Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Hialeah
Workplace injuries are more common than you might think. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , there were over 5,000 fatal injuries nationwide in 2018. In Florida alone, there were over 322 workplace deaths up from 299 deaths in the previous year, and nonfatal injuries accounted for 2.8 million hospital visits nationwide.
Clearly, there is an abundance of work-related injuries. These injuries often require ongoing and long-term care. Unfortunately, not every worker can afford the costs associated with a work-related injury. When these costs are too much to handle, a Hialeah worker’s comp lawyer is here to help. From assisting with filing a claim, to help with filing a lawsuit, you can count on the lawyers with Schlacter Law to fight on your behalf to secure the best compensation available.
What is Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program designed to help workers when they’re injured on the job. Workers’ compensation assists by providing benefits such as necessary medical care, prescription medication, and monetary payments to help while a Hialeah worker recovers from an illness or injury.
Under Florida law, most employers are required to purchase some type of compensation insurance, and the majority of employers purchase an insurance policy from the over 250 private providers who offer this type of insurance.
Oversight for providers of workers’ compensation insurance is covered by Florida’s Division of Worker’s Compensation, which is part of the Department of Financial Services  . This organization is tasked with ensuring that employees receive the benefits entitled to them through a worker’s compensation policy, and assist “injured workers, employers, health care providers, and insurers in following the Florida workers’ “compensation rules and laws.” They also ensure that claims are properly adjusted and reimbursed, however, the Division of Workers’ Compensation is not directly responsible for adjusting any claim. This is where a worker’s compensation attorney can help.
If you were injured while on the job, a Hialeah workers’ compensation lawyer can help ensure that you get the proper assistance before and after filing a claim. From medical bills to lost wages, a workers’ compensation lawyer has the experience necessary to ensure that any injuries are properly compensated.
Who is Eligible for Workers’ Comp in Hialeah?
Any employee in the state of Florida can file a claim for compensation. This includes, but is not limited to:
- A part-time worker
- A full-time worker
- A minor (under the age of 18)
- A work-release prisoner
- A contract worker
The following are not considered employees eligible for workers’ compensation unless an agreement specifically provides it:
- Professional athletes
- Independent contractors
- Domestic workers in a private home
- Casual laborers hired for less than ten days
Compensation is available when “accidental injury or death arises out of employment if work performed in the course and scope of employment is the major contributing cause of the injury or death.” Florida Statute §440.02(36). This “course and scope” requirement means that the injury must result during an activity that is directly related to your job, and not while traveling to or from the workplace unless it is a specific duty that requires travel.
Businesses in certain industries must obtain worker’s comp insurance, with different requirements depending on the type of industry, the number of employees, and the type of entity organization the employee works for.
Florida Statute §440.02(17) defines these requirements. Businesses in the following industries must obtain worker’s compensation insurance:
- Construction employers with one or more employee including the owner
- Non-construction employers with four or more employees including the owner
- Agricultural employers with six regular and/or twelve seasonal workers who work more than thirty but less than forty-five days each calendar year
Generally, self-employed workers do not need to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, however, there are exceptions. In some instances, when a self-employed employee is performing work for another company, that company may require that a self-employed individual purchase a compensation insurance policy. Additionally, some health insurance policies preclude coverage if an illness or injury is work-related. Under these circumstances, purchasing worker’s compensation insurance may help with medical bills in the event that health insurance refrains from doing paying. Lastly, if you are self-employed but hire subcontractors, worker’s compensation insurance may be required in cases where the law classifies a subcontractor as an employee.
The purpose of obtaining compensation insurance is to ensure some form of economic relief in the event that an employee is injured on the job. Failure to do so can leave a business open to civil penalties, and the business may be required to stop all work until it pays a penalty and complies with the law. Failure to comply with an order to stop work could result in criminal charges.
According to the Division of Workers’ Compensation , the penalty for failing to obtain adequate worker’s comp insurance is “equal to 2 times the amount the employer would have paid in annual premium within the preceding two year period.” The Division of Workers’ Compensation further elaborates when a stop-work order may be issued, including when an employer:
- Understates or conceals payroll
- Misrepresents or conceals the employee’s duties
- Attempts to avoid paying the proper amount of premium on a Workers’ Comp Insurance policy
If you were injured on the job in Hialeah and are unsure of how to proceed, be sure to contact a worker’s compensation lawyer with Schlacter Law. Understanding the nuances of worker’s compensation law is essential in helping our clients receive the best compensation under the law.
How to Report an Injury
The first step in receiving worker’s comp benefits in Hialeah is notifying your employer. Florida requires an employee to report an injury within thirty days after the injury occurred or within thirty days of discovering the injury if it wasn’t apparent at the time of the accident. Failing to report an injury in a timely manner may result in losing all or some of the benefits entitled to you under the law. Notice to your employer should be in writing.
Detailing the accident is imperative. Be sure to provide your employer with as much information as possible, including:
- The date and time the accident occurred
- How the injury happened
- The injury or symptoms that resulted from the accident
After you inform your employer of the injury, the next step should be to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. While an attorney is not required, an experienced lawyer will understand the potential issues and will be sure that your best interests are given the proper attention.
