Were You Injured on the Job? Know Your Rights

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2017 | Workers' Compensation

Are you seeking a workers’ compensation attorney after an on-the-job injury? The experienced lawyers at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, can help you navigate the Florida workers’ comp system and get the compensation you deserve.

To begin the process, it’s important to understand what workers’ compensation includes and how the claims process works to ensure that your rights under the law are protected.

What Should You Do If You Have Sustained Work-Related Injuries?

You should immediately notify your HR representative if you suffer an injury due to a workplace accident. Your HR rep is in charge of explaining the workers’ compensation process and benefits that are permitted at your firm. After that, you should seek out medical attention to ensure your safety and well-being. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may require time off from work to recover. Injured workers must fulfill the following criteria to qualify for worker’s compensation under Florida personal injury law:

  • You must be an individual who is employed by the organization (not volunteers or freelancers).
  • The employee must have been injured while performing his or her job duties; and,
  • Following the state’s timeline, a report must be submitted.
  • The injury must have been caused by a work-related event or activity.
  • Your company must have worker’s compensation insurance.

Keep in mind that if your firm does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may need to pursue additional avenues for personal injury compensation through a third-party claim. However, if you believe that you qualify for workers’ compensation, you should consult our Florida workers’ compensation lawyer and file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible! This may assist you to obtain compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. However, you most likely will not receive any benefits for pain and suffering.

How To Report Your Injury

When you go to report a work-related injury, one of the most crucial pieces of information to have is the date on which it occurred. You must notify your employer within 30 days of discovering your injury. If you wait too long to tell your employer, you could lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

However, if you have suffered an internal injury, determining the exact date of occurrence may be difficult. In this case, you should record the first time you missed work as a result of a personal injury, or the day your doctor told you about your internal injury and suspected it was caused by work.

The other key piece of information is how the injury occurred. Be as specific as possible when you describe what happened. Include details like where it happened, what you were doing when it occurred, and what part of your body was injured. You should then provide the HR representative with these key pieces of information.

When you notify your HR representative of an on-the-job accident, they will provide you with all the necessary paperwork to fill out. The sooner you complete and report it, the faster it will be handled. If you have any questions about the process or what you should do next, don’t hesitate to ask your HR representative. They are there to help and guide you through every step of the process.

What You Should Know About Lump Sum Settlements

If you have sustained a workplace injury and you may be able to consider a lump sum settlement, there are a few things you should know first. A lump sum settlement is an agreement between you and your employer in which you agree to waive your right to future workers comp claim in exchange for a one-time payment that covers either your medical bills benefits or lost wages benefits, or both. Before making a lump sum settlement, we advise you to consult a workers’ compensation attorney to:

  • Examine whether paying a lump sum is in your best interests.
  • Figure out what you should get for your on-the-job injuries.

The experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Kaire and Heffernan law firm can assist you in making an informed decision based on your unique situation. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Workers’ compensation covers most injuries that occur on the job and as a consequence of job duties. In addition, the insurance covers long-term illnesses that result from a job.

Some on-the-job injuries and illnesses happen over time and are not immediately recognized. For example, repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or exposure illnesses like black lung disease can take years to fully manifest.

In Florida, the Division of Workers’ Compensation oversees workers’ compensation rules as laid out in the Florida Statutes. Under Florida law, you may have the right to receive three types of workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Medical care.
  • Financial compensation.
  • Death benefits.

Medical Care

Employers in Florida are responsible for purchasing workers’ compensation insurance that covers medical treatment for injured or ill workers. The law lays out specific medical care that the insurance must cover but also states that coverage is not limited to those benefits.

Workers must be able to see an authorized primary care physician, along with specialists, when a medical need exists. In addition, coverage must apply to any authorized treatments that are medically necessary and related to the covered injury or illness, including hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, medical testing, prescription drugs, physical therapy, nursing care and prostheses. Mileage expenses to travel for authorized medical care also must be covered.

Monetary Compensation and Death Benefits

Following a workplace injury, you may be entitled to one of several types of disability compensation under the law.

Total temporary disability applies if an authorized doctor determines that you cannot work because of your illness or injury. If you qualify, you may receive the equivalent of 66.66 percent of your normal wages within a statewide limit.

Temporary partial disability may apply if a doctor authorizes you to return to work with some restrictions but you cannot earn 80 percent of your previous wages. If your doctor says you’ve reached your maximum level of medical improvement, you may receive impairment benefits based on a rating of your level of impairment.

Permanent total disability may be available if your injuries meet the criteria after your doctor determines that you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement level. Death benefits, including funeral expenses and compensation to dependents, may be available for family members if the death occurs within a year of a work-related accident or within five years of continuous impairment.

How Can You File a Claim?

If you’re injured on the job, you’ll need to follow the proper reporting procedures to protect your rights under the law.

You should report your illness or injury to your supervisor as soon as you can. Your employer may give you a referral to a doctor for prompt treatment, but the insurance company must provide authorization for any follow-up care.

Do not go to your regular doctor, since the workers’ compensation insurer must authorize the doctor who will provide your treatment. If you need emergency treatment, you should inform staff in the emergency room that you were injured on the job. Provide them with contact information for your employer or the employer’s insurer.

If the insurance carrier or your employer fail to refer you for medical treatment, you have the right to request help through the state Division of Workers’ Compensation. The attorneys at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, also can assist you with next steps for exercising your right to medical care.

You should not be billed for your medical treatment that’s provided through workers’ compensation insurance. If you do receive a bill, contact the insurance carrier or your attorney for assistance.

Know Your Rights After a Work Injury

Under some circumstances, employees can sue their employers for workplace injuries even if they receive benefits through workers’ compensation. If you believe your injury happened due to  negligence on your employer’s part, was caused by a 3rd party, or if the injury was outside the scope of your job duties, you may have the basis for a lawsuit.

The law also gives you the right to file a workers’ compensation claim without suffering retaliation or being fired or discriminated against by your employer. By working with the attorneys at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, you can ensure that you know your rights and receive the compensation you’re entitled to under the law. For assistance, contact Kaire & Heffernan, LLC.

Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.