Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Pembroke Pines
As an increasing number of Americans join the workforce, so too does the number of workplace injuries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 5,250 fatal work injuries in 2018 and there were more than 2.8 million nonfatal occupational injuries. The National Safety Council estimates that every 7 seconds someone is injured at work resulting in over 100 million days of production lost.
In addition to these injuries, workers’ compensation claims cost Florida’s private insurers over $3 billion in 2017. From medical bills, lost time at work, and long-term rehabilitative care, workplace injuries can be costly. Luckily, workers’ compensation insurance is mandated by the state to provide you with help to recover from the accident to include monetary and medical benefits.
Unfortunately, not all injuries are covered under workers’ compensation insurance. And even if an injury is covered, issues arise as to whether the insurance company will cover your injury. If you were injured while on the job, then a Pembroke Pines workers’ compensation lawyer can help. The lawyers at Schlacter Law can help file a claim following an injury and ensure that you get the most from your workers’ compensation claim in Pembroke Pines. Call today.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation or “workers’ comp” is a type of insurance that helps injured employees not only receive much needed medical treatment but also pay a portion of your lost wages while you recover. A Pembroke Pines employer will typically purchase a workers’ compensation policy from a private insurer. Florida requires most employers to have this coverage for their employees. This requirement is based on the type of industry the company works in and/or the number of employees that work for the company.
In exchange for providing this insurance, employees are generally barred from suing their employer if they are injured on the job. Although there are some instances when an injury is caused by something or someone unrelated to the employer that allows you to file a lawsuit against those parties.
If an employer fails to obtain workers’ compensation insurance, they may be subject to penalties by the State of Florida. This can include monetary penalties and a possible “stop work order.” This would force the employer to cease all work until they comply with the law. Criminal charges and financial penalties could result if work continues without obtaining the proper insurance.
Workers’ compensation is a complex area of law, requiring someone with expertise to understand compliance and non-compliance issues. If you were injured at work and need assistance filing a workers compensation claim, then call a workers’ comp lawyer in Pembroke Pines today. We can help.
What Should You Do Following an Accident in Pembroke Pines?
Following a workplace injury there are several steps that are important in order to receive medical treatment and lost wages under a workers’ compensation claim:
- Inform your employer of the accident
- Request medical treatment from your employer
- File a claim for workers’ compensation
If an injury is severe, then be sure to immediately seek medical care after an accident. While your employer or their policyholder typically gets to choose which doctor provides care for a workers’ compensation claim, there are exceptions when urgent care is required. If an injury requires immediate medical care, then the employer’s workers’ compensation policy should cover the costs of emergency room care or a hospital stay. If the insurance carrier refuses to pay the bill, then a workers’ compensation attorney can help.
Regardless of the severity of an injury, it is important to inform your employer as soon as possible after an accident has occurred. It is in your best interest to inform your employer in writing, and include important information, such as:
- The date and time the accident occured
- How the accident occurred
- Any witnesses to the accident
- Any known physical injuries that resulted from the accident
Florida Statute §440.185 is the relevant Florida law that states how much time an employee has to report an injury to an employer. According to the statute, “an employee who suffers an injury arising out of and in the course of employment shall advise his or her employer of the injury within 30 days after the date of or initial manifestation of the injury.”
Failing to inform your employer of the injury within thirty days can bar an employee from receiving workers’ compensation. There are exceptions, such as cases where the injury “could not be identified without a medical opinion” and the employee informed their employer within thirty days of the medical opinion. Additionally, if a Pembroke Pines employer failed to post the requirement to report a workplace injury, an employee may still be entitled to workers’ compensation in some situations even if they failed to inform their employer. It is important for an employer to post pertinent workers’ compensation information for employees to read. Determining if notice was properly given to an employee is important and a workers’ comp lawyer can assist in determining if notice was properly given and help appeal a denial of any payments.
After you have informed your employer of the injury, they should immediately report the incident to their insurance carrier.. This is important in order to receive any medical treatment and lost wages for your injuries. In some instances, an employer may fail to inform the insurance company. Many times an employer may delay reporting the injury in an attempt to avoid having a claim filed under their policy. If this occurs, then the employee has the right to inform the insurance company on their own. Once the insurance company has been informed then this will initiate a claim with the insurance carrier,
After a claim for an injury is filed, your employer will request to have your injuries checked over by a doctor who can evaluate the injuries to see if they are eligible for lost wages and medical treatment. Under Florida Workers’ Compensation law, your employer or their insurance carrier picks your doctors. Fortunately, Florida law requires that any medical bills should be covered by your employer.
If a claim is accepted, then an injured worker would receive payments following the first seven days of lost work. Once a disability extends beyond 21 days, the payments may retroactively cover the first seven days of lost work.
