After sustaining an injury at work, the prospect of filing a Florida workers’ compensation claim can seem overwhelming. In many cases, injured workers are already contending with painful and inconvenient injuries, financial instability, and a mountain of stress.
You may even be faced with the possibility of taking an extended amount of time off work, changing jobs completely, or not being able to do things you once loved.
With the expert counsel and extensive resources of KMW to support you, you can rest assured we will relentlessly pursue fair compensation in your workers’ compensation claim.
Ready to talk? Call us at (561) 295-5825
Why Should I Choose KMW To Handle My Workers’ Comp Claim?
The experienced workers’ comp lawyers at KMW are well-versed in the process of recovering the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses associated with your injuries. We have built a reputation based on integrity and a results-driven approach.
At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh we pride ourselves on being able to champion our injured clients at the negotiation table and at trial. Our award-winning lawyers have the trial experience to take on powerful insurance companies and large corporations to recover maximum compensation for damages.
Our tireless advocacy for injured workers has earned us the praise of our peers and clients alike. Reach out to our Jupiter office today to schedule a free strategy session with our team. We’ll help you determine the best course of action to recover your expenses while you focus on healing from your injuries.
Understanding Florida Workers Comp
The purpose of the workers’ compensation system is to expedite the process of paying injured workers for their medical bills and lost wages. In order to accomplish this, insurance companies do not consider fault when determining whether a claim is legitimate and how much it is worth. You may still recover compensation for your work injury even if you were at fault.
Qualifications to Receive Workers’ Compensation in Florida
The Florida law outlines several criteria that a workers’ compensation claim must meet before it is deemed credible. A couple of the most notable points are highlighted below.
- The accident that caused the injury and resulting damages must have occurred “while performing the course and scope” of your job duties.
- This applies even if the accident didn’t happen at your actual workplace. For example, if you were driving a company car and got into a car accident on your way to deliver supplies, you would likely be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
- You must report your injury to your employer within 30 days of the accident or after you recognize you have been injured. Ideally, you want to report the claim asap.
- If your employer stalls, you are within your rights to report your injuries directly to the insurance company.
Disqualifying Factors in Workers’ Compensation Claims
Alternatively, there are certain conditions that typically render injured workers ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. For example:
- Independent contractors are typically ineligible for workers’ compensation.
- Employees in certain industries, such as railroad workers, are not entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits because they have their own system for recovering damages.
- Employees who are injured while drunk, under the influence of drugs, or involved in a criminal act are not entitled to workers’ compensation.
- Employees who intentionally hurt themselves, refuse to use provided safety equipment, or cause an accident to injure themselves are not eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
- Smaller employers may not be required to provide workers’ compensation, such as in the agriculture industry.
- Your employer may not have insurance
Common Jupiter Workplace Injuries
Despite safety protocols, workplace accidents are a reality of life. Employees may sustain injuries or contract illnesses after an acute or repeated exposure to harm. The effects of an injury or illness from the workplace may have long-term implications for your health, many of which may not be apparent for weeks or years later.
For example, exposure to carcinogenic materials like asbestos can cause toxins to accumulate in your body over time. However, the miners and millers who were exposed to this cancer-causing mineral often didn’t develop cancer until decades later. Experienced workers’ compensation lawyers are knowledgeable about these types of injuries and can inform you of your potential risk.
Examples of Common Workplace Injuries and Illnesses:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Facial and Dental Injuries
- Fractures or Broken Bones
- Lacerations and Contusions
- Crush Injuries
- Severe Burns
- Muscle Strain
- Loss of Limb or Organs
- Internal Injuries
- Nerve Damage
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Respiratory Illnesses
- Infectious Diseases
Having a workman comp lawyer who knows how injuries can progress is critical to ensuring that your claim accounts for future medical expenses and the potential of your condition worsening. At KMW Legal, we will help you outline projected costs so you aren’t stuck paying out-of-pocket for treatments related to your injury or illness.
How Do Workplace Injuries Happen?
While some professions are considered to be at a higher risk for injury or death, occupational injuries can happen in any field. For example, employees can be injured in slip-and-fall accidents or develop repetitive stress injuries on construction sites and offices alike.
