Workers Compensation: How Does It Work?

If you’ve never collected workers compensation before, it can be a bit confusing. Most people aren’t sure how to qualify for workers compensation. Others have no idea how the program works. For the most part, workers compensation is simply a program designed to help take care of employees when they get hurt on the job. Rather than make the employer pay out of pocket for their employee’s medical care and replacement wages, the workers comp system allows them to purchase insurance to cover these things. Our workers compensation lawyers in Tampa meet with new clients every week who are having trouble getting their workers comp claim approved. If this is where you find yourself now, it would be a good idea to call and schedule an appointment with one of our personal injury lawyers in Tampa.

Here, we will discuss how you qualify for workers compensation in Florida. We will also explain why some employers deny certain workers compensation claims. Finally, we’ll talk a bit about what benefits you receive once your workers compensation claim is approved.

There are Certain Criteria You Must Meet to Collect Workers Comp Benefits

Just like unemployment, in order to collect workers comp benefits in Florida, you must meet certain criteria. These criteria are the same as they are in most other states. As long as you meets these requirements, there’s a good chance that your claim will be approved.

Some of the requirements for workers compensation include the following:

  • you must suffer a workplace accident that causes an injury of some sort
  • you must report your injury to your employer immediately
  • you can only be treated by a state- approved workers compensation doctor
  • if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your workplace accident, your claim will be denied
  • you cannot work anywhere else while collecting workers compensation benefits
  • your accident must have taken place on company time and company property

Obviously, for salaried employees and people who work off-site, the requirements are a little different. For example, if you’re an on the road salesperson, your injury is not going to take place on company property. Instead, your workers compensation lawyer in Tampa will have to show that you were acting within the scope of your employment at the time of your injury.

Your Employer Will Decide if They Want to Approve Your Claim

Since your employer pays for workers compensation insurance, they have a right to deny or approve you’re claim. If your claim is for a minor injury and they believe you’ll return to work shortly, there’s a good chance that your claim will be approved. If however, you suffer serious injuries and it will cost your employer thousands of dollars to pay your claim, they may deny it and take their chances in court.

Sometimes, the reason why your employer rejected your claim are quite obvious. For example, if you refused to take the drug test prior to treatment, there’s no way your claim will be approved. In addition, if you do take a drug test and it comes back positive your claim will likely be denied. The same is true if you fail to report your injury in a reasonable time frame. According to Florida law, you only have 30 days to report your injury to your employer. If you fail to report it within this time frame, not only will your claim be denied, but you may lose any recourse you may have had.

Workers Compensation

Your Workers Compensation Lawyer in Tampa Can Always File an Appeal

Regardless of the reason your claim was denied, your personal injury lawyer in Tampa can help you file an appeal. You only have 14 days to file an appeal. When you file your appeal, you must indicate the grounds on which your claim should be paid and any benefits you believe you’re entitled to.

Your employer will get a chance to respond to your appeal and give their own reasons for why the denial should be upheld. The workers compensation hearing officer will make their final decision and mail their final order to your workers compensation lawyer in Tampa. If your claim is still not approved, you always have the option of filing suit against your employer. If this is something you want to do, let your personal injury lawyer in Tampa know and they’ll get the process started.

What Benefits Will You Receive if Your Claim is Approved?

If your claim is approved, you’ll be entitled to certain benefits. The three main types of benefits you’re entitled to under workers comp in Florida include the following:

  • Any medical treatment required as a result of your workplace accident should be covered by workers compensation insurance. This includes any hospitalizations, surgeries, and physical therapy.
  • The second type of benefits you’ll receive are replacement wages. These wages will be equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wages. However, there is a maximum that you can receive per week. In Florida, this maximum amount is $1,099 per week. There’s also a limit to how long you can receive benefits. In Florida, the duration happens to be 104 weeks, or two years.
  • The third type of benefits you’ll be entitled to is career rehabilitation or training. If you’re no longer able to do the same job because of your workplace accident, you may take advantage of career rehabilitation courses that help you find a new position.

Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Tampa Right Away

If you’ve been injured at work and believe that you’re entitled to workers compensation, contact our office right away. You can make an appointment to come in and meet with one of our workers compensation lawyers in Tampa. This initial appointment will be free, and it gives you a chance to find out if you have a valid claim. If a personal injury lawyer in Tampa believes your claim is valid, they may be willing to represent you in court. This will depend on the facts of your case and the reason why your claim was denied.

We recommend that you contact our office as soon as possible and schedule your free, initial consultation. There’s a lot at stake and this isn’t something you should be handling on your own. As you can well imagine, your employer will have a team of lawyers working for them. You don’t want to be at a disadvantage. Since you don’t pay our attorneys anything until your case settles, you really have nothing to lose.

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