In addition to a safe working environment, most Florida employers are required to provide you with workers’ compensation insurance to cover any injuries you experience while on the job.
In some cases, though, injured workers are denied the compensation they deserve. The bad news often snowballs as lost wages and mounting medical bills put the injured worker even further behind.
Recent news reports confirm that Florida has the second most workplace accidents in the country. As a result, workers in the Sunshine State are often left with no other option than to seek legal help in securing the justice and compensation they deserve.
How Often Is Someone Injured On the Job?
According to the National Safety Council, a worker is injured every seven seconds. That’s 12,600 workplace injuries each day; 88,500 per week; and 4.6 million – on average – each year.
Which states tend to have the most reported workplace accidents? Texas leads the nation. Florida is a close second. Construction accidents are common in Philadelphia, which helps to make Pennsylvania the third most dangerous state for workers.
Most of the injuries, which are preventable, involve:
- Overexertion (the stretching of tendons and muscles by lifting, pulling, carrying or pushing an object)
- Falling on an uneven, messy or slippery surface
- Being struck by a piece of equipment.
Among the most common injuries associated with construction accidents are:
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries from handling explosive material
- Amputation of limbs or digits
- Sickness or illnesses resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals or other materials
- Hearing loss due to loud machinery
- Damage to knees, arms, and ankles
Such injuries can be both physically and financially draining, and recovery can take weeks, months or years.
What Are the Workers’ Compensation Rules in Florida?
Florida law says all employers with four or more employees are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Rules for the construction industry, though, require employers with just one or more workers must provide worker’s comp.
As long as your injuries happened while on the job or during the process of carrying out work duties, you’re under no obligation to prove your employer was at fault.
In order to begin receiving workers’ comp benefits, you need to report the injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident. Then, your employer has seven days to file a claim with their insurance provider.
Assuming all goes well, you should receive your first benefit check within 21 days of reporting it to your employer.
Can My Claim Be Denied?
Absolutely. As we noted above, some employers and their insurance providers will look for just about any reason to reject a claim.
The most common reasons for workers’ comp denials include:
- Claims that the injury was not work-related
- The employee missed the timeframe for filing a claim
- A pre-existing condition was the cause of the injury
- The victim’s injuries were not as serious and have since healed
- Drug or alcohol use was the reason for the injury.
A denial, though, doesn’t mean you won’t receive the benefits to which you’re entitled. It simply means you’ll have to take a few more steps to secure them.
In most cases, you have two years to file a petition if you’ve been denied benefits through workers’ comp.
When making a claim, research shows that an injury lawyer specializing in workplace injury claims can be a tremendous advantage for you. In a survey of workers initially denied benefits, those who hired a lawyer received – on average – 47% more in benefits than those who did not.
What Should I Do If I’m Injured On the Job?
Your first step should be a complete medical exam by a doctor. Besides determining the extent of your injuries and beginning treatment for recovery, your exam begins to document the accident.
Next, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in workplace injury claims. While you may not think this is a necessary step at first, having a lawyer on your side greatly improves the likelihood of your claim being approved.
A lawyer will also ensure you do not miss any of the strict deadlines that could result in your claim being denied.
Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit For a Workplace Accident?
Generally, the workers’ comp system prevents workers from suing their employer over workplace accidents. A worker’s comp claim is the injured employee’s only recourse. However, if a third party was responsible for the accident, a personal injury suit may be an option.
For example, if a truck driver is hurt in a crash while on a job-related delivery, they may sue the at-fault driver. This would be in addition to making a workers’ comp claim.
Can I File A Personal Injury Claim If a Loved One of Mine Died While Working?
Yes, you can. Under Florida law, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. The claim must be filed by either the direct surviving family members of the victim or the victim’s estate. For more information, call the personal injury lawyers in Miami at Lavent Law, P.A. today for a free consultation.