Palm Beach Gardens Workers Comp Lawyer
When you have been injured on the job, you may benefit from talking to a Palm Beach Gardens workers’ comp lawyer to explore your options. By doing so, you can also ensure your rights and interests are protected.
For over a decade, our firm has been helping injured and ill workers across the state of Florida. Whether your own actions resulted in your injuries, or those of someone else, workers’ compensation may be available. Guided by our extensive knowledge and experience, we are confident in our ability to secure the results our clients are seeking. If you would like to know more about your legal options, call a workers comp lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens today.
Do You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?
In general, full time Florida employees will be covered for workers’ comp benefits. The exceptions to this may include the following:
- You are a volunteer
- You work as an independent contractor
- You work on a farm that employs less than 6 people within a period of 20 days
- You are a federal worker
- You are a maritime or railroad worker
If the latter two apply, there are separate programs available. If you don’t know whether you are eligible, you can always ask a Palm Beach Gardens workers’ comp lawyer. In the event you do not qualify for workers’ comp, there may be special underinsured programs. It might also be true that negligence was a factor, and in this case, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for compensation.
What Makes You a Volunteer, Contractor or Employee?
A volunteer, a contractor and an employee are all very different in terms of how the IRS and other legal companies identify them. Volunteers are the easiest to define, as they work for a company and only do very specific tasks or jobs within that company. They are not paid for their time, and can work as much or as little as they wish. Sometimes, volunteering is used synonymously with interning, and this is technically untrue of a volunteer-ship.
Sure, you may intern for free, but you are learning life skills and likely putting this on your resume as a job—whereas with volunteer work, you would not put it as a job unless it was something you did for a very long time as a volunteer. Volunteers have very little rights in regards to whether they lose or keep their volunteer position, and they do not receive any workers’ comp.
Contractors are defined as someone who works for the employer, but they are paid per job, a flat fee, or may receive payments in parts—such as half at a time, they are likely a contractor. Contractors, like volunteers, do not have a lot of protections regarding their jobs. They do not receive health insurance, or any insurance through the company they work for. Contractors also do not receive help to pay their taxes like employed people do—they are responsible for the full amount of their taxes, where an employed person halves their taxes with their employee. A contractor doesn’t have a ton of paperwork like employees do.
An employee on the other hand, has legal rights regarding job protection, works a set number of hours a week, are paid a regular wage, receive benefits, have taxes withheld by their employer, their work schedule is wholly dictated by their employer. Full-time employees receive even more protections, such as severance, workers’ comp, anti-discrimination protections, and they have more job security.
Essentially, a volunteer’s schedule is dictated by their own free time and availability; they do not have to show up for work, as they are not being paid and are doing volunteer work to better themselves or their community. An independent contractor shows up to work when they want as long as they meet a deadline and have very little legal protection regarding jobs that they take—it can even be hard to regain lost payments if someone stiffs you. A part time or full-time employee has the most protection but the least free will over their schedules, as an employee will dictate their schedules to ensure that the company runs smoothly.
Understanding the difference helps you to understand whether you qualify for workers’ comp, and most volunteers or contractors do not qualify for workers’ comp in any form. However, part time or full-time employees do tend to have workers’ comp protections.
Workers’ Comp Undocumented Workers
Even if you were not legally working, it may be possible to recover workers’ compensation benefits. Although you might feel unsure about pursuing the matter for fear of repercussions from Immigration, you can talk with a lawyer to find out how you can get your medical bills covered.
When it comes to getting workers’ compensation, there are strict deadlines that must be met. Some of these are just 15-30 days, and missing this time period could result in a loss of benefits or delays. It is also important that the forms are accurately completed. If you are unsure about how to complete the forms, or you are confused about the process, you can call a Palm Beach Gardens workers’ comp lawyer.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Technically you, and anyone else who has been injured can file for workers’ compensation. However, the process can be difficult. For example, your injury was caused by something complicated, or led to serious results, you might run into problems. Or, if you made an error during the process, there could be delays. Anyone can reach out to a lawyer; however, if your losses are significant or you are having a challenging time getting anywhere, calling a workers’ comp lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens is recommended.
Workers’ Comp Benefits Lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens
Workers’ comp benefits are intended to provide you with:
- A portion of your wages or salary
- Disability coverage
- Medical care
- Travel reimbursement
- + More
If you would like to know more about how you can recover your workers’ comp benefits, call a Palm Beach Gardens workers’ comp lawyer from Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt.
Can You Be Fired For Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Annually, about 2.8 million people are injured on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, a good number of people who are injured don’t always report their injuries because they’re worried about what their employer will do. Filing a workers’ compensation claim shouldn’t put your job in jeopardy. It may even protect your job when you have a serious injury. Here’s what to know about workers’ compensation claims.
Can Your Employer Fire You For Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
If you work in an at-will employment state, your employer can fire you for just about any reason. An employer cannot discriminate against you for age, race, or any other protected class. Also, an employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, nor can your employer retaliate against you in some way for filing a claim.
Workers’ Compensation Is No-Fault Insurance
One other thing to know about workers’ compensation insurance is that it doesn’t rely on who was at fault for the injury. You don’t have to prove that the employer caused the accident. In most cases, even if you caused your injuries, workers’ compensation will still pay the claim. If you were intoxicated, you may be disqualified. Most states also disqualify claims that occur in which you were the aggressor. For example, if you punched another employee who then punched you back, you probably wouldn’t get your injuries paid for by workers’ compensation.
Your Job Isn’t Completely Safe
Although you cannot be fired for filing a workers’ comp claim, an employer can fire you for misconduct on the job. If you were injured for not following proper cleaning protocols, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to cover your injuries. Your employer could still decide to fire you for not following the rules. You could face other consequences for not following protocols. It depends on many factors. If you are released for light-duty but refuse to take the assignment, your employer may also release you.
Protect Your Job
If your employer is threatening to fire you if you file a claim, or if you’re just concerned about losing your job over a workers’ compensation claim, talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you protect your benefits and job. You may be able to file for medical leave under FMLA to protect your job while you negotiate with your employer.
Make an appointment with an employment lawyer who can help you understand your rights and responsibilities.