Understanding Workers Compensation Benefits
Most people don't think much about protection from an injury sustained on the job until it happens to them. Thankfully, the US Department of Labor requires employers over a certain size to pay for workers' compensation insurance. This ensures that the employees are covered for work-related injuries and illnesses.
The type and size of a business determine whether or not they are required by Florida law to carry insurance benefits. For non-construction, non-agriculture businesses in Florida, any company with more than 4 employees (including the owner/operator) are required to carry workers' comp insurance. Any business in the construction industry is required to carry insurance if they have even one employee. For agriculture businesses, the number is six employees.
How are workers' compensation benefits awarded?
If you are injured at work, you should seek medical attention right away. Additionally, you should file a workers' compensation claim as soon as you're able to. Be sure to describe in detail what happened before, during, and after the incident, as well as, any and all the injuries you sustained.
A Florida employer is required to report your injury to their insurance company, no matter what. They must provide you with the necessary workers' compensation forms and then send the claim to their carrier. The employer is also responsible for informing the insurance company when you return to work and any consolations that have been made.
Most of the time, minor workers' compensation claims will not be contested, and you will receive payment for your lost wages and medical bills. However, larger workers' compensation cases may be denied in an effort for the insurance provider to end up paying less. These cases may require mediation, arbitration, or even end up going to trial. It is the insurance company's goal to increase profits, so they may deny a perfectly merited claim to being the process of reducing their eventual payout. If this happens, you have other courses of action to pay for your healthcare treatment and time lost from work.
After an injury, you will be asked to explain how your accident occurred and to detail your injuries. The medical treatment that you received will also be documented. This may be done multiple times throughout your case. Never embellish or exaggerate your injuries.
In an effort to downplay the case, the defense attorney for the insurance company may try to show that your injury was partly the result of a preexisting condition. They may try to show that your injuries aren't that serious or that your life hasn't been affected as much as you say. Sometimes this is done through the hiring of expert witnesses and/or using your social media against you. These are just some of the reasons that hiring a workers' compensation attorney can be helpful in remedying your claim.
Workers Comp Medical Benefits
Workers' compensation is designed to primarily cover two things: medical bills and lost wages.
After an injury, workers' comp will (or should) pay your hospital bills and the other medical expenses related to your injury. Additional medical expenses may be things like adding a ramp to your home, installing a bar in your bathtub, or paying for physical therapy.
Additionally, workers' comp—like Florida PIP—does not take into account if the injury was your fault or not. You are generally covered by workers' compensation insurance unless you were not following company policy or were breaking the law. You are also required to see a doctor appointed by the employer's insurance. However, you can get a second opinion from an outside source.
Sometimes, workers' compensation may be hesitant to pay for ongoing medical care, such as physical therapy and other types of rehabilitation. If you're having trouble receiving the benefits you deserve, you may need to consult with an attorney.
Workers Comp Temporary Disability Benefits
Sometimes injuries at work can lead to a temporary disability. For example, if you break your leg, you may be unable to perform an essential job duty for a few months. As a result, you may receive temporary disability payments during the time you are unable to work.
Usually, temporary disability payments are about two-thirds of your regular salary. However, your employer may have other policies related to temporary disability payments.
Workers Comp Permanent Disability Benefits
Workers' compensation will also cover the long-term problems and illnesses that are caused by work injuries. Accidents or events that lead to injuries such as repetitive stress damage, chronic back pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome could be covered. Illnesses, like heart ailments or lung disease, are also covered when those conditions are caused specifically by the job.
The amount of money that you are eligible to receive for permanent disability benefits depends on the degree of your injuries and whether you have a partial or total disability as a result of the injury.
Workers Comp Death Benefits
When a person is killed on the job, workers' compensation typically pays a death benefit to that person's surviving family members. Naturally, the death benefit is determined by what the worker's current pay was, but sometimes there is already a set amount.
What won't be covered by workers' compensation benefits?
Workers' compensation covers most injuries that occur at work, even when the employee was the one at fault. Although, some exceptions to this coverage exist, including:
- Injuries that are caused when an employee violated the company policies
- Injuries caused while a worker was committing a serious crime
- Injuries that were caused when an employee started a physical confrontation
- Injuries caused from a person being intoxication or using an illegal drug.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Clearwater Workers Compensation Attornies
If you have been injured at work, call for a free consultation with a workers' compensation attorney. You deserve to be compensated for any injury you obtained while performing a task that benefits another. It is the law and it is the right thing to do.
Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and one of our experienced Florida attorney's will go over your case with you and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Call us today at (727) 451-6900 or fill out a contact form online.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765