If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, consider contacting a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer. The Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt have more than 100 years of combined legal experience and have successfully represented many injured workers in getting them the financial compensation they deserved. When you need a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer Fort Lauderdale FL employees recommend, we are the legal firm to call.
Workers’ Compensation Laws
Under Florida law, any non-construction company that employs four or more workers is required to carry workers’ compensation liability insurance to cover employees’ job-related injuries or illnesses. Construction companies need it for one or more employees.
However, the state of Florida has a reputation for being an employer-friendly state, not an employee-friendly one. This is why anyone who has sustained an injury that is job-related should contact a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
Injury Reporting Deadline
The law requires a worker to report an injury within 30 days of when the injury occurred. If the injury is one that gradually developed, such as a repetitive injury, the law requires the employee to inform their employer within 30 days of the condition being diagnosed rather than when it first may have started. Failure to report the injury before the deadline can result in the insurance company denying the claim.
After reporting your injury to your employer, you should then retain the services of a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer. Your lawyer can file your claim with the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. Although it is best to file a claim right away, there are special circumstances under which a delay is acceptable. In those cases, there is a statute of limitations of two years from the date of injury or date of diagnosis of the injury. Your attorney can let you know if your injury claim falls under this exception to the rule.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Benefits which can be collected under a workers’ compensation claim are medical expenses and lost wages. If the worker died as a result of the injury, then his next of kin would be entitled to death benefits under workers’ compensation liability insurance.
Medical treatment benefits include doctor’s visits, diagnostic procedures, surgeries, physical therapy, mental health therapy, medical devices, medical supplies, and medication. The cost of travel to and from all of these appointments is also covered.
There are several levels of wage reimbursement a person receiving workers’ compensation benefits may receive, depending on where they have been classified medically with their injury:
- Temporary total disability
- Temporary partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Impairment benefits
Your Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm can review your case and calculate what your weekly disability benefit should be.
What if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied? Here are Your Next Steps
For many people, getting injured on the job is a distressing event. You’re unable to work and your medical bills are piling up. But if your benefits are denied by your employer or their insurance company, the situation can become direr, causing feelings of stress, confusion, and anger.
There are numerous reasons your workers’ compensation claim was denied. When first confronted with this fact, an injured employee may initially assume that their employer is being fraudulent. However, there are very specific rules that one must follow when filing a claim for workers’ compensation.
Why Your Claim was Denied
Some reasons your claim may have been denied include:
- Your injury was caused by a pre-existing condition – If you had a prior injury or medical condition that contributed to the injury your claim may be denied.
- Failure to report the accident to your employer – This is the first thing that you must do if you have been injured at work. The failure to do so is the principal reason for many denials of workers’ compensation claims.
- Your injury didn’t occur while performing your job duties – If the accident happened while you were on break or not performing your job, your benefits may be denied.
- A healthcare provider concluded you weren’t disabled due to your work accident
- A dispute as to where or when you were injured – If the accident didn’t happen on company property or when you were on the clock, your benefits could be denied.
- No witnesses – Despite the fact that witnesses aren’t absolutely necessary to successfully win a claim, a lack-thereof may be cause for suspicion.
- Inadequate information – Your workers’ compensation claim must include thorough details about your accident and contain the proper information.
- Little or no medical treatment sought after the incident – Always seek medical treatment after a work injury takes place. If you do not, it may become an issue for concern by your employer’s insurance company.
How to Appeal
If your workers’ compensation claim was denied, you will have to appeal the decision. In many states, you will only have 30 days to do this. Here are a few things to do when appealing the denied claim:
- Call your employer’s insurance company to find out why the claim was denied. It could be as simple as not providing the correct document.
- Ask the insurer to reconsider its decision.
- File a formal appeal to the proper administrative agency.
- Hire a workers’ compensation claims attorney to handle the process.
Do Volunteers Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
As you may know, workers’ compensation is a system in place to protect workers when they are injured on the job. If work-related activities result in an injury, the employer is responsible for covering medical bills, lost wages, and any other expenses that result from the injury. This is a right guaranteed to workers, but many wonder if volunteers are given the same benefits. If you work as a volunteer or plan to, it is important for you to understand what your rights are.
Workers’ Comp for Volunteers
Every state has slightly differing rules and regulations for workers’ comp, but nearly all states are the same when it comes to volunteers. Only those who are compensated for their work qualify for worker’s comp. It is the actual exchange of money that grants these benefits. Unpaid volunteers cannot file a workers’ comp claim, even if they are injured while working. While this may sound unfair, it is important to realize that compensation may still be gained, but it cannot be gained via worker’s comp. If you work as a volunteer and you are injured, you may hold the responsible party accountable through the traditional means and file a lawsuit.
As is usually the case, there are a few exceptions to the fact that volunteers do not benefit from workers’ comp:
- Internships – If you are an intern or student, then you most likely can file a workers’ comp claim. The reasoning is that you are being compensated in experience or knowledge, rather than money. This is enough in most states to qualify for workers’ comp benefits.
- Compensation – If you are being compensated monetarily in any way for your time, it is most likely enough for you to qualify for workers’ comp. Even if you are not under contract or the relationship is what you might consider an employee/employer relationship, being compensated for your time by an employer is enough.
- Contracts – In some cases, the contract that volunteers sign specifically grant them the right to workers’ comp. If this is the case, you have nothing to worry about.
Whether you are a volunteer, worker, or something else entirely, you always have the right to have your injuries compensated when they are the result of others’ negligence or dangerous environments that others are responsible for. Depending on your situation, it is likely a good idea to speak with a Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer A legal professional can provide you with more information about what your legal options are.
Why You Should Contact an Attorney
Appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim can be murky territory. Seeking a seasoned attorney who will help assist you with the process will be helpful. Your lawyer will gather documentary evidence, contact possible witnesses to the incident, and retain medical professionals if necessary to help boost your case.
If you would like to meet with a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer in Fort Lauderdale FL to discuss what legal recourse you may have for an injury you sustained at work, contact the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt. We are available to discuss the details of your situation and how we may be able to help you.
Call a dedicated Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer for your free consultation.