In the process of tending to the wounded and ailing, registered nurses (RNs) in the state of Florida incur serious risks to their lives and livelihoods. With an unusually high rate of nonfatal occupational injuries in comparison to other professions, RNs perform some of the most dangerous tasks in the country.
Fortunately, registered nurses have access to workers’ compensation benefits if they sustain occupational injuries. The crucial financial assistance can be used to cover economic losses associated with treatment, rehabilitation, and hiatuses.
At Dolman Law Group, PA, our experienced workers’ comp lawyers are on standby to provide crucial assistance to RN workers’ comp claimants, enabling them to tend to their health while we safeguard their rights.
What Is Workers' Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a kind of insurance coverage that provides financial assistance to employees who sustain occupational injuries. Pursuant to state-specific regulations, employers are required to purchase workman’s compensation coverage to ensure basic protections for their workers.
Whenever employees suffer injuries on the job, they reserve the right to request pecuniary aid from their employer’s insurance carrier. One of the benefits of workers’ compensation claims is that they don't require injured workers to prove that any one party was at fault for the accident. The downside of this is that employers gain immunity from lawsuits from the employee over the injury but workers compensation sees to it that their damages are compensated.
Acquiring direly needed compensation can prove arduous at times, especially if injured workers encounter denials or reticence from claims adjusters. In order to present a compelling claim and avoid any difficulty in receiving workman’s comp, injured employees should carefully review the criteria for eligibility and consider speaking with a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In the state of Florida, registered nurses (RNs) who sustain an occupational injury are required to submit an initial injury report within 30 days of their accident. The submission also initiates a 2-year period during which injured RNs are eligible to file a workman’s comp claim with their employer’s insurer.
The most important component of a workers’ compensation claim is establishing proof of:
- An occupational injury, and
- A work-injury connection
Claims adjusters for the employer's insurance provider will carefully scrutinize the document to determine whether the alleged injury was directly connected to an RN’s job duties. A failure to submit sufficient medical documentation and evidence of a work-injury connection could jeopardize a claimant’s ability to access the compensation they deserve.
Ineligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
A claimant’s failure to submit the requisite documentation within the established timeframe could result in an automatic disqualification. Nevertheless, even claimants who submit the obligatory documents in time may be unable to access workers’ comp benefits if their injury was:
- Intentionally self-inflicted
- A consequence of intoxication
- Caused by a disregard for safety protocol
Although any of the preceding factors could prohibit an RN from accessing workers’ comp benefits, some accidents fall within a gray area. For RNs who fear that their employer’s insurance carrier could cite the disqualifying factors to deny them compensation, a qualified workman’s comp lawyer could clarify confusion and provide advice on whether or how to proceed with a claim.
Common Occupational Injuries for Registered Nurses (RNs)
Those who have limited knowledge about the responsibilities of RNs tend not to consider the profession high-risk. However, nurses incur daily threats to their safety and well-being on a variety of worksites, including:
- Nursing and residential care facilities
Displaying high rates of nonfatal but potentially devastating occupational injuries, nurses often contend with:
- Slips and falls
- Violence from patients
- Exposure to dangerous substances
In a 2018 statistical review from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the BLS asserts that RNs display “some of the highest injury and illness rates in the healthcare and social assistance sector”. Using data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), the Department of Labor subsidiary concludes that nurses are at a high risk of:
- Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
- Infectious diseases
- Accidental needlesticks
- Transportational injuries
- Fire and/or explosion-related injuries
Needless to say, all of the occupational injuries RNs can and often sustain may result in temporary or long-term hiatuses for recovery. In order to cover the costs of treatment or lost income, workers’ compensation for nurses can prove critical in sustaining them during their convalescence.
Critical Documentation to Submit for Nurse Workers’ Compensation Claims
In preparation for filing an initial injury report, RNs should begin to practice scrupulous and consistent recordkeeping. The personal maintenance of documents and timelines could prove indispensable as the workers’ comp claims process advances.
Important paperwork and documents to retain throughout a workman’s comp claim include:
- Initial injury report
- Private medical records
- Correspondence with employer
- Correspondence with employers’ insurer
The possession of the preceding documentation may prevent or resolve any confusion or disagreement between a claimant and the insurance carrier’s claims adjuster. Likewise, it could expedite an otherwise lengthy negotiation process by precluding any eleventh hour controversies.
Differences Between Workers’ Comp Claims and Third Party Litigation
One common area of confusion for claimants in pursuit of workers’ comp benefits is their relationship to civil litigation. Although some workman’s comp claims result in lawsuits under the most extreme circumstances, the overwhelming majority are resolved out-of-court.
However, certain occupational injuries might have been caused by third parties who are either unaffiliated with the employer or whose actions do not fall under the domain of workers’ compensation coverage. For example, if an employee sustains an occupational injury directly caused by a defective piece of safety equipment, they may be eligible to file a third party product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer on top of filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Other common third party lawsuits addressing occupational injuries include:
- Toxic substance exposure
- Employer negligence or recklessness
- Employer failure to possess workers’ compensation coverage
The Importance of Legal Representation in Workers’ Compensation Claims
Acquiring legal representation while filing a workers’ comp claim is not required. However, the assistance of a qualified workers’ compensation claims attorney can make a real difference in getting claimants the financial aid they both need and deserve.
Whether they require financial aid to cover the costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation or foregone wages and income, workers’ comp claimants have nearly as much to lose as they have to gain. With legal representation, RN claimants can more confidently enter into negotiations with claims adjusters and concentrate on their recovery while competent advocates represent them and their interests.
Why You Should Choose Dolman Law For Your Workers' Compensation Lawyer
With over 120 combined years of personal injury law experience, the talented legal team at Dolman Law Group, PA has assisted its more than forty thousand previous clients in securing over $400 million in settlements and court awards. We possess extensive institutional knowledge and intimate familiarity with the oftentimes protracted negotiation process with insurance carriers.
Our goal is to ensure that workers understand their rights and know how to defend them after sustaining an occupational injury. The qualified workers’ compensation lawyers at Dolman Law can assist you in filing a compelling and well-substantiated workman’s comp claim and work with you every step of the way to ensure you receive the financial assistance you deserve for the injuries you did not.
Contact Dolman Law Group for Your RN Workers’ Compensation Claim
Registered nurses provide crucial care and aid to individuals in their greatest hour of need. When they sustain occupational injuries themselves, RNs deserve to have the same degree of attentiveness and assistance during their recovery.
That is why Dolman Law Group provides free consultations to prospective workman’s comp claimants as they begin the process of seeking crucial financial assistance. Additionally, our workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t pay unless we successfully resolve your claim.
Whether you need advice on how best to proceed or help in acquiring, filing, and maintaining important documentation, Dolman Law provides the individualized treatment of a small firm with the resources, connections, and influence of a nationwide practice.
For more information about the eligibility of your claim or the complex regulations of Florida workman’s comp system, consider contacting us today at (727) 451-6900.