The following are some of the most common causes of workplace injuries:
- Slip/trip and fall hazards in walkways
- Heavy objects falling and striking/crushing workers
- Lack of training or proper supervision
- Overexertion or dehydration
- Faulty equipment
- Failure to wear safety equipment or follow protocols
- Exposure to toxic chemicals or materials
- Fires and explosions
- Slip or trip and fall injuries
Other conditions, like poor weather or a stressful work environment, can contribute to the likelihood of a workplace accident. Employees may become distracted and stressed, causing them to neglect normal safety protocols or ignore their surroundings. Something as commonplace as a chair can become a hazard in the workplace when an employee is distracted and leans back too far in their seat or trips over a chair leg.
What Should I Do If I Get Injured at Work?
If you sustain an injury at work, seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as it is safe to do so. When possible, take pictures or video of the scene of the accident and your injuries. Keep a record of the conditions that led to the accident and any witnesses. You should also report your injury to your employer as soon as it happens, even if it seems minor.
The Importance of Seeking Treatment and Returning to Work After an Injury
When seeking treatment, ask your employer for a list of medical professionals within the approved network to avoid complicating your future workers’ compensation claim. You may feel inclined to initially brush off your injuries, but it is important to obtain prompt treatment so that an accurate assessment can be made before your injuries worsen. Don’t downplay your injury and be clear that your injury resulted from an incident at work.
This also protects your claim from being undermined by an insurance company. To reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay you, an insurance company may claim that you didn’t get medical care right away because you aren’t really hurt.
If you are not cleared to return to work or perform your normal duties, get a doctor’s note. Otherwise, return to work and perform your tasks to the best of your ability. It’s understandable to be frustrated if your injuries were caused by a negligent employer or dangerous workplace conditions, but you cannot risk jeopardizing your claim by refusing to return to work when you are able.
What Damages Are Covered By Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
The value of the damages you are able to recover will depend on the costs of your medical care and the extent to which it impacts your ability to work. Workers’ compensation claims are limited to economic damages in the form of medical bills and lost wages or earning capacity.
Examples of Workers’ Compensation Damages:
- Medical Bills
- Lab Tests
- Ambulance Rides
- Transportation to Appointments
- Hospital Stays
- Mobility Aids
- Home Healthcare Services
- Home Modifications
- Physical or Occupational Therapy
- Job-Related Costs
- Lost Wages
- Lost Earning Potential
- Costs of Job Retraining or Reemployment
- Inability to Continue Career
- Death Benefits
- Lost wages
- Funeral and burial expenses
When determining the value of your claim, insurance companies rely on a formula to calculate the value of your damages. A skilled workers’ compensation lawyer will work to ensure that the scope and implications of your injuries are recognized by relying on medical records and expert testimony. In the event that you pursue a workers’ compensation lawsuit against your employer or a third party, you may be able to recover damages for costs like emotional distress or pain and suffering.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Lost Wages
Workers’ compensation benefits can help you reclaim a portion of your salary while you heal. Injured workers should be aware that you won’t be reimbursed for the first 7 days of work you miss unless you end up needing more than 21 days off. However, workers’ compensation does account for the wages you lose during your recovery and your diminished capacity to work due to your injuries.
Workers’ Compensation Offers Temporary Indemnity Benefits
Indemnity benefits refer to compensation for lost wages in a workers’ compensation claim. These benefits are dispersed bi-weekly and are typically equivalent to two-thirds of your average weekly paycheck.
If your injury is severe enough to prevent you from returning to your job until you are able to at least partially recover, you may need to file for temporary total disability. This may entail a higher compensation rate for lost wages, but there is a yearly cap on benefits.
Temporary partial disability applies if you’re still receiving treatment and expect to improve, but you are able to return to work on modified duty. If you earn less while working on light or modified duty than you did prior to your accident, temporary partial disability will compensate you for a portion of the difference.
Workers’ Compensation Provides Permanent Impairment Benefits
Permanent impairment benefits apply when you are able to work in some capacity and have reached maximum medical improvement, but with some degree of lost function. You will receive a portion of your temporary total disability benefits for a duration of time calculated in a formula laid out by the Florida legislature.
If you have become disabled due to a workplace injury and can no longer hold any job, or sustained a severe injury like an amputation, you may be eligible to receive permanent total disability benefits. For more specific answers about workers’ compensation benefits, visit the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Workers’ Compensation FAQ page.
When Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Lawsuit?
After being injured on the job, the majority of workers are compensated through a workers’ compensation claim that is paid out by their employer’s insurance carrier. There are a few exceptions that allow you to sue your employer for compensation for your injuries. One example is the case of an intentional tort, in which the wrongful act or negligence is committed on purpose, even if the resulting harm was unintentional. Another exception would be if your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage.
