State law requires almost every employer in the state to have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance serves two main purposes: First, it provides an employer with protection from an injured worker’s civil damages if they are hurt on the job. Second, it provides the injured worker with economic benefits to help them recover from a work-related injury.
Workers’ compensation is a legal remedy for employees who are injured on the job, entitling them to certain benefits, including:
The employer itself, or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy, is obligated to pay these benefits directly to or on behalf of eligible employees. Non-exempt employers are responsible for payment of the benefits to any employee injured while in the course of employment. Employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance or be approved to self-insure.
Unfortunately, both employers and insurance companies share the common goal of finding ways to undervalue your claim. If you have been injured on the job, let an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney at Callejo Law help.
Workers’ compensation law allows workers who have been injured on the job to collect certain financial benefits for themselves and their dependents, even if no employer fault is established. However, there is a trade-off: workers’ compensation laws also protect employers from being sued for job-related injuries or deaths, even if the employer was at fault or maintained a dangerous workplace environment. This limits the types of damages a plaintiff could recover in a personal injury claim.
In other words, workers’ compensation benefits are the only remedy an injured worker has, even if the employer was negligent in causing the injury. This is often known as the “Sole Remedy” rule. Some injured workers may find this unfair, and it is important for them to discern whether their situation would qualify as an exception to the Sole Remedy rule.
Under the law, an injured worker may only file a civil claim against their employer under specific conditions, including:
If you believe your case involves any of these variables, it is crucial to consult a Miami workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. They can help you determine whether you have grounds for legal action outside of the workers’ compensation claim filing process.
Most employees are covered starting day one of employment in Florida, whether they are full-time or part-time employees, seasonal workers, or are salaried or paid hourly. In addition, certain subcontractors and independent contractors may be covered as “employees” if they work in furtherance of an employer’s trade or business or are engaged in substantial manual labor.
There are typically limited exemptions, such as uncompensated corporate directors and officers of non-profit organizations, domestic employees, real estate salespersons, and most volunteer workers. Public officials are specifically exempt.
There are some exceptions; for example, if a third party, such as a truck driver for an independently hired trucking company, actually caused the accident, you may have a personal injury claim against that driver and/or trucking company. You could file your workers’ compensation claim and then pursue compensation for the damages that workers’ compensation insurance won’t cover with your third-party personal injury case.
It’s important to note that you will not be automatically disqualified from claiming workers’ compensation benefits if you caused your own injury. As long as you made a mistake while working in good faith, you can still claim benefits for an injury you caused through your own simple negligence. However, if you were working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, intentionally violated applicable safety regulations, or engaged in irresponsible horseplay in the workplace and caused your injury, these issues would jeopardize your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
Whatever type of work-related injury you suffered, you should report the injury to your supervisor immediately and seek medical care as soon as possible. You can see any doctor if you need emergency treatment, but most injured workers will be required to undergo medical evaluations from physicians approved by their employers’ insurance carriers.
The workers’ compensation doctor you visit will assign you a disability rating, which is a numerical indicator of the severity of your injury and the long-term or permanent medical complications it is likely to cause. The higher your rating, the more you will receive in benefits.
The average injured worker in Miami who qualifies for workers’ compensation will receive two forms of benefits if they succeed with their claim. First, the insurance carrier will pay for all their medical expenses. The claimant has the right to expect full coverage of immediate and future medical care they need to recover as fully as possible from their injury. Second, the insurance carrier will pay disability benefits that reflect the severity of the claimant’s injury and diminished earning capacity.
If you are completely unable to work in the aftermath of your injury, you may qualify to receive total disability benefits. Each week, the insurance company will pay you about two-thirds of your average weekly wage for a maximum of 104 weeks. If you are still unable to work after this period you may file a request for an extension. If you are able to work but you cannot earn the same amount of income as you did prior to your injury, partial disability benefits could be awarded to make up the difference. You will need to report weekly earnings to the insurance carrier, and it will adjust each disbursement accordingly.
It is vital to remember that filing a claim for workers’ compensation is similar to how you would file any other type of insurance claim. However, you not only face the risk of the insurance carrier handling your claim in bad faith but also potential complications due to your employer’s involvement in the claim filing process. If your employer refuses to provide you with the forms needed to file your claim, or if they retaliate against you in any other way, you could have grounds for a civil action against them.
Hiring an experienced Miami workers’ compensation attorney is the optimal choice for anyone struggling in the aftermath of a work-related injury. Your attorney can guide you through the initial claim filing process, resolve any disputes that may arise with your claim, and help you maximize the total compensation you secure. If you have grounds for additional legal action, they will assist you in exploring these recovery options as well.
While workers’ compensation insurance typically protects employers from facing liability for their injured workers’ damages, the same does not apply to a third party responsible for your injury. If any party outside of your work caused your injury, they face the same liability as they would in any other personal injury case. Once you have secured as much compensation as possible through your workers’ compensation claim, a successful third-party personal injury suit could yield compensation for your outstanding damages.
For example, you could claim compensation for the portion of your lost income not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. You could also seek compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced, which is not available through workers’ compensation benefits. Attorney Karen Callejo and her team at Callejo Law can work closely with you in the aftermath of your work injury to help you determine the extent of the recovery options available to you, streamlining your recovery process and securing as much compensation as state law allows for your damages.
Callejo Law has over 25 years of legal experience and focuses entirely on personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. We are experienced, accessible, and available to offer you personalized attention at any time. The quality of our service has earned us a perfect 5.0 on Google Reviews, and all clients have Ms. Callejo’s cell phone number.
Contact an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney at Callejo Law for help if you have suffered injuries at work. We offer free consultations, same-day returns of phone calls and emails, bilingual representation, and 24/7/365 availability.
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