The manufacturing industry is a vital component of America’s domestic economy, accounting for roughly 12% of its overall GDP in 2021. However, workers in manufacturing trades incur considerable risks to their lives and livelihoods from constant strains or unpredictable machinery malfunctions that can cause severe life-changing injuries.
Fortunately, injured manufacturers have access to financial assistance in the form of workers’ compensation benefits from their employers’ policy providers, which can facilitate and fund the recovery process in the wake of a devastating accident.
Nevertheless, accessing these benefits can sometimes prove burdensome, which is why Dolman Law Group, PA offers legal assistance and counsel to provide claimants the best chance of successfully resolving their claim.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance coverage that provides financial assistance to qualifying employees who sustained an occupational injury. Depending on state-specific regulations, employers across all industries and sectors are required to possess worker’s comp protections.
In Florida, worker’s comp requirements for employers apply to:
- Construction industry employers with 1 or more employees
- Agricultural industry employers with 6 regular and/or 12 + seasonal employees
- Additional employers with 4 or more full or part-time employees.
In high-risk sectors, like manufacturing, workers’ comp is particularly beneficial to employees who handle heavy machinery and run the risk of toxic substance exposure.
Eligibility for Worker’s Comp Benefits
There are stringent criteria that claimants must satisfy in order to access workers’ comp benefits. The two most important requirements include the submission of an injury report and the completion of a workers’ comp petition.
Although employers are expected to report incidents on the job site, employees themselves must submit an accident or injury report to their employer within 30 days of its occurrence. Upon the submission of the injury report, manufacturers in Florida have 2 years in which to file a petition for worker’s comp benefits.
Filing a worker’s comp claim with your employer’s insurance carrier initiates an often arduous process of negotiating with a claims adjuster, who will determine the proof of injury and its connection to employment.
Ineligibility for Worker’s Comp Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to encompass a diverse spectrum of injuries and disabilities. However, there are certain circumstances within which employees forfeit their right to seek financial assistance from their employers’ insurers.
Common causes of disqualification include:
- Employee negligence or disregard of safety protocol
- Employee intoxication
- Self-infliction of an injury
The most frequent cause of employee ineligibility, however, is a failure to submit the requisite paperwork within the mandatory timeframe.
Common Occupational Injuries and Accidents in the Manufacturing Sector
The manufacturing sector is an internally diverse and high-risk industry that involves the transformation of raw materials into consumer and industrial products. As of 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were over 12 million manufacturing employees in 358,272 private establishments.
In its annual report that year, the Department of Labor subsidiary noted that, although there was an overall decline in manufacturing injuries, workers still ran a high risk of suffering from:
- Sprain, strains, and tears
- Fractures, cuts, and lacerations
- Hazardous waste exposure
- Machine-related injuries
- Transportation accidents
- Chemical and thermal burns
The Risk of Heavy Machinery in an Age of Automation
Technological advancements in recent decades have resulted in a growing trend of automation in factory settings. Although the introduction of novel machinery has reduced the overall risk of accidents and enabled factories to complete otherwise dangerous tasks safely, workers still frequently interact with industrial equipment.
In the absence of adequate training programs and frequent maintenance, the operators of these machines can sustain life-altering or life-threatening injuries. For example, an inaccessible power switch or defective safety guard can endanger even the most well-trained and scrupulous of operators. Moreover, certain sectors, like carpentry, leatherwork, and metalwork, require constant human oversight to guarantee quality and output.
Common industrial machines in the manufacturing industry include:
- Industrial storage tanks
- Electric generators
- Air compressors
- Boring and drilling tools
- Laser cutting and oxy-fuel cutting tools
Available Benefits Through the Workers’ Compensation Process
There are a variety of benefits that injured manufacturing employees can access to facilitate their recovery and maintain their households’ financial stability. Typically, the severity of an injury and the extent to which it diminishes an employee’s earning potential factor into a compensation figure.
Although each workers’ comp claim is unique, common types of benefits include:
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim for Manufacturing Industry Injuries
In addition to accessing and filing the appropriate paperwork for the timely submission of a workers’ comp petition, injured manufacturers should also maintain scrupulous records for negotiations with claims adjusters. This can include the retention of such documents as:
- Initial injury reports
- Requisite claim or petition forms
- Medical records
- Correspondence with employer
- Correspondence with insurance carrier or claims adjuster
The Importance of Legal Representation for the Worker’s Comp Process
Injured manufacturing employees in the state of Florida are not required to seek legal assistance for the worker’s compensation process. However, we strongly advise eligible plaintiffs to consider speaking with a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer at the earliest possible date after sustaining an injury.
Negotiations with large insurance companies and their claims adjusters can prove difficult and frustrating. There may be disagreements over the validity of the claim, the work-injury connection, or the severity of the reported injury. If left unresolved, these disagreements can establish a pretext for the rejection of an otherwise compelling claim.
The services of a worker’s compensation lawyer can mitigate and resolve such unanticipated conflicts and enable injured employees to concentrate on their health and peace of mind.
Why Choose Dolman Law for Your Manufacturing Workers’ Comp Petition
At Dolman Law Group, PA, our talented legal team of experienced workers’ comp lawyers has extensive knowledge on the intricacies of Florida’s statutes and the difficulties of negotiating with recalcitrant insurance carriers. We strive to ensure that injured employees are fully informed of their rights so that they make fully informed decisions which best safeguard their future and health.
With over 120 combined years of personal injury law experience, Dolman Law Group’s lawyers have a proven track record of success and know how to get results. In addition, we work on a contingency-fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we successfully resolve your claim.
Whether you need help gathering appropriate workers’ comp paperwork or interacting with claims adjusters, we are ready to offer the individualized treatment of a small practice with the resources and heft of a nationwide practice.
Contact Dolman Law for Help with Your Manufacturing Industry Workers’ Comp Claim
Suffering a serious injury while on the clock can upend a person's life, requiring them to seek immediate and long-term medical care or take time off from work. These post-injury adjustments have the potential to result in considerable financial strain and may jeopardize the crucial recovery process.
Consequently, it is imperative that injured manufacturing workers receive the highest quality advice and counsel while preparing to seek available worker’s comp benefits. In a free consultation, we can explain the intricacies of the workers’ compensation process, determine the eligibility of your claim, and devise a successful strategy for subsequent negotiations.
Given the deadlines for filing an initial injury report and a petition for workers’ comp benefits, the sooner you contact our office at (727) 451-6900 the better position your case will be in for success.