St. Petersburg Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

March 28, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

When you are injured on the job, your life may be turned upside down. Medical care and rehabilitation treatment, the evergrowing pile of bills, and the stress of missing work while you recover can feel overwhelming. The St. Petersburg Workers' Compensation Lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, understand how life-changing a job-related injury can be for a worker, as well as their entire family.

Why You Should Turn to the St. Petersburg Workers Comp Attorneys at Dolman Law Group After a Work Injury

Our legal team is dedicated to helping injured Floridians recover the compensation they need to move on with their lives. Whether you need to file a workers' comp claim with your employer's work comp insurance carrier or bring legal action against a third party who contributed to your injuries, we can help. Our St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers are proud to help hard-working employees in our area, and our proven success record is fueled by dedication and experience.

Employees have an absolute right to expect a safe and clean working environment, relevant safety training, and timely medical treatment in the event of an on-the-job accident. Initiatives by federal agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, appear to be on the right track. Recent data from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics indicates a slight decline in the number of nonfatal workplace injuries. Nationwide, there were 2.8 million reported workplace accidents or illnesses in one recent year. Although this number was 45,800 less than the previous year, these numbers are still alarming.

An unexpected injury can have serious implications. The financial strain alone can significantly change your family dynamic. Even a short-term loss of wages can force a non-injured spouse or partner to find additional ways to help make ends meet. When dealing with complicated and serious injuries, lifestyle changes are inevitable, physical limitations can lead to depression, and social relationships may suffer.

St. Petersburg Employees Are Protected by Law

Workers' comp in Florida is considered no-fault, which means claimants do not have to prove that anyone was at fault or negligent to file a claim. The only workers' compensation claim requirements are:

  • There is an injury or illness
  • The injury happened in the course of employment
  • The illness or injury was caused by the employment

Regardless of immigration status, employees in Florida are covered by worker's compensation insurance if they are employed by:

  • A business (except construction) with four or more full-time or part-time employees
  • A construction-related company with one or more employees
  • A farmer with more than five regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal employees working 30 days or more.

From Beginning to End, the Workers' Comp Process Is Complicated

Florida's Worker's Compensation rules are both comprehensive and complicated. The state statutes are designed to help our residents recover financially and professionally from job-related injuries and illnesses and to provide services to surviving families in the event of a fatality. In theory, receiving compensation for a workplace injury should be a simple, no-fault process. An injured employee has 30 days to report an injury to their employer and then two years to file a claim. The employer has seven days to notify the company's insurance carrier, who in turn will assign a claims adjuster to begin the process of case evaluation to determine the benefits to be awarded.

In instances where the injury is simple and obviously directly related to a specific work accident, it is possible to achieve a successful resolution by working within the work comp and insurance carrier's process without legal representation. However, many workers' comp claims are complex, especially those cases where the injury cannot be attributed to a single, definitive instance.

Let Our St. Petersburg Workers' Compensation Attorneys Deal With the Insurance Adjusters for You

The claims adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company - they are not on your side. They are looking for ways to minimize the liability of the employer, and they will try to “settle” the claim as quickly as possible. It is wise to remember that anything you say and everything you sign can have a negative impact on the final determination. They most certainly do not have your best interest in mind. It is their job to spend as little as possible on your claim.

Most adjusters are really good at their jobs. Under the guise of a friendly telephone conversation, usually on a recorded line, they are actually digging for information that can be used to minimize or deny your compensation. You are not legally required to give a recorded statement, so before you do, contact an experienced worker's compensation lawyer to review documents and speak on your behalf.

The Importance of Documentation

Worker's compensation claims, by law, do not compensate injured workers for “pain and suffering.” To the extent pain and suffering actually interferes with your daily activities, it is helpful to document, on a regular basis, the impact it has on your ability to function. This information can prove to be valuable in determining disability payments.

Every form you are asked to complete and sign is a potential legal document in the event your case goes to trial. Retain copies of such items as:

  • The first report of injury
  • Mandated claim forms
  • Physician's notes and reports
  • Any written correspondence with your employer
  • Any written correspondence with the insurance company

Some Common Defenses Raised By Employers

It is possible an employer will deny responsibility for an accident or an injury and claim the incident did not happen within “the scope of your employment.” If you were on company property, in a corporate vehicle, or running an errand at the request of your supervisor, your injuries are probably work-related. Additional reasons why a claim can be denied include:

  • The injury was not reported in a timely manner
  • There was no medical evaluation at the time of injury
  • Required documentation was not completed or submitted on time
  • You are no longer a current employee

It is not uncommon for an employer to cast doubt or suspicion on an injury by claiming the employee was either under the influence of drugs or alcohol or deliberately trying to harm themselves. An employer may also deny responsibility for an injury by claiming a violation of corporate safety standards. Many workplaces today are equipped with security cameras, and if surveillance footage shows an employee blatantly violating safety regulations, their workers' compensation claim can be denied.

