that occurs at work demands the needs of an attorney. In fact, if you were in an accident at work and did not suffer from any injuries, you will not have the necessary evidence required for a workplace injury claim. However, even the most cut-and-dry claims can be rejected. Before this ever happens to you, though, you should speak with our team so that we can be prepared to help you in this situation.
Determining if You Need the Help of an Attorney
Injuries at work can be complicated. You may have clearly been injured in an accident caused at work while you were on the clock. However, this does not mean that workers’ compensation will cover your costs. You may be wondering: what is the point of a system that isn’t doing its job? Unfortunately, these kinds of systems are everywhere. However, having a competent and aggressive Tampa, FL workplace injury lawyer on your side will help. There are many situations where you may choose to get the help of an attorney.
1. You already have a pre-existing condition or disability prior to getting injured at work.
2. Because of your injuries, you will likely not be able to return to work or may not be able to get a job in any area.
3. You need medical treatment but you were denied medical benefits.
4. You believe you are not getting the appropriate benefits or that there may be benefits you are missing out on.
5. You have injuries so severe that your doctor believes they will become a long-term disability.
6. You sustained injuries so serious that you will need to go through one or more rounds of surgery to recover.
7. You have never gone through the workers’ compensation process and believe that you would be more comfortable and successful with the help of an attorney.
Do I need an attorney?
You do not “technically” need to hire an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim. That said, most people find that their claims are more successful and fairly valued when they work with an attorney and many find that they do not have to re-do their application. Attorneys can also help you appeal a claim that was denied. Want to see if one of our attorneys can help you? Contact a trusted Tampa, Florida workplace injury lawyer today.
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