An injury on the job can be devastating. Not only do you have to pay for medical treatment, but you may also miss work while you’re recovering. The bills and lost wages can add up fast. Not only that but there’s also the added stress of filing a claim. Will it be approved? Will your boss blame you and decide to fire you before you’re compensated? There are so many scenarios that can prevent you from getting the compensation that you deserve.
It’s actually illegal for employers to fire or lay someone off because they chose to file a workers’ compensation claim. Filing a claim should have no impact on your job. Unfortunately, some employers may try to retaliate, downplay your injuries, or try to get your claim denied.
We understand these concerns and are ready to walk you through the workers’ compensation claim process. To schedule a free case evaluation with KMW, contact us online or at (561) 295-5825.
Florida Workplace Injury Statistics
In 2021, there were a total of 2.6 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses that occurred in the workplace in the United States. On top of that, there were 5,190 total fatal injuries in the same year.
In Florida, there were approximately 300 fatal occupational injuries in 2021. Most of these fatalities were from transportation incidents and slips, trips, and falls.
The Cost of Common Workplace Injuries
Injuries that occur in the workplace can range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the severity. For example, a simple concussion may only require one doctor’s visit and could total anywhere from $100 to $1000. If you’ve suffered a more severe injury, like a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, the cost can be astronomical. The costs of these injuries include hospital stays, doctor visits, medical devices, physical therapy, surgeries, in-home care, and more.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI): $600,000 to $1,875,000 over a lifetime
- Spinal cord injury: $42,000 to $184,000 annually
- Broken bone: $2,500 to $10,000
- Amputation: $509,272 over a lifetime
Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Whether or not you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits depends on a variety of different factors. First of all, your employer needs to carry this type of insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance is required by businesses with four or more full-time employees. Unfortunately, if you’re a contract or freelance worker, you may not be eligible.
Once you’ve determined that your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, you’ll also have to meet a few qualifications yourself.
- You weren’t intoxicated when the accident occurred
- You were performing your regular job duties when the accident occurred
- You didn’t injure yourself on purpose
Thankfully, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. That means that it doesn’t matter who caused the accident that resulted in your injury. Even if you hurt yourself, you can still receive compensation.
What is an Independent Medical Examination?
Insurance companies will raise disputes over pretty much anything possible. They’ll question your injuries, the care you received, and do anything they can to pay out less than they need to. If they choose to dispute your claims, you’ll have to have an independent medical examination (IME).
As stated in Florida Statute section 441.13:
“an objective evaluation of the injured employee’s medical condition, including, but not limited to, impairment or work status, performed by a physician or an expert medical advisor at the request of a party, a judge of compensation claims, or the department to assist in the resolution of a dispute arising under this chapter”
Basically, you’ll be looked over by another doctor or medical professional so that the insurance company can be certain you aren’t lying about your injuries. However, IMEs often aren’t independent or objective in any way. The insurance company is responsible for choosing the examiner and may choose someone they can exploit.
In Florida, however, both parties have the right to request an IME. If you feel that the IME requested by the insurance company wasn’t fair or just, you can request one as well. That way, you can present both reports as evidence instead of just relying on the insurance company’s potentially one-sided findings.
How to Appeal a Workers’ Compensation Claim Denial
Insurance companies will deny perfectly good and legitimate claims simply because they can. This is even more common when an employee chooses to represent themselves. They’ll deny these claims simply because they don’t think the employee will want to go through the appeal process.
They may decline your claim because:
- They claim your injuries are pre-existing
- You don’t have the right medical documentation
- You didn’t receive medical treatment right away
- They claim your treatment was exorbitant
If your claim is denied, we highly encourage you to appeal it. We can walk you through the appeal process, making sure all the documentation is correct and filed in a timely manner. We’ll make sure to highlight anything the insurance company may have missed, or provide further documentation to prove that the claim shouldn’t have been denied. You won’t have to worry about anything at all, only your recovery.
What Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh Can Do For You
Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh have years of experience receiving fair compensation for their clients after workplace injuries. By choosing to work with KMW, you’ll have the best chance at receiving a fair settlement offer. If you work with an attorney, the insurance company is less likely to deny your claim, because they don’t want to go through the appeal process.
Our attorneys will also be able to get you all the benefits that you need so that you can recover quickly. We have experience working with the most stubborn of insurance companies. We’re confident in our ability, so you won’t have to pay a cent unless we win your case.
Call KMW Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one was injured while at work, we’re here to help you. We’re eager to put our years of experience to good use and get you the compensation that you deserve. To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a free case evaluation, please contact us online or at (561) 295-5825.