If you have a work-related illness or injury in Florida, you may qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers’ Compensation can help you pay your bills and care for your family when an injury leaves you unable to return to work right away.
Unfortunately, these cases are not always easy to navigate. The Fort Myers personal injury lawyers at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can help you get the benefits you need.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
To qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits, you must have a work-related illness or injury, report the injury on time, and follow the required procedures.
The Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier will look for any excuse to deny your claim, so we must work closely to ensure you comply with every rule and meet every deadline to preserve your eligibility for benefits.
Does My Employer Carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
[hc-callout]By state law, most employers must provide Workers’ Compensation coverage.[/hc-callout]
However, some employers refuse to follow state law or let coverage lapse. To determine whether your employer carries Workers’ Compensation coverage, check the Florida CFO coverage page.
Note: If you are a longshoreman, harbor worker, an employee of a railroad, or a defense contractor for the federal government, you might be able to collect benefits through federal Workers’ Compensation programs.
Whether you fall within state or federal coverage, we will tell you the steps of the claims process and navigate the system for you to get the recovery you deserve.
What Types of Workers’ Compensations Benefits Are Available in Florida?
[hc-callout]Florida has three kinds of Workers’ Compensation benefits: medical benefits, lost wages, and death benefits.[/hc-callout]
Our attorneys can examine your case to help you understand which benefits you are eligible for after a workplace accident or injury.
Workers’ Compensation carriers must pay medical benefits for:
- Medical treatment;
- Physical therapy;
- Diagnostics and testing;
- Prescription drugs;
- Mileage reimbursement; and
- Prosthetic devices.
“You have to go to the doctor the insurance company selects for treatment.”
Workers’ Compensation does not pay for treatment by your regular doctor. You can go to your physician for one visit immediately if your employer approves, but after that, you have to go to the doctor the insurance company selects for treatment.
When you seek treatment, tell all healthcare providers who treat you for your illness or injury, including the emergency room, that your condition is work-related. Give them the contact name and phone number for your employer or the insurance carrier.
Lost Wages and Other Monetary Awards
There are four categories for lost wages and other monetary compensation:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) applies when you cannot do any work initially but can work again eventually. Your benefits can equal between 66 2/3 and 80 percent of your regular wages, as long as they do not exceed the state maximum.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)applies if can work, but you cannot do everything you could before. You may be eligible for benefits if you get wages during this time that are less than 80 percent of your previous wages.
- Impairment Income Benefits (IIB)may apply if your condition does not improve. An evaluator will assign you an impairment rating and calculate the money you will receive.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) applies ifyou can never perform any work again because of your injury or illness. To qualify, your medical condition must have improved as much as it is going to and you must be completely disabled.
You may qualify for death benefits if a loved one died due to a work-related incident. If a spouse or parent died within one year of their accident—or within five years of continuous disability—the state will provide up to $7,500 for funeral expenses, educational benefits for the surviving spouse, and compensation to dependents, not to exceed $150,000 in total.
How Much Time Do I Have to Report a Work-Related Illness or Injury?
You only have 30 days from when the incident occurred—or a doctor informed you that your condition was work related—to report your injury. You may receive a denial for your claim if you wait too long.
That is why we recommend you file a report with your employer as soon as you know your illness or injury is work-related. Do this in writing using the correct form, so you have proof of when you gave the notification.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
You can file a Workers’ Compensation claim without an attorney, but having one will allow you to concentrate on getting well. If you have an unusual case or if your employer was guilty of gross negligence, a lawyer can help you get benefits you might not otherwise know about.
[hc-callout]When we handle your claim, we will:
- Make sure you are eligible for benefits;
- Verify that your employer reported your claim;
- Report the claim if your boss refuses to do so;
- Tell you what to expect at every turn;
- Listen to you and treat you with respect;
- Gather your medical and employment records to build your case;
- Calculate the value of your claim;
- Field settlement offers and negotiate on your behalf;
- Review all settlement documents; and
- Fight to get the money you deserve.[/hc-callout]
What If the Insurance Company Will Not Offer a Fair Settlement or Denies My Claim?
We can take your claim to multiple levels of decision-makers. We will first try to negotiate a settlement with the Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier. After we exhaust all available managed care grievance options, we can file a Petition for Benefits. This will send the dispute to mediation.
If we do not resolve your claim in mediation, we can get a hearing before a Workers’ Compensation judge. We can file an appeal with the 1st District Court of Appeal if we are unsatisfied with the judge’s decision. The Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine will do whatever it takes to get you the Workers’ Compensation benefits you deserve.
[hc-callout]For a free claim evaluation with a Fort Myers attorney, call 800-747-3733 today. [/hc-callout]
We Can Help.