The Workers’ Compensation laws are designed to provide payment of wage loss benefits, medical cost coverage and other benefits for those employees who have been injured at work. The two main purposes of Workers’ compensation laws are to ensure employees receive prompt payment of benefits from workplace injuries and to prevent lawsuits against employers when employees are injured.
Workers’ Compensation laws are in place to make the employer strictly liable for injuries sustained in course of employment. The injury must arise in course and scope of employment for a valid claim, and an employer – employee relation must exist.
What Qualifies As a Work-Related Injury In Florida?
According to Florida workers’ compensation rules, a work-related accident happens while you are working on behalf of your employer. This includes injuries that happen while you are working at your job site, driving in a company car, as well as accidents that happen while you are away from your job site on business for your employer. However, it is generally an on-the-job injury.
In addition, injuries sustained at company parties and other social gatherings sponsored by an employer are considered work-related injuries even if they were not incurred on business premises. To determine whether an injury is work-related, it must be established that the workplace or working environment directly caused the harm. Workplace injuries may be caused by the following factors:
- Faulty equipment or machinery
- Improperly maintained tools or work areas
- Inadequate safety precautions
- Hazardous materials
- Violent behavior by another employee
- Demands or demands of the job
Who is Covered by the Florida Workers’ Compensation Laws?
The workers’ compensation law in Florida covers most employers and employees. Workers’ compensation coverage includes all full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees from the second they start working. In general, the only employees not covered are federal employees, some agricultural workers, sole proprietors, some maritime workers, and some domestic workers.
Injured workers who are unsure whether or not your workplace injury is covered by workers’ compensation regulations, consult with your employer or contact the workers’ compensation insurance provider to find out what your legal rights are. According to Florida workers’ compensation rules, you have only 30 days from the date of injury to notify your employer, usually in writing, about an accident. It is critical to inform your employer as soon as possible.
Furthermore, if you have any concerns about the expiration date of your right to file a claim, a seasoned and qualified legal professional can help you with the complicated workers’ compensation claim procedure.
Limitations of Workers’ Comp Benefits
Workers’ comp only compensates a portion of your missed earnings and your medical expenses. Furthermore, you are not eligible for any payment for the pain and suffering caused by your accident. The benefit is that you may obtain compensation more quickly without having to file a case or demonstrating that your employer was responsible for your injury. The bad news is that you won’t get the full value of your losses.
However, if you wish to do so, you may be able to bring a civil action outside of the workers’ compensation system to seek compensation for your losses, such as pain and suffering.
If you or any of your loved ones has been injured in a workplace accident, it is important to know how the process of Workers’ Compensation works from the moment an employee is injured. Given below are the various stages in a workers’ compensation claim:
- SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT
The number one priority should always be the health of the person injured in a workplace accident. Employee should seek treatment from a health care provider authorized by his employer and employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurers (or Carriers). If it’s an emergency, injured employee should seek treatment at the nearest clinic or hospital.
- REPORT THE INJURY TO EMPLOYER.
It is important for the injured employee to report the injury to his or her employer within 30 days of knowing that he or she suffered a work-related injury. Failure to duly report can result in denial of benefits. The entire process is set into motion once the injury is reported.
- EMPLOYER REPORTS INJURY TO HIS INSURANCE COMPANY (CARRIER).
The employer has to report of the injury sustained by the employee to its insurance company within seven days after receiving employee’s report. This is called the first report of Injury or illness, or accident report.
- INSURANCE COMPANY (CARRIER) SENDS BROCURE OR PACKET TO THE INJURED EMPLOYEE.
The insurance company, within three days of receiving the first report of injury sends accident report to the injured employee along with information about his or her rights.
- INSURANCE COMPANY (CARRIER) ACCEPTS CLAIM.
The insurance company should issue the first benefit check within 21 days after the injury is reported. The amount of compensation depends on whether the employee is entitled to temporary total disability (TT) or temporary partial disability (TP) benefits.
The employee should continue to receive checks bi-weekly until he or she returns to work or until 104 weeks have passed. If employee reaches Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), he or she must receive a permanent impairment rating.
- INSURANCE COMPANY (CARRIER) DENIES CLAIM.
The Insurance company must notify the employee of its decision to deny benefits within 120 days of the injury being reported.
The employee can make efforts to resolve with the insurance company.
