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 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.
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.