Being injured at work can be a life-changing event. It can be a very difficult time for those involved, especially if the employer and workers compensation carrier are trying to minimize the employee's injuries.
The last thing injured employees want to worry about is the financial problem caused by the injury and dealing with the insurance carrier. This is where we can help.
We have been handling workers compensation claims throughout Northwest Florida since 1955, and have earned a reputation as one of the most successful personal injury law firms in the nation, winning more than $4 billion dollars in jury verdicts and settlements.
Our law office is located in downtown Pensacola, and our attorneys live in the community.
Who Can File a Workers Compensation Claim
If you are injured on the job in Florida, you are entitled to compensation, regardless of who is at fault.
Unlike other personal injury cases, you will not have to prove your employer did anything wrong in causing your injury. Instead, you simply must prove that you were an employee (not an independent contractor) at the time you were injured, and that your injury occurred during the course of your employment.
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Workers Compensation Claim
In a workers compensation lawsuit, an employer’s insurance carrier will be responsible to pay the following:
- Medical expenses
- A portion of your wage loss
- Employment retraining expenses
- Compensation for permanent injuries
- If the injury results in death, dependent family members may be eligible for monetary compensation
In exchange for the above-guaranteed workers comp payments you generally cannot sue your employer. However, you can sue a third party who negligently caused your injury. For example, if you were injured at work while using a machine, you are automatically entitled to workers comp benefits. In most cases you would not be able to sue your employer for doing something that caused your injury, however, you might be able to sue the manufacturer if the machine was defective.
How Do I File for Workers Compensation Benefits
Filing a claim is easy. You report the incident to your employer within 30 days of it occurring, and your employer then notifies its insurance company.
The Florida Division of Workers Compensation also will make a report to your employer's insurance carrier. The carrier then has 120 days within which to decide whether to accept your claim as valid. If accepted, the doctor's fees and any disability payments are paid according to a fee schedule.
If you are temporarily unable to work due to the injury, you will receive money to cover your wage loss, usually starting three weeks from your injury and after your claim has been approved. Your employer will notify the insurance company to discontinue the wage-replacement checks as soon as you recover and return to work.
Which Employers Must Carry Workers Compensation Coverage
In Florida, if an employer employs four or more employees on a regular basis, it must obtain a workers compensation insurance policy. These employers have a legal obligation to provide their employees with a safe workplace, and must purchase insurance to provide compensation to workers who are injured in the course of their employment.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Workers Comp Claim
If you are a Florida employee, you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days of it occurring.
Next, you must file a claim within two years of the injury. After the two-year period, you must seek authorized medical treatment, or receive reimbursement for your injury, at least once per year. Otherwise, you will lose your right to seek future compensation.
The most important thing is that you immediately seek legal advice when you become aware of a potential workers compensation injury, even if you decide not to hire a lawyer. We will provide you a confidential and free consult, even if you decide not to hire us. This way you at least can determine your rights, and how long you have to pursue those rights.