- EMPLOYEE FILES PETITION FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS.
The employee can enlist the services of a qualified and competent Miami Workers’ compensation lawyer who possesses in depth knowledge and experience to assist and guide the employee to navigate through complex and confusing workers’ compensation laws.
COMMON TYPES OF WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS.
Some common types of workplace accidents are:
- Falls from heights.
- Construction site accidents.
- Crane accidents.
- Warehouse accidents.
- Falling objects.
- Power tool accidents.
- Vehicle accidents.
TYPES OF INJURIES SUSTAINED IN WORKPLACE ACCIDENTS.
Most common workplace accident injuries are:
- Head Injuries.
- Broken Bones and Fractures.
- Burn injuries.
- Spinal Cord damage.
- Sprains and bruises.
- Loss of limb and Amputations.
- Permanent Partial Disability.
- Permanent Total Disability.
- Wrongful Death.
- Lower Back Injuries
- Neck Injuries
STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR FILING A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PETITION FOR BENEFITS IN FLORIDA
There are certain specific time limits, restrictions and rules for filing a workers’ compensation petition for benefits. An experienced Miami Workers’ compensation lawyer ensures that you fully understand the Federal, State and Local laws that might apply to your case. Florida statute of Limitations for workers’ compensation is two years after the accident occurred. In general terms, residents of Florida have two years to file a petition for benefits from the date of the accident and one year after the last date of received benefits.
THIRD PARTY NEGLIGENCE.
In addition to Workers’ compensation, a workplace injury victim is entitled to pursue a legal claim against a negligent third party responsible for his or her injuries. In Florida, a competent Miami Workers’ Compensation Lawyer will explore whether a third party’s negligence contributed to a worker’s injury or illness.
If the negligence of a property owner, product manufacturer, an onsite vendor or a subcontractor contributed to a worker’s occupational injury, a third party negligence claim could result in additional compensation for the injured worker.
Workers’ Compensation benefits are limited and may not provide enough money necessary for recovery from severe injuries. A third party negligence claim can seek compensation for:
- Medical Expenses.
- Property damage.
- Pain and suffering.
- Wrongful death.
COMPENSATION FOR VICTIM OF A WORKPLACE ACCIDENT IN MIAMI.
Our Miami Workers’ Compensation lawyers represent the interests of the injured workers at hearings, trials, mediations, arbitrations, proceedings and also negotiate settlements on their behalf.
Workers’ compensation pays for all medical care that is necessary to treat a work-related injury or illness. The treatment should be authorized by the insurance company and prescribed by a doctor of the choice of the insurer (carrier). The injured worker is entitled to receive cost of travelling to and from doctors’ appointments and to get prescribed medicines.
In most cases, a benefits check accruing to a injured worker is paid bi-weekly and is two-third (66.7%) of average weekly wage. If an employee is injured at work, various costs are incurred which are covered by Workers’ Compensation. These costs are:
- Hospital or other ongoing medical bills.
- Lost wages.
- Ambulance transportation.
- Disability payments.
If an employee dies as a result of a work-related accident within one year from the date of the accident or within five years of continuous disability, the family of the deceased employee could be entitled to:
- Up to $7,500 to cover funeral expenses.
- Education benefits to surviving spouse.
- Up to $150,000 in compensation to dependents of the deceased.
WHY HIRE KAIRE & HEFFERNAN?
Our team of Workers’ Compensation lawyers in Miami have a thorough understanding of federal and state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations and how they are to be applied in workplace accidents.
Our team ensures that petitions are filled accurately and filed within the stipulated time. Our Miami Workers’ Compensation Attorneys know how to obtain and review medical records. Our experienced lawyers investigate how an accident occurred or how an illness arose.
Our team of Miami Workers’ Compensation lawyers know how to effectively deal with Insurers (Carriers) whose objective is to limit the injured workers’ compensation to the lowest possible amount by using underhanded tactics and by taking advantage of loopholes in the Claim petition or in prevailing laws.
Contact Kaire and Heffernan Today
Here at Kaire and Heffernan, we have a team of experienced attorneys who can handle the complexities of a workers’ compensation claim. We will take care of the claim process while you can focus on recovering from your work-related injury. Contact us today to speak with one of our seasoned attorneys and get the compensation you deserve.
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.