After filing an incident report with your employer, your employer should refer you to a doctor to evaluate your injuries. Unless it’s an emergency, Florida allows the employer to choose the doctor for the evaluation. Following the evaluation, your employer should report the claim with their insurance carrier within seven days. It is possible to contact the insurance company directly in cases where the employer refuses to notify them themselves.
Following the claim, an insurance carrier reviews your medical records, as well as your experience, wages, and education to help determine your eligibility for benefits. Further medical examinations may be required, and a functional capacity evaluation is completed to determine your ability to work.
Florida law requires an insurance company to provide either an approval or a denial of benefits promptly. If approved, you will receive your disability payments. In cases where a claim is denied, it may be necessary to file a Petition for Benefits. This form should be filed within two years of the injury, or the later of one year after your last wage or medical payment.
From the moment a claim is denied it is recommended you consult with a worker’s comp lawyer in Hialeah. While you may proceed without a lawyer, many insurance company lawyers will argue for the least amount of benefits possible. The best defense in this situation is to have your own worker’s comp lawyer who knows the law and has the experience fighting for clients who were injured in work accidents.
What if You are Unable to File a Workers’ Compensation in Hialeah
Following an accident, there may be situations where you are unable to file a claim. This commonly occurs when an injury is so severe that the victim is in the hospital and unable to make a claim on their own behalf. In order to receive benefits, a Petition for Benefits must be filed or you risk losing potential benefits.
In these situations, it is also important that the injury is reported to your employer. If you are incapacitated for any reason, you will not be able to inform your employer that you were injured. In the event of an accident, it is recommended that you have a co-worker in mind who will agree to inform your employer of an injury, and vice versa. This ensures that if either one of you is injured on the job the initial steps for benefits are initiated.
It is important to recall that you have thirty days to report your injury to your employer. If you have made a good faith effort to let your employer know and benefit issues are still unresolved, talk with Schlacter Law. We can help ensure that a petition for benefits is properly completed and the correct parties are served with the paperwork. And in cases where compensation is inadequate, we can sue the insurance company to help get you the appropriate compensation.
Following the petition for benefits, a mediation hearing is scheduled to resolve compensation issues. If this fails to resolve any issues, then a final hearing is scheduled where an accident victim is required to present evidence to a panel of judges. This process can be complicated, and again, Schlacter Law can help by guiding you through this process and ensuring that you are prepared to present the proper evidence to receive benefits.
Common Workers’ Compensation Accidents in Hialeah
In Hialeah, there are several different types of work-related accidents that are more common than others. These types of accidents include:
- Vehicle accidents
- Falling objects
- Repetitive motions
- Machine accidents
- Walking into things
- Reactions to falls
Falls are some of the most common causes of accidents at work. From wet surfaces to uneven flooring, there are numerous reasons why falls occur so often. Falls can cause a wide range of injuries, including breaks and sprains, spinal injuries, brain injuries, and cuts and lacerations.
Overexertion is a common injury that occurs when a worker reaches too far or too quickly for something. Sprains are common following this type of accident, as well as spinal and neck injuries. Jobs that require repetitive motions are also prone to these types of injuries.
Vehicle accidents are common as well. Workplace vehicle accidents can occur at the workplace, as well as on public roads. Anytime a worker is required to drive between two destinations for work there is the potential for an accident to occur. Construction sites are also common occurrences for these types of accidents and can involve not only cars but heavy equipment as well.
Falling objects can be big or small and can cause a large range of injuries. Hialeah jobs that have materials stocked in high places can create these injuries as well as construction sites, and any other situation where materials are placed above the worker’s head. Cuts, bruises, lacerations, spinal and neck injuries are all common.
Repetitive motion injuries occur when a worker is required to make the same movement over and over again. Labor jobs requiring assembling products, and assembly lines are common locations for these injuries to occur. Sprains and muscle damage are common, and often these types of injuries require long-term care.
Factories are often where machine accidents occur the most. Any workplace that has machinery has the potential to cause a serious injury. Lawn crews, factory workers, and construction workers are often victims of machinery accidents. Injuries can include cuts, lacerations, broken bones, and even amputations.
Common accidents in Hialeah include walking into hazards that are in the path of a worker. This could include merchandise, furniture, or any other potentially dangerous object. These hazards can cause cuts, bruises, lacerations, sprains, and broken bones.
With so many causes of workplace injuries come so many reasons to contact a workers’ comp lawyer. Call us today so we can help ensure that you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically, receiving worker’s compensation benefits would bar an employee from suing their employer in court for additional compensation. In some circumstances, it may be possible to sue a third-party that was responsible for an injury such as the manufacturer of a defective product. To see if other avenues of compensation are available be sure to speak with an attorney for a consultation.
If you were injured on the job and your employer has failed to file a claim with their insurance company, you can contact the insurance company to ensure that a claim is filed. If no claim is filed within the time limits required to file a claim, you may become ineligible for the benefit. If you suspect your employer is failing to file a claim for an illegitimate reason speak with an attorney today for assistance.
Workers’ compensation is available to both part-time and full-time employees. Depending on the circumstances, even volunteers would be covered by their employer. if you suspect your employer is wrongfully denying a claim through their insurance carrier talk with a worker’s compensation attorney for a consultation.