The purpose of the Workers’ Compensation law is to ensure that employees who are injured on the job receive lost-wage benefits and medical care. In most cases, the law protects your employer and co-workers from liability suits, except for intentional acts.
Every state has promulgated its own workers’ compensation laws. In Florida, every business that has four or more employees, or two or more employees for construction companies, must secure workers’ compensation insurance. If they don’t, we may be able to prosecute your case in Circuit Court if your employer was negligent; otherwise, we may prosecute your claim verses your employer in workers’ compensation court.
When filing a workers’ compensation claim, technically, you are not suing your employer; rather, you are requesting benefits to which you are entitled under the law. In some cases, if you are injured on the job by the fault of someone other than your direct employer or coworker, you may file suit against that third party in addition to maintaining a workers’ compensation claim. If you receive compensation under a third party suit, you are generally required to pay back a portion of your recovery to the workers’ compensation carrier. The attorneys at Celeste Law Firm, are well-versed in negotiating workers’ compensation liens. Additionally, if you were terminated because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, you may have a “work comp retaliation” action that is prosecuted in Circuit Court in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.
As stated above, workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. In some states, certain types of occupations are exempt, such as agricultural employees, domestic employees, and independent contractors. Contact the experienced workers compensation attorneys at Celeste Law Firm, to learn more about your rights, duties, and obligations under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws.
The following are circumstances under which you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits:
- Aggravation/acceleration of preexisting conditions;
- Injuries occurring during work breaks, lunch hours, work-sponsored activities, and at-work injuries caused by company facilities or objects;
- Diseases contracted by exposure to toxins at work;
- Injuries not caused by a single event/accident but as a result of repetitive work-related activities.
If you have been injured on the job, you must follow the below steps:
- Report the injury to your employer, supervisor, or someone in charge as soon as possible. In Florida, you must report your accident within 30 days of its occurrence.
- Complete a claim form and insist on receiving medical care.
- Contact the experienced attorneys at Celeste Law Firm regardless of whether you are being provided workers’ compensation benefits or not so we can get a leg up on your claim.
If you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to the following benefits:
- Medical care;
- Lost Wages;
- Restoration of sick/vacation time wrongfully deducted;
- Vocational rehabilitation
Florida Workers’ Compensation FAQs
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury, you are probably aware that workers’ compensation benefits are available to help you with medical treatment and lost wages. However, knowing what to do or what is really involved in a workers’ compensation claim may be foreign to you. Below are answers to questions frequently asked of the West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Celeste Law Firm as they help workers in West Palm Beach and surrounding areas obtain Florida workers’ compensation benefits. If you have other questions or need assistance applying for benefits or fighting a denial of your claim, contact Celeste Law Firm online or by calling 561-478-2447.
Q. How do I get workers’ compensation benefits after I’m injured on the job?
A. If you have a work-related accident, injury or illness, report it within 30 days of its occurrence to your employer or supervisor, but preferably as soon as possible and in writing via text or email. Do not be fooled by your employer who may tell you that you are not entitled to benefits because you did not report your accident/injury on the date it occurred. You should request a copy of the accident report from your employer, to which you are entitled by law. You have up to two years from the date of accident/injury to file a claim with the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, but don’t delay – file your claim immediately. The sooner you retain an attorney at Celeste Law Firm, the more likely it is that you will secure benefits smoothly and successfully. Contact us for more information about the Florida workers’ compensation claims process.
Even if you do not presently need medical care, you should still report your accident to your employer or supervisor in a timely manner because some injuries are not immediately apparent. It is important to have the incident documented if symptoms later arise in order to receive benefits.
Q. How much will I get in Workers’ Compensation benefits?
A. When your workers’ compensation doctor states you’re incapable of working, you receive Temporary Total Disability benefits (TTD) at two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW), which is calculated by averaging your wages in the thirteen weeks prior to your accident/injury, up to a maximum weekly limit for a maximum of five years or when you reach overall maximum medical improvement (MMI), whichever comes first.
If you are not totally disabled from working but instead assigned to a light duty or restricted status, you receive Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), which is 60% of your AWW if your employer cannot accommodate your work restrictions provided by your workers’ compensation doctor. If you return to work within those restrictions, but are earning less than 80% of your AWW, then the workers’ compensation carrier must pay you the difference between your actual earnings and 80% of your AWW, up to a maximum of five years.
If you are permanently disabled from working, i.e. incapable of performing any work in the open market, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits in addition to Workers’ Compensation Impairment Benefits, and/or Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits. PTD allows for 66.66% of your AWW, up to age 75.
Q. How long do benefits last?
A. Medical benefits last for as long as your work injury continues to be the major contributing cause (MCC) of the need for your medical care. These benefits include medication, rehabilitation, injections, surgery, and many other types of medical modalities, and may last a lifetime, if necessary.
Q. What happens if my company denies my claim?
A. Often, the employer/carrier will deny your claim for benefits stating that your injury wasn’t work-related, that you have exaggerated how serious the injury is, or that you suffer from a pre-existing condition. There are certain steps that must be taken to fight a denial of your claim, not the least of which is going to court. At Celeste Law Firm, we work to get your claim paid as quickly and efficiently as possible, and we will fight for your rights at every level if your claim is denied.
Q. Is an undocumented immigrant able to collect workers’ compensation?
A. Yes. Companies that hire undocumented workers cannot exploit and take advantage of them because of their legal status in the United States if they are hurt on the job. Florida courts have upheld the rights of undocumented workers to seek workers’ compensation benefits without fear of reprisal. Call Celeste Law Firm for assistance. Se habla español.
Q. Am I entitled to a lump sum settlement?
A. Although there is nothing in Chapter 440, the workers’ compensation statute, that states you are entitled to a settlement, 90% of workers’ compensation cases are settled. When you settle your workers’ compensation case, you agree to close out your workers’ compensation case and separate from your employer in return for an amount of tax-free money in your pocket as determined by the parties, not the Judge. The West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Celeste Law Firm have successfully settled thousands of cases for their clients.
Contact Our Experienced West Palm Beach Attorneys
If you were injured on the job, contact our West Palm Beach workers compensation attorneys, immediately to find out what type of benefits you may be entitled to. Our attorneys and staff are well-experienced in workers’ compensation law, and Michael J. Celeste, Jr., Esq. has been Board Certified in Workers’ Compensation since 1998 – the highest recognition in the field of workers’ compensation law.