Mark Roman | March 14, 2022 | Workers' Compensation
Every state has its own workers’ compensation system, and Florida is no exception. If you work in Clearwater, you might find yourself with a workers’ compensation claim after an injury or an occupational illness. Should you hire a lawyer to represent you in the hopes of securing a better deal? The answer is usually “yes” for several reasons.
Overview of Workers’ Comp
If you suffer an injury on the job, workers’ comp will compensate you for your medical expenses, disability, and lost earnings. If necessary, it will provide death benefits to your survivors.
Workers’ comp will not, however, compensate you for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering or mental anguish. One major advantage of workers’ comp is that you don’t have to prove your employer was at fault to win your claim. It is a no-fault system. If you show you were injured on the job, you are entitled to benefits.
Two Common Problems With Workers’ Comp
The two most common problems with workers’ comp claims are:
- Your employer might deny your claim out of concern that their workers’ comp insurance premiums might rise if they file too many claims.
- Workers’ comp might offer you an inadequate settlement. Be suspicious even if their offer seems generous because that might just mean that your claim is worth a lot more than you think it is.
Whether your problem is the denial of your claim or an inadequate settlement offer, you can fight back by hiring a workers’ comp lawyer to represent you.
Do You Know Your Rights Under the Workers’ Compensation System?
Workers’ compensation law is complex, and its nuances vary from state to state. It is unlikely that you understand as much as you need to about workers’ compensation to ensure you received adequate recovery after your accident.
In addition to understanding the law, a reputable workers’ compensation lawyer should know how to apply the law to the specific facts of your claim to get you the best deal possible.
If Florida workers’ comp refuses to offer you an adequate settlement, you generally cannot file a lawsuit against your employer or the workers’ compensation system. One exception is if your employer intentionally injures you. You can, however, file a workers’ compensation appeal. An appeal can be a complex process that requires the assistance of a lawyer.
It is Illegal for Your Employer to Retaliate Against You for Pursuing a Workers’ Comp Claim
Your employer cannot fire you, demote you, lay you off, or deny you any employment benefit as a way of retaliating against you for pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. If your employer even tries, talk to your lawyer about how to fight back.
Taking Your Claim Outside of the Workers’ Compensation System
Perhaps the main disadvantage of the workers’ compensation system is that you cannot obtain damages for intangible losses such as pain and suffering and mental anguish. These intangible losses often amount to a great portion of damages in a personal injury claim. That is the price you pay for being relieved of the need to prove that your employer was at fault.
However, if a third party caused your accident, you may have a right to file a lawsuit for damages beyond workers’ comp. For instance, you might file a slip and fall claim against the owner of a construction site (if they are not your employer). If an unsafe condition on the owner’s premises caused your injury, you could start out by filing a formal written claim and attempting to negotiate a settlement. If settlement talks stall, however, you can file an ordinary personal injury lawsuit.
The Benefits of Filing a Lawsuit
There are two major benefits of filing a lawsuit:
- It pressures the defendant to settle because it shows you mean business; and
- It allows you access to the discovery process — a court-supervised system of gathering evidence in the possession of the opposing party that could greatly strengthen your claim.
Filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that you will go to trial. You can still settle your claim before trial, and in most cases, this is exactly what happens.
Hiring a Lawyer Can Maximize Your Chances of Victory
The sooner you get a lawyer involved, the more likely you are to see a successful resolution. Remember, most workers’ comp lawyers will only charge you legal fees only if they win your claim. A lawyer will protect your best interests throughout your claim and ensure that you get everything you deserve after your injury.
Contact the Clearwater Workers Compensation Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a workers compensation lawyer in Clearwater. We have five convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655