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A workplace injury can occur to any type of employee. While more dangerous jobs like construction, oilfield, and demolition may face greater numbers, accidents can occur anywhere. For example, office workers could experience a stress injury from mouse usage. A coffee shop employee could become injured by slipping because of a spill. All of these are reasons to file a workers’ compensation claim.

If you or someone you love has been injured at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Our team of experienced attorneys can help ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

West Palm Beach Workers Compensation - KMW

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in Florida?

The insurance company in charge of paying out workers’ compensation benefits doesn’t consider fault when paying out an employee. This is because an accident occurred while they were at work (and wouldn’t have occurred otherwise).

That means that even if you were at fault for your injury, you’ll still receive a payout if you meet the qualifications.

Qualifying Factors

Florida law requires certain criteria to be met before the claim can be deemed credible. Those factors include:

  • The accident that caused your injuries must have occurred while performing your job duties.
  • Your accident must be reported to your workplace within 30 days of the accident or of realizing that you’ve been injured.
  • If your employer doesn’t report your injury to the insurance company immediately, you may contact them yourself.

Disqualifying Factors

Unfortunately, the system isn’t that simple. There are still some factors that will get you disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation. Those factors include:

  • Being a freelancer or independent contractor.
  • Working in a certain industry. Some industries have their own systems for recovering damages after workplace injuries.
  • You were injured while drunk or under the influence of drugs.
  • You were involved in a criminal act.
  • You intentionally hurt yourself.
  • You refused to use proper safety equipment.
  • You work for a small company that doesn’t carry insurance.

Learn more: What to DO and NOT DO in a Florida Workers’ Compensation Claim

Common Workplace Injuries

In 2021, there were 5,190 fatal work-related injuries and 2,607,900 nonfatal work injuries and illnesses. That’s an increase of 8.9% from 2020. Workplace injuries can range from minor to life-threatening, requiring surgery and long-term care. These injuries may also cause victims to lose multiple days or months off from work. In some cases, the injured party may never be able to work in that same field again.

The most common workplace injuries include:

  • Muscle strains
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Breaks and fractures
  • Brain injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Burns
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Amputation
  • Crushing injuries

Causes of Workplace Injuries

The most common types of workplace injuries are slips, trips, and falls, overexertion, fires, falls from heights, being struck by an object, motor vehicle accidents, electrocution, entanglement, repetitive motion, and co-worker violence. Aside from co-worker violence, most of these types of accidents are caused by negligence. For example, if another party didn’t take the proper care in doing their job, they may have left a spill on the ground for someone to slip in.

Because workers’ compensation runs off a no-fault system, it doesn’t particularly matter who causes your accident. That is unless it’s caused by a third party. In some cases, a third party’s negligence may cause an accident to occur. For example, a car accident may be caused by an outside party, or a construction site accident could be caused by defective equipment. In those cases, you may receive compensation through the third party’s insurance company.

Steps to Take if You’re Injured at Work

If you’ve been injured at work, it’s easy to find yourself overcome with stress. Any injury, after all, is often stressful. However, there are a few important steps that you shouldn’t skip. First and foremost, you’ll need to seek immediate medical attention and immediately notify your employer of the accident that has occurred. For overexertion injuries, you’ll want to seek medical treatment and alert your employer as soon as you recognize an issue.

Immediate medical attention is of the utmost importance. If you don’t seek treatment right away, your workplace’s insurance company may use this as a reason to deny your claim. They’ll think your injury may not have been as serious as you said since it didn’t warrant a trip to the hospital.

On top of that, you’ll also want to follow the treatment plan your doctor gives you for the same reason. Straying from your treatment plan will lead the insurance company to potentially deny your claim. Stick to it and discuss any needed changes with your doctor.

Once you’ve reported your claim to your boss and received treatment, you’ll need to wait and see if your claim has been approved. For severe injuries with lots of medical bills and other damages, hiring an attorney is your best bet. They’ll help ensure that you get the compensation you need. If your claim is denied, they can also help you with the appeal process.

What Damages Can You Recover?

For good reason, many people are worried about the compensation they’ll receive for their injuries. The compensation you receive covers your “damages.” Damages refer to the losses you experience because of your injury. Economic damages refer to monetary losses, while non-economic damages cover losses without an associated monetary value.

For example, economic damages cover lost wages, medical bills, and loss of earning capacity. Non-economic damages cover things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, scarring, and disability. The amount of compensation you receive is determined by the damages you’ve incurred. People with more severe injuries will have higher damages. Those with more minor injuries will often have lower damages.

Choose KMW To Handle Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh are here to help you get the compensation you deserve for your workplace injury. Whether you suffer from overexertion at your office job or have experienced an explosion at the oilfield, we’ve got your back. Our team will work tirelessly by your side while you focus on resting and recovering. To schedule a free consultation with our West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation team, call (561) 295-5825, or check in with us online.