Have you been injured on the job in Clearwater, FL? Under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, you may be entitled to benefits for your medical bills, lost wages, and disability. It’s important to take action as soon as possible to protect your right to benefits.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers has represented injured workers since 1996. Our law firm is here to help you fight for the full benefits you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a Clearwater workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your case.
How Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in Clearwater, FL
Filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits should be easy. You were injured on the job and you deserve benefits for medical treatment and lost wages.
Sadly, many injured workers face an uphill battle with their rightful claim denied, an insurance company that fights against the treatment they need, and an insurer-approved doctor who claims they are not really disabled.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers is here to fight for you and ensure your rights are protected. We have over 75 years of experience with two Board Certified Civil Trial attorneys, a designation shared by only 2% of Florida attorneys.
Our AV-rated law firm has recovered more than $100 million for our clients with proven expertise at the negotiation table.
A Clearwater personal injury attorney at Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers can help with every aspect of your workers’ compensation claim, from assistance filing your initial claim and appealing a denial to dealing with the insurance company. We will help you avoid missteps during your claim that can damage your case and fight for maximum benefits available under Florida law.
When you choose Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers to represent you, we will:
- Conduct an investigation into your accident to determine how it happened and if there are avenues for compensation outside of workers’ comp
- Answer any questions you may have
- Protect your legal rights
- Build strong medical evidence to support your claim
- Negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement and ensure the agreement is structured in the most beneficial way possible
- Help you appeal your case if your claim is denied
You do not need to face the complex workers’ compensation system alone. Contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free case review with a Clearwater workers’ comp lawyer to begin building your case. You pay nothing unless we recover compensation for you.
How Workers’ Compensation Works in Clearwater
Workers’ compensation is a compulsory system in Florida. The vast majority of Florida employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees if they are injured on the job. In exchange for a no-fault system to recover benefits, employees are barred from suing their employer.
Because workers’ comp is a no-fault system, negligence by the employer and fault on the employee’s part are not considered. The primary factor that determines whether an accident or injury is covered is whether it occurred on the job. Workers’ compensation covers only workplace injuries and illnesses.
According to Florida Statutes 440.093, only physical illnesses and injuries qualify for benefits. Mental or nervous injuries only qualify when there is a strong correlation with a physical injury that was sustained.
If you are injured on the job, you are required to report the injury to your employer within 30 days. The employer then reports the injury to their insurance carrier within a week. Employees will then have up to 2 years to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Choice of Physician
Under Florida law, injured employees do not have the right to choose their own physician when receiving workers’ comp benefits. You may be able to choose a physician from a list of approved doctors provided by your employer. Sometimes your employer may designate which physician you must visit.
The only exception to this rule is emergency treatment. You can see any provider in an emergency after you are injured, such as a hospital or urgent care provider.
Independent Medical Exam (IME)
Florida Statute 440.13 gives the insurance carrier and the injured worker the right to an Independent Medical Exam, or an objective evaluation of the injured worker’s condition performed by a medical advisor. If there is a dispute or issue in your claim, an IME becomes crucial.
Common situations in which IMEs become important include when a claim is denied by a carrier claiming there is a major contributing cause or when the carrier wants a second opinion about a costly treatment.
Who Is Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Clearwater?
Under Florida law, all employers who have 4 or more employees must carry workers’ compensation coverage to protect their employees. There are few exceptions to this rule.
All employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits including:
- Full-time workers
- Part-time workers
- Minors under the age of 18
- Workers who are not U.S. citizens or nationals, including aliens who are unlawfully employed
- Prisoners on work-release programs
Unless your employer has voluntarily purchased workers’ comp insurance, you are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits if you are any of the following:
- Independent contractor
- Domestic worker in a private home
- Casual laborer for a job that will not last more than 10 days
- Professional athlete
It’s important to note that Florida law makes several exceptions for the construction industry.
Employers in the construction industry must carry workers’ compensation insurance no matter how many employees they have, even if they only have one employee. Virtually all workers hurt in a construction accident are also eligible for benefits, including independent contractors and sole proprietors.
Types of Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation offers a range of benefits, but the type and amount will be based on the severity of the industry.
You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for the medical treatment you receive related to your workplace accident. Your benefits will pay for:
- Necessary medical treatments
- Physician visits
- Hospital stays
- Medical tests
- Required physical therapy
- Prescription medication
- Prosthetic devices
- Reimbursement for travel to/from your doctor and the pharmacy
Note that treatment must be provided by an approved medical provider, except in an emergency.
Temporary Total Disability
Under Florida Statute 440.15, you are entitled to 66.67% of your average weekly wages if you are temporarily totally disabled. These benefits can be paid for up to 104 weeks unless you meet an exception.
After 104 weeks, or after you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), temporary total benefits end and your permanent level of impairment is determined.
Temporary Partial Disability
If you are able to return to work on some modified basis and you are earning less than 80% of your average weekly wage, you are entitled to temporary partial disability. This benefit can provide 80% of the difference between 80% of your average weekly wage and what you are earning.
Temporary partial disability can be paid for up to 104 weeks or until you reach MMI.
Permanent Total Disability
Temporary benefits end when you reach Maximum Medical Improvement. To receive permanent disability benefits, your approved doctor must state that you sustained a permanent impairment rating and have reached MMI.
If you receive an impairment rating, you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to the age of 75. You must apply for Social Security benefits and cannot receive unemployment benefits.
When a worker dies from a work-related accident within one year of the accident, or continues on disability and dies within five years, death benefits must be paid. Workers’ compensation covers actual funeral expenses up to $7,500. This death benefit also includes paying the deceased worker’s dependents up to two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage (depending on the dependent type) up to $150,000.
Common Workplace Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp
At Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers, our Clearwater workers’ comp lawyers represent injured workers with all types of injuries. Some of the most common types of injuries covered by workers’ compensation include:
- Back and neck injuries
- Leg injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rotator cuff and shoulder injuries
- Joint injuries
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Toxic exposure
Almost any type of injury you sustain in a work-related accident can be covered by workers’ compensation. This includes worsening of a pre-existing condition. While pre-existing conditions like herniated discs are not covered, you can still be entitled to benefits if your job or a work-related accident cause your condition to worsen or progress.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, it’s important to consult with an experienced Clearwater workers’ compensation injury lawyer as soon as possible to protect your legal rights during the claims process.
Contact a Clearwater Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
A workplace accident can leave you with a painful and difficult recovery and even an inability to return to work. While workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, insurance companies still use many tactics to minimize and deny claims. Florida law also favors employers and insurance companies in many ways, including allowing the insurance company to choose the doctor who decides how injured you are and if you are disabled.
You deserve an advocate by your side to protect your rights and fight for the benefits you deserve. Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers has more than 75 years of combined experience fighting for injured workers in Florida. Call our law office today to schedule your free consultation with a Clearwater workers’ compensation lawyer to begin building your claim.
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