Injuries on the job can occur in any field and at any time. If you sustained injuries due to a work-related accident in Jacksonville, you may be entitled to financial compensation. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we know how difficult it can be to secure the compensation you need to recover and move on. That’s why our Jacksonville workers’ compensation lawyers are committed to fighting for your rights every step of the way.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation in Florida
When an employee is injured or contracts an illness in the workplace, they can file a workers’ compensation claim to recover compensation that will cover all incident-related costs. Here’s a breakdown of the key laws you should know regarding workers’ compensation in Florida.
- An employer with four or more employees—whether part-time or full-time—must have a workers’ compensation insurance policy.
- The injured employee must report the accident within 30 days to file a claim against their employer. Be sure to document all injuries and related medical costs for future reference.
- The employer must let the insurance company know about the incident within seven days of the employee reporting it to them.
- The employee must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the incident.
- Workers’ compensation only covers the cost of economic damages, like medical bills, lost wages, and rehabilitative care. It does not cover non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or mental anguish.
- The employee can seek one of two types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- The recovery of payments for necessary medical treatments, like general care, prescription medication, and medical devices
- Money and other financial benefits that serve as restitution for a work-related disability
- If the employee qualifies for workers’ compensation disability, they won’t receive the first payment until after the first seven days following the accident. After 21 days, the employee will be reimbursed for the first seven days.
- The employer is not required to save the employee’s job until they can return to work. However, the employer cannot fire the employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
- Unlike most personal injury cases, the employee does not have to prove that the employer was negligent in order to seek compensation. That’s because workers’ compensation is not a civil suit and can even be considered a no-fault case.
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
Depending on the industry you work in, you could sustain injuries from:
- Falling off a ladder
- Falling off a roof
- Being struck by a piece of heavy equipment
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Lifting heavy objects
- Exposure to loud noises
What to Do if You’re Injured on the Job
Workers’ compensation laws are complicated. One missed step, and you could miss out on compensation for your injury or illness. But don’t stress. Steinger, Greene & Feiner is here to help. Here are the steps you should take if you’re injured at work.
1. Report the incident
You must report the accident to your employer within 30 days. If you report it after 30 days, your claim will be denied.
2. Seek immediate medical care
Even if you feel fine initially, you might start to feel worse later on. If you don’t seek medical care soon after the accident, your employer’s insurance company may deny your claim, stating that your delay in seeking medical care proves the work incident didn’t cause your injuries.
3. Document everything
Document all injuries and medical expenses. Although you’re not required to prove that your employer was negligent, it doesn’t hurt to have evidence that validates your claim.
4. Follow up regularly
Follow up with your employer to ensure they report the incident to their insurance provider and that the claim is successfully filed.
Why You Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Jacksonville
While handling a workers’ compensation claim on your own might seem doable at first, you’ll be in over your head before long. These cases are often more complex than they seem. You must follow various regulatory guidelines and meet firm deadlines when filing a claim and qualifying for disability benefits. Unless you know Florida-specific workers’ comp laws, your chances of winning your case are slim.
How Our Jacksonville Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help
When you hire one of our skilled workers’ comp lawyers to handle your case, you significantly increase your chances of winning. That’s because our attorneys specialize in workers’ compensation claims, which helps us know all the ins and outs.
We’ll help you:
- Navigate the claims process from start to finish
- Document all accident-related costs
- Compile a list of witnesses
- File medical payments and/or disability benefits
- Submit timely appeals for any denied benefits
What Compensation Covers
If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation for costs like:
- Retraining or education
- Prescription drugs
- Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
Jacksonville Workers’ Compensation FAQs
1. How does workers’ comp work in Florida?
Florida employers who have four or more part-time or full-time employees are required to hold workers’ comp insurance. This type of policy not only provides employees with financial protections but also ensures the employer won’t have to pay out-of-pocket to cover the cost of care for any injuries
The injured employee must report the incident to their employer, and the employer must report the incident to their insurer. The employee also must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years of the accident.
2. How long does it take to settle a workers’ comp case in Florida?
The length of your workers’ comp case depends on various factors, like the case’s complexity, the insurance company’s settlement offer, and the injured party’s desired compensation. The average worker’s comp case can last anywhere from a few months to over a year and a half.
3. How long can you be on workers’ comp?
If your doctor determines that you cannot return to work, either temporarily or permanently, you can file for temporary total disability (TTD). If your doctor determines that you can return to work but with certain limitations, you can file for temporary partial disability (TPD).
You can receive disability payments for up to 104 weeks after the incident or until your doctor deems that you have achieved maximum medical improvement—whether you receive TTD, TPD, or some of both.
4. Should I accept the first offer of compensation?
It depends. Typically, we recommend that clients do not accept the first compensation offer that their employer’s insurance company offers. Since insurers want to pay the least amount possible for your injuries, they will try to lowball you. Many workplace injury victims accept this offer simply because they need money to pay outstanding medical bills.
If you can wait for the negotiation process to end, you should. Your lawyer will negotiate for a higher settlement amount on your behalf so you aren’t stuck with out-of-pocket costs for an accident you didn’t cause. Also, only accept a settlement offer once you have achieved maximum medical improvement so your medical expenses are accurate.
5. When should I hire a lawyer for my workers’ compensation case?
Hire a workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Doing so will accelerate the claims and benefits process and maximize your compensation. Here are a few points at which we encourage you to hire an attorney.
- If your employer refuses to report the accident to their insurer
- If your claim is denied
- If you receive a low settlement offer
When in doubt, hire an attorney to help.
6. How do I choose the best workers’ comp lawyer?
When choosing a worker’s comp lawyer, consider factors like:
- Their expertise: Hire an attorney who has substantial experience handling workers’ compensation cases. It also doesn’t hurt to find an attorney who specializes in both workers’ compensation and personal injury law, in case you end up having a personal injury claim as well.
- Their success rate: A lawyer’s experience doesn’t matter if they have a low success rate. Be sure to find one who wins the cases they take on.
- Client testimonials: A personal recommendation can go a long way, even if it’s from a stranger. Take a look at reviews from previous clients to see if and why people recommend a particular attorney.
Contact Jacksonville’s Workplace Injury Experts
As Jacksonville’s top workers’ compensation lawyer, Steinger, Greene & Feiner has what it takes to win your case. Now is the time to get the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to claim your free, no-obligation case evaluation. An experienced workers’ comp attorney will review the details of your case to craft a personalized legal strategy to help you recover maximum benefits.