The amount of compensation available under a claim will vary based on an employee’s pre-injury wage. A biweekly check is based upon whether the doctor you saw indicated you were on a “no work” or “restricted duty” work status. There is also a cap as the maximum weekly rate you can receive and that depends on your date of accident.
If a claim or benefits are denied, then you would file a claim called a Petition for Benefits in order to involve the workers’ compensation court. There are several reasons why an insurance company denies a claim. One such reason is the insurance carrier may dispute whether the injury was work-related. This can occur in cases where the injury took time to present itself. Some symptoms from injuries can occur weeks or months after the accident.
One of the most common reasons for a denial of compensation is a failure to file a claim within the proper deadlines. Missing important deadlines may give an insurance company grounds for denying a claim. If you were injured on the job, workers’ compensation will often compensate you for your injuries. However, in some cases receiving compensation is not always easy. From deadlines to doctor visits, it is important that an employee follows the proper procedures to receive compensation. Even when an employee follows the procedures, claims may still be denied. A Pembroke Pines workers compensation lawyer can help.
A workplace injury lawyer can make sure that your claim is addressed by your employer and/or their workers’ compensation insurance company. If you have questions concerning a workplace injury, then call us today. The Pembroke Pines workers’ comp lawyers at Schlacter Law are ready to help you.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Accidents
Some of the most common types of workplace accidents include:
- Vehicle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Reacting to falls
- Machine accidents
- Repetitive motion
- Falling objects
- Path hazards
- Workplace Violence
Vehicle accidents can occur on both public and private land and can happen when an employee is traveling between two destinations for work. These accidents can also occur at work. Typical examples include delivery drivers or construction workers operating heavy equipment on a construction site. Injuries can be varied, from something as minor as a cut to serious spinal and brain injuries.
Slip and fall accidents are very common in workplace accidents in Pembroke Pines. They can occur when a surface is wet or uneven or when the surface is not adequately given anti-slip protection. These types of accidents often result in broken bones and sprains but can also include serious spinal and brain injuries if the fall is severe enough.
Overexertion often occurs when a worker is required to reach for an object or bend over while trying to lift something heavy. Often these types of injuries include lower back and muscle issues, as well as sprains and even spinal cord injuries.
Reacting to a fall can cause more damage than a fall itself. When a worker attempts to brace themselves from a falling event it can break bones and cause serious nerve damage. Any type of fall has an opportunity to become a more serious injury if other objects are in the path of a fall, such as furniture or sharp objects.
Any workplace in Pembroke Pines that operates machinery can be a hazard to a worker. Any type of machine can create an injury. This might include something as small as an electrical device that was improperly installed, all the way to heavy construction equipment such as bulldozers and cranes. When these types of accidents occur, injuries can often be severe and require long-term medical care.
Repetitive motion injuries are common in factories and offices where workers are required to repeat a process over and over again. This repetitive motion can create sprains and muscle issues and often require long-term treatment.
Any workplace where materials are stored on shelves can create a falling hazard. This is common in areas where merchandise is stored on high shelves, requiring workers to move heavy items from high places. When an object falls on a worker common injuries include broken bones and sprains, and can even cause serious brain injuries.
Path hazards can include any object that creates a dangerous situation for a worker. When a path is not clear of hazards, all different types of accidents can occur, from slip and falls, to machine accidents. It is important for employers to keep their property clear of these hazards to avoid injuries to their employees.
Workplace violence either from co-employees or customers has become more commonplace. They can result in serious injuries. Given the numerous ways an employee can be injured, it is important that any injury is taken care of so that an employee can properly recover. If you were injured at work, then contact a Pembroke Pines lawyer today, so we can start the process of getting you the compensation you need.
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
How do I pay for a lawyer?
Attorneys are paid through a contingency fee arrangement. This means the lawyer only gets paid when they successfully recover compensation on your behalf. The amount the lawyer or law firm would receive depends on the amount of benefits and/or settlement obtained. This kind of fee arrangement helps a victim initiate a claim without having to pay any money upfront to the lawyer.
How much compensation can I expect to receive?
Determining the amount of compensation available to an injured worker is often difficult to assess without knowing the circumstances of and the severity of the injury. You will be paid a tax-free percentage of your pre-injury wages. The length of the payment of these benefits depends on your physician’s assigned physical restrictions. To ensure that you get the most money possible call a Pembroke Pines attorney today for a consultation.
What if I was partly to blame for an injury?
While Florida does follow comparative negligence doctrine for non-work related accidents, it does not apply in workers’ compensation. Unless you purposely caused your accident, you receive full benefits. The only reduction can occur if you are not wearing an employer provided safety device. Currently, in Pembroke Pines, fault is not taken into consideration when determining the amount of money paid to the employee.