If your employer intentionally created a dangerous situation that caused your injury, or if they lack workers’ compensation coverage, you may be able to recover money in a workers’ compensation lawsuit. These situations are often complicated to resolve and are best handled by an experienced injury attorney.
Third-Party Lawsuits May Provide Compensation for Workplace Injuries
If your work injury was caused by a negligent third party (like a careless contractor or defective equipment), you may be able to file a claim against the third party.
For example, a negligent manufacturer who produced a faulty safety harness could potentially be held liable for damages if the flawed harness was responsible for a fall injury on the job site. Workers’ compensation lawsuits do require proof of negligence but offer more extensive compensation options. In order to ensure that a third-party lawsuit would be appropriate and beneficial, you should consult a personal injury lawyer with a proven track record of handling cases involving workplace injuries.
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help Me?
Unfortunately, you cannot depend on your employer or their insurance carrier to always have your best interests at heart. Your employer may threaten retaliation, delay, or outright refuse to report your injury to the insurance company. Some employers will wrongly classify workers as independent contractors, or even pretend to have workers’ compensation insurance when they don’t.
Even if your employer follows the rules for reporting a workplace injury, the insurance company may still deny or diminish your legitimate workers’ compensation claim in the hopes that you will accept less money. You may feel powerless to fight back.
You need a tenacious workers’ compensation lawyer to represent your interests in negotiations and potentially in court. By engaging the services of a reputable workers’ compensation lawyer, you can feel confident that you will always have an advocate on your side to protect your right to compensation.
Finding a Work Injury Lawyer Near Me
If you are at home, suffering from an injury that happened at work, you probably know you need to look into finding a workers’ compensation attorney. But, it’s stressful. We understand. Here are some tips for finding a workers comp lawyer in Jupiter that can help you.
- Start by narrowing down the type of lawyer you need. You do not want to work with a lawyer who handles everything under the sun. But, you probably don’t want to work with a lawyer who only does one type of law. Often, these lawyers are all about quantity over quality. They take hundreds of work comp cases a month and nobody gets the proper attention they need. Look for a firm that handles a few areas of law and that fits the rest of this list.
- Do a Google search for lawyers in your area. See who comes up. Those lawyers that show up in the regular search results are probably doing something right. But you still want to vet them other places online. For example, you should definitely check any lawyer you are considering through the Florida Bar website.
- Check out reviews and testimonials. This is the time to read what other clients have to say about the attorney you are considering. Look at their Google reviews and see what other people have to say. Check out some 5-star reviews and some 1-star reviews. You should also look at that attorney’s results or settlements page. This will let you know what kind of cases they have tried and how well they get compensation for their clients.
- Consider the attorney’s experience. Experience matters when it comes to legal issues. You want an attorney that has experience in your local area, with the specific area of law you need.
- Schedule a free consultation with the lawyers at the top of your list. Most work injury lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss your claim. Take advantage of this free discussion to get your questions answered, learn about your rights, and get to know the lawyer better.
KMW Legal Can Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh has assisted countless injured workers to recover the benefits they are owed by their employer’s insurance carriers. With over 30 years of combined experience, we know the ins and outs of the workers’ compensation process and the tactics insurance companies use to minimize payouts.
We will review your medical record to create a compelling claim, investigate the accident, evaluate the projected costs of your treatment, and be available to you are a resource for support and strategy. At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we’ll treat you like a priority while we pursue the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to collect.
KMW is Proud to Serve Injured Workers in Jupiter, Florida
Jupiter is a charming beachside city home to 61,047 residents. It is located along the coast of Palm Beach County, boasting several museums preserving local history, a tropical climate, and an enviable view of the coast. KMW Legal’s partners founded its law practice in Jupiter a decade ago and have dedicated themselves to protecting the rights of injured Jupiter workers ever since.
At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we have maintained close ties to the community as we have expanded our offices by word-of-mouth. Our clients know that they can rely on our skills and resources to recover their damages in a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers Comp Florida – Contact KMW Today
At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we are well aware of how challenging it can be to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you are legally entitled to receive. That’s why we have spent the last decade building a reputation as a trusted source of legal advice for Jupiter residents who become injured on the job.
We are able to consistently deliver results based on our unrivaled work ethic and carefully honed negotiating skills. If you have been severely injured or lost a loved one due to a work-related accident, don’t struggle to manage a workers’ compensation claim by yourself.
You need a seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer who isn’t afraid to stand up to powerful insurance companies and their legion of lawyers, even if that means going to trial. Reach out to our Jupiter team and join us for a no-cost, no-commitment strategy session.