A Guide to Worker’s Compensation in Florida

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A Guide to Worker’s Compensation in Florida

by | Apr 12, 2017 | Accidentes, Compensación a los trabajadores, Lesiones Personales, Seguro

Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Palm Beach make up the largest workforce in Florida. And many of these jobs in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Palm Beach are those which are prone to injuries. If an employee was to be injured on the job, it is important they know what to do.

If you are injured on the job in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or anywhere in Florida, then here are some things you should do:

Tell your employer you have been injured, as soon as possible. The law in Florida requires that you report the accident or your knowledge of a job related injury within 30 days of your knowledge of the accident or injury, or within 30 days of a doctor determining you are suffering from a work-related injury.

When you do so, you must ask your employer what doctor you can see. You must see a doctor authorized by your employer and/or their insurance company. Every employer with limited exceptions is required to carry worker’s compensation insurance coverage in Florida. There are many doctors in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Palm Beach that focus on work related injuries.

Your employer may tell you to call the insurance company handling your claim; the name and phone number can likely be found on the “Broken Arm” poster that can be found in most workplaces or by contacting the human resources department, where one is available. If you are unable to determine the insurance carrier, then a phone call to a worker’s compensation attorney who is in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or anywhere in Florida would be able look up the information necessary for you to make a claim.

However, if it is an emergency and/or your employer is not available to tell you where to go for treatment, go to the nearest emergency room and let your employer know as soon as possible what occurred. After you or your employer report the injury to the insurance company, an insurance claim adjuster will usually call you within 24 hours to explain your rights and obligations. If you receive a message and a number to call, it is in your best interest to call as soon as possible to find out what you need to do, and where you need to go, to get medical treatment. Often insurance companies want you to receive treatment with an approved worker’s compensation doctor.

If your injury occurred in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or anywhere in Florida expect to receive a brochure explaining your rights and obligations within 3-5 business days after the accident is reported. This brochure will be accompanied by a notification letter outlining the services provided by the Employee Assistance Office of the Division of Workers’ Compensation. It is recommended you keep and save all of these correspondences.

When the time comes to see a physician, be sure to give the doctor a full description of the accident or circumstances of your injury. You should answer all questions the doctor might have about any past or current medical conditions or injuries truthfully and discuss with the doctor if the injury is related to work or not. It is important to ask your doctor if you can return to work or not. If you are released to work, but can’t return to your same job, then you should receive instructions from the doctor on what work you can and cannot do. Remember, it is important that you attend all appointments with your doctor, or your benefits may be suspended.

Contact your employer as soon as you leave the doctor; however, if you were admitted to a hospital, call or have someone call your employer so you can explain what happened and where you are. It is important to give your employer the doctor’s note as soon as possible. Remember to ask your employer if they have work that does not require you to engage in activities that your doctor advised against. If they do not, make sure your employer has a way to contact you if suitable work becomes available. Make sure to contact the insurance company and let them know what the doctor said about your injuries, work status, and whether your employer has work available within your physical restrictions. We advise that you remain in contact with your employer and the insurance company throughout your treatment and recovery.

What benefits will I be eligible for?

Some of the most frequently asked questions amongst injured workers in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Bach, and throughout Florida address their concerns over what benefits they can receive for being injured on the job. If you are unable to work for more than 7 days, you may be eligible to receive compensation to partly replace what you were not able to earn after your accident. If your doctor says you cannot work at all, you may be eligible to receive compensation equaling about 66% or 2/3 of your regular wages at the time you were hurt. Your benefit is paid to you beginning with the 8th day you lose time from work. The first 7 days lost from work is only paid if you lose more than 21 days from work. If your injury is critical, you may receive 80% of your regular wages for up to 6 months after the accident. You can receive up to a total of 104 weeks of temporary total disability and/or temporary partial disability benefits.

If you can return to work, but cannot earn the same wages you earned at the time you were hurt, you may receive compensation equaling 80% of the difference between 80% of what you earned before your injury and what you are able to earn after your injury. Once your doctor says you are at Maximum Medical Improvement, you are as good as he or she expects you to get. At this point your doctor should evaluate you for possible permanent work restrictions and a permanent impairment rating. If you receive a permanent impairment rating, you will receive compensation based on that rating.

Often, we find that in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and throughout Florida insurance companies work with doctors whom are incentivized by the insurance company to get the injured worker back to work as quickly as possible. The injured worker may not have fully healed and is still injured. In that case, it may be the right time to call a worker’s compensation attorney such as Pacin Levine, P.A. at (888) 450-4909.

But what if the insurance company is disputing my claim for worker’s compensation?

Unfortunately, this is a common problem that many injured workers want answered. First, try to talk about the problem with the insurance adjuster or their supervisor. If you still need assistance, contact the Worker’s Compensation hotline at 1-800-342-1741. If the insurance company still will not agree to pay the benefits that you believe you are entitled to, then you can file a Petition for Benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims. It is at this point that you may wish to hire an Attorney. By contacting Pacin Levine, P.A. at (888) 450-4909 you can receive more information about how we can assist you in resolving any disputes you may have with the insurance company. We operate on a contingent fee basis. Meaning, unless we recover, then you owe us nothing. And in most cases, the insurance company will have to pay us our fees.

I am scared I will lose my job if I file a worker’s compensation claim!

It is not an uncommon feeling to worry about job loss if you make a worker’s compensation claim. But remember, if you are making a worker’s compensation claim in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or anywhere in Florida, then that claim will be against your employer’s insurance company. In fact, if a Petition is filed in Court, that Petition is filed against the insurance company. Most importantly, an employer who terminates an employee for making a claim against the worker’s compensation insurance carrier could be held liable in an employment lawsuit for retaliation and/or wrongful termination. Simply put, it is illegal to fire an employee for making a worker’s compensation claim in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or anywhere in Florida.

If you are concerned about making a worker’s compensation claim and want further advice, then give us a call for a free consultation. Call Pacin Levine, P.A. 24/7 at (888) 450-4909.

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