The Florida workers’ compensation system was designed to provide benefits to employees for job-related accidents or illnesses. Although the system was designed to efficiently compensate victims, it is not always routine to recover the benefits that you need and are legally entitled to. The aggressive workers’ compensation lawyers at Payer & Associates can guide people in Miami and the surrounding areas through this complex process with compassion and dedication.
Pursuing Benefits through the Workers’ Compensation System
In Florida, all businesses that have a minimum of four employees, whether full-time or part-time, must carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, within the construction industry, all businesses with even just one employee must carry this insurance. People who are injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault.
Workplace accidents can happen in nearly any environment, but there are some industries, such as the construction industry, that are particularly dangerous for workers. Employees have the right to seek benefits for many different types of job-related injuries, including traumatic brain injuries caused by trauma, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, joint damage, neurological injuries, repetitive trauma or stress injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and psychiatric injuries.
The workers’ compensation system in Florida was originally designed to permit injured employees to recover benefits without having to prove fault and engage in litigation through the courts. Court proceedings can take a very long time and are often quite expensive. However, the workers’ compensation system has changed dramatically in recent years and can be very complex and challenging to navigate. Factors that may affect your ability to recover benefits include the location of your accident, who was at fault for the accident if not your employer, your pre-injury earnings or wages (average weekly wage), the opinion of your treating doctor and how the insurance carrier responds to your claim.
Many people who are hurt at work may face the prospect of substantial medical bills and time away from the job. Injured workers can potentially recover a number of different benefits that ease the burden of these costs and losses. For example, temporary total disability payments are made in an amount determined by a percentage (66.66%) of the injured worker’s average weekly wage. This is subject to a weekly maximum payment. Currently, temporary benefits only last up to 104 weeks, and they are subject to Social Security and Unemployment Insurance benefit offsets.
In some cases, an employee may be permanently disabled after a work accident under Florida Statutes section 440.15(1). Permanent disability payments continue as long as an employee remains disabled but in most cases entitlement to such benefits shall cease at the age 75, unless the employee is not eligible for social security benefits under 42 U.S.C. s. 402 or s. 423 because the employees compensable injury prevented him or her from working sufficient quarters to be eligible for such benefits, notwithstanding any age limits. They are also based on a percentage of your pre-injury wages, up to a weekly maximum.
If your spouse or parent died in a job-related accident, you may be entitled to death benefits, which include funeral expenses, two-thirds of the decedent’s average weekly wage, and even schooling expenses for a surviving spouse. You can contact our Miami workers compensation attorneys for more information.
In Florida, you will need to report your injury to your employer within 30 days of an accident or becoming aware of it. If you do not report your work related injury within 30 days your employer and their insurance company may deny your claim under Florida Statutes 440.185.
If your accident occurred on a construction site or due to the negligence of someone other than your employer, you may also have a personal injury claim against a third party (third-party tortfeasor) that is not your employer, such as a crane operator, contractor, subcontractor, manufacturer, or supplier. In this case you should contact our construction accident lawyers.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Florida
If you were hurt on the job in Florida, you are most likely entitled to recover partial income replacement and medical benefits from the workers’ compensation system. For injured Florida workers, these benefits are critically important to provide support during their recovery period. Unfortunately, obtaining your full and fair workers’ compensation benefits is not always easy. To help ensure that your claim is processed effectively, you need to avoid any mistakes during the filing process. To help you get started, our experienced Miami workers compensation lawyers explain the steps for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida.
Steps for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
- Report Your Injury to Your Supervisor.
Under Chapter 440.185 of the Florida state statutes, injured workers are required to report their injury to their supervisor within 30 calendar days of the initial manifestation of the injuries or the medical condition. If you fail to report your injury on time, you may not be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Do not let this happen to you. Report your accident as soon as you are able.
- Attempt to Informally Resolve the Claim.
After you file a report with your employer, you are supposed to receive an official copy of the First Report of Injury or Illness form. If you have not received this form, you should speak to an attorney immediately. Hopefully, your claim will quickly be approved and you will start receiving benefits within 21 business days.
- Contact a Qualified Worker’s Compensation Attorney.
If your workers’ compensation claim cannot be resolved informally, you need to get an experienced Miami work injury lawyer on the phone as soon as possible. Indeed, you should not go any further into the claims process without qualified legal representation. Your lawyer will be able to review your case and help you prepare to submit an official petition for your benefits.
- File Your Petition for Benefits.
When an insurance company refuses to pay your claim, for any reason, you will need to file a petition for benefits. This is a very complex legal document. It is strongly advised that you seek legal help when completing your Florida workers’ compensation petition. It is imperative that you get this step of the process right.
Your attorney will not only make sure that the petition itself is completely properly, but also that you have included any and all relevant supporting documents and records. This will likely include your medical records, and it could also include witness statements and other information.
Miami Workers’ Compensation FAQs
- What is workers’ comp?
- Can a worker receive social security disability benefits as a result of a work related injury in Florida?
- Can my employer fire me in Florida when I am receiving workers compensation benefits and am unable to work?
- Do I have to be examined by a doctor recommended by the workers compensation insurance company to get my benefits in Florida?
- Do I have to be injured at my workplace to be covered by workers compensation in Florida?
- Do I have to pay any of my medical bills for a work related injury in Florida?
- How long after a Florida accident do I have to report the injury to my employer?
- How long do you have to seek medical treatment to be able to qualify for PIP benefits?
Contact Our Miami Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
If you have been hurt on a job site or in a work-related accident, you should consult the aggressive personal injury, workers’ compensation and wrongful death attorneys at Payer & Associates. We have assisted many Miami residents with asserting their rights, using more than 40 years of combined experience. We also have represented injured individuals in the Opa Locka area and in cities throughout Miami-Dade County, including Miami Gardens, South Miami, and Hialeah. Call us or contact us online to schedule your free confidential consultation with one of our Miami workers compensation lawyers. We are available for home and hospital visits upon request and are available to meet with you 24 hours a day 7 days a week.