Workers’ compensation is a government-mandated insurance program in Tampa, Florida. It provides financial and healthcare benefits to workers who suffer work-related injuries and illnesses. However, the claims process can be complex, making it crucial to work with an experienced Tampa work injury lawyer.
No one sets out to get injured at work. But unfortunately, work-related accidents often occur. If you have suffered a work injury, you are entitled to receive benefits. Employers are legally required to carry workers’ compensation coverage regardless of who is at fault.
Florida operates a no-fault system. This means that you do not have to prove negligence to get compensation. All you must do is report your injury to your employer within 30 days of the incident.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available in Tampa, FL
The common types of benefits available to workers suffering work-related injuries and illnesses are:
Medical Treatment Coverage
Your workers’ compensation pay for the medical care following your injury or illness. However, you must receive treatment from the doctor recommended by your employer. The insurance company must also approve the physician.
This benefit covers vocational rehabilitation. If you cannot return to your previous position, you may receive vocational training. It covers the cost of apprenticeship, counseling, and education to help you find work in another or related field.
Lost Wages Benefits
These benefits compensate you for lost wages due to your injuries or illness. The amount you receive depends on several factors, including the severity of your injury. If the wound results in a disability, you’ll receive one of the following:
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
This benefit is paid to workers who can return to work in a limited capacity but can’t earn more than 80% of their average weekly wages.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
This benefit is for those who cannot return to work temporarily. Under Florida law, you will not get paid for the first seven days of your disability. However, if your disability extends to 21 days, you will be paid for the first seven days.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
If the work-related injury leads to permanent partial disability, you’re eligible for PPD benefits. However, since you can still do some work, the amount you receive will be based on your impairment rating.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
You are eligible for this benefit where your injury is so severe you are permanently unable to work. The compensation continues until you are 75 years old or for life if you don’t qualify for social security benefits.
Death and Burial Benefits
This benefit is awarded where death occurs because of a work injury or illness. The money goes to the deceased workers’ financial dependants, including spouses, children, parents, partners, etc. The benefit compensates for the financial loss. It can also cover the funeral and burial expenses.
Steps to Take After a Workplace Accident
There are actions to take if you sustain a workplace injury. These actions protect your rights and ensure the best outcome of your claim. So do the following:
Notify Your Employer Immediately
You should report the injury to your employer within 30 days, preferably in writing. This is very important as lack of notification is a valid ground for claim denial.
Further, your employer has seven days to report your injury to the insurance company. If your employer fails to do so, you can inform the insurance provider.
Seek Medical Treatment
Get medical treatment if you suffer a work-related injury or develop an occupational illness. But first, ask your employer what doctor you can see. Going to doctors authorized by your employer ensures your medical expenses are covered.
It is also essential for the doctor to document your injury and treatment. This will prove that your workplace accident is directly responsible for your wound.
Keep a complete record of the facts surrounding the accident and injuries suffered. This includes all forms, employment records, witness statements, photos, videos, etc. The documentation can help prove your injuries to get maximum compensation.
Contact a Tampa Work Comp Lawyer
Recovering benefits entitled for your work injury can be complicated. It is possible to receive less than you deserve without the support of a lawyer. Therefore, work with a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer to protect your rights.
What if Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Gets Denied?
Your compensation gets you through the financial and physical hardships of an injury. However, your work comp claim could get denied. When this happens, it is best to work with an experienced lawyer. The attorney will find out the reason for the denial and appeal the decision.
The common reasons why workers’ compensation claims are denied include:
- Failure to report your injury within the deadline given
- Disputes about whether the wound is work-related
- Suspicious medical or accident report
- Your medical condition does not meet state guidelines
- Filing a claim after leaving the job where you suffered the injury.
A denied claim is not the end of the compensation process. You can appeal the decision with the help of your work comp attorney. Before appealing, meet with your employer or insurance company to resolve the dispute.
If there is no desirable outcome, you can initiate the appeal process. To do this, file a petition for benefits with the Office of Judges of Compensation Claim (OJCC). The OJCC will review the paperwork and schedule hearings before delivering judgment.
Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitation in Tampa, Florida
In Tampa, Florida, workers’ compensation is subject to the Statute of Limitations. Under the law, you have two years from the day you suffered the wound to file your workers’ compensation claim. If you were receiving comp benefits, but benefits stopped before completion, your claim must be within one year of the last payment.
Are There Exceptions to This Rule?
There are exceptions to this rule, and they include:
- Where the injured worker is a minor
- If the injured worker is mentally incompetent
- The employer or carrier fails to inform the injured worker of their rights
- The employer or carrier misleads or lies about the coverage entitlement.
Consult a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Today!
If you have been hurt or suffered illness at work, a Tampa personal injury lawyer can help. At Florida Lawyers 360, we have extensive experience handling compensation cases. We will review your claim at no cost and fight to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.