Our St. Petersburg Workers' Comp Attorneys Understand the Broad Scope of Workplace Injuries

Recent workplace accident metrics compiled by the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics, compiled over a 25-year period, shows an overall downward trend in injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. However, they also tell us safety on the job remains problematic in both the private and public sectors. Despite the use of on-the-job training and proper ergonomic equipment, our workforce continues to face an unacceptable number of work-related injuries caused by:

  • Overexertion
  • Contact with objects or equipment
  • Exposure to harmful substances
  • Falls, slips, and trips
  • Fires, explosions, and electrocutions
  • Heavy lifting
  • Transportation injuries
  • Workplace violence
  • Defective machinery
  • Malfunctioning equipment or tools

Although not as common, any of the following can also cause workplace injuries:

  • Obstructed visibility
  • Restrictive protective equipment
  • Inconsistent temperatures
  • Noise
  • Unclean or overcrowded work areas
  • Unsafe water

Depending on the circumstances, specific injuries can run the gamut from relatively simple and self-limiting to catastrophic and potentially life-threatening. Examples include:

  • Lacerations
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Fractures
  • Tendon and muscle tears
  • Hearing loss
  • Respiratory issues
  • Allergic reactions
  • Spinal injuries
  • Head trauma
  • Concussions
  • Paralysis
  • Amputations

Important Workers' Compensation Facts

To qualify for workers' compensation benefits, certain rules must be strictly followed. For example:

  • Except in cases where emergency treatment is required, your employer's insurance company selects your treating physician
  • That doctor is the one who decides how much time off work you are granted to recover and when you are able to return to work
  • This same doctor will determine the percentage of disability your injury warrants
  • You have the right to a second opinion in some situations, but specific rules apply
  • Any money you receive as a result of a claim is tax-free

At Dolman Law Group, we accept cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not owe us a fee unless we recover a financial award for you.

How an Experienced Workers' Compensation Lawyer in St. Petersburg Can Help

Floridians are not required to have an attorney in order to file a worker's comp claim, however, having access to experienced legal advice can help victims avoid some common mistakes after a workplace injury. An experienced lawyer gives you the legal support and expertise needed to deal with this complicated area of the law.

The accident injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group have decades of experience aggressively preserving and protecting the rights of injured workers in St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas. When you have Dolman Law Group on your side, you have:

  • An experienced liaison to deal with the insurance company
  • Assurance that all medical evidence is carefully reviewed and preserved
  • Assistance in arranging medical specialty care
  • Qualified attorneys deposing medical experts
  • A representative who will advocate on your behalf in hearings
  • A legal representative that is able to defend against pre-existing conditions an adjuster may feel contributed to or caused the accident

We understand current and future medical expenses are directly proportional to the worker's functional limitations. We will work tirelessly to ensure each client receives the best possible outcome when it comes to a settlement or disability rating. Every member of our litigation team is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of our clients. We gladly invest tremendous amounts of time and resources into each case in order to effectively fight back against the corporations that try to limit or reduce compensation for our satisfied clients.

A third party may have contributed to your injury. If you are able to pursue financial compensation through a personal injury suit against someone other than your employer, the ability to recover compensation for pain and suffering can make a significant difference.

In addition to worker's comp benefits, a personal injury claim may be possible if:

  • A defective product caused your injury
  • You were harmed by a toxic substance
  • A non-employee such a random driver caused your injury
  • Your employer deliberately harmed you
  • Your employer did not have current worker's comp insurance coverage

If Your Work Comp Claim Was Denied, a Second Chance Might Be Possible

The appeals process for denied work comp claims is not simple or straightforward, but it is possible to reverse a denied claim. It goes without saying that this should not be a do-it-yourself effort. Success often requires additional detailed information, further medical evaluations, or a second opinion. Some reasons for claim denial include:

  • Failure to report the injury within the required time frame
  • Missing a filing deadline
  • Your employer denied responsibility
  • The injury is not found to be work-related

An experienced work comp litigator might possibly reopen a closed claim for further evaluation. This can prove especially important if, over time, the initial injury worsens and requires additional medical treatment.

What Happens When You Are Ready To Return To Work

Once your treating physician determines you have reached your maximum recovery, you are free to return to work. Do not be surprised, however, if you no longer have a job to go back to. There is no law requiring an employer to keep your job open for you. The Florida Division of Worker's Compensation FAQs states:

“If eligible, the law provides, at no cost to you, reemployment services to help you return to work. Services may include vocational counseling, transferable skills analysis, job-seeking skills, job placement, on-the-job training, and formal retraining.”

Speak to one of our St. Petersburg workers' compensation lawyers if you feel you need specific workplace accommodations to return to work.

Our St. Petersburg Workers' Compensation Lawyers Know Your Worth and Will Fight For What You Deserve

No one-size-fits-all formula determines the exact value of a Florida workers' compensation claim. You need a legal advocate who understands all the variables involved in the treatment and evaluation processes and someone who is driven and determined to secure the best possible financial recovery for you.

At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our stellar workers' compensation attorneys in St. Petersburg stand ready to help our neighbors seek justice after a work-related accident or injury. We are tenacious, we understand the workings of the Florida Worker's comp system, and we have offices nearby and across both Florida coasts. If you are not receiving the benefits you feel you deserve, contact us at (727) 472-3909 or complete our simple online form for a free consultation and no-obligation case evaluation.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA - St Petersburg Office
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 472-3909


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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