Workers Compensation Claims
The workers’ compensation system is designed to protect injured workers by providing benefits to the injured worker or the worker’s family in the event that an on-the-job injury occurs. An experienced attorney is necessary in order to assure that you receive the maximum benefits provided under the law in a timely manner. Here is some important information that individuals must understand about workers’ compensation claims.
The Duties Of An Employer
In the state of Florida, an employer has several responsibilities to a worker. An employer should follow all safety regulations and procedures established by OSHA and State Law, to secure an approved workers’ compensation insurance policy for its employees, to cooperate with its workers’ compensation carrier in providing benefits to injured workers, and to refrain from retaliating against an injured worker who has reported a workers’ compensation accident or initiated a claim. When an injured worker notifies his/her supervisor of an on-the-job injury, the first order of business for the employer is to immediately notify its workers’ compensation carrier.
Before Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim
Before initiating a claims process, the injured worker or a representative on behalf of the injured worker must alert an employer within 30 days (although as soon as possible is preferable) that an injury has occurred within the course and scope of employment. A worker must also establish that he/she was a non-exempt employee of the company or business. In order to receive lost-wage benefits subsequent to separation from employment, the employee must prove he/she was light-duty restricted or on a no-work status, not at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), and not terminated for misconduct. As to what constitutes misconduct is always a question of fact and law. The attorneys at Celeste Law Firm are well-versed in what constitutes misconduct.
Statute Of Limitations
A workers’ compensation claim must be filed within two years of the date of occurrence and/or within one year following last receipt of medical or lost-wage benefits or forever be barred from filing a claim and receiving benefits thereafter. If a worker waits to initiate a claim until after the statute of limitations has run, he/she may be precluded from securing workers’ compensation benefits, although there are some exceptions. The attorneys at Celeste Law Firm understand and will explain those exceptions to you. Sometimes it may not be immediately apparent to the injured worker that an injury was sustained while on the job, such as in a repetitive trauma case, i.e. where the injury occurs as a result of repetitive physical stress. In these cases, the statute of limitations begins to run once the employee becomes aware that the injury may be job-related.
Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim
In most situations, an injured worker is required to file a Petition for Benefits (PFB) in order to seek medical and lost-wage benefits, after which the employer/carrier will investigate the claim and then decide whether to accept the claim or not.
The workers’ compensation process is much too complex for an individual to navigate alone without an experienced attorney. An individual attempting to secure benefits on his/her own is akin to performing one’s own brain surgery: it is ill advisable.
How An Experienced West Palm Beach Workers Compensation Attorney Can Help
If you were injured on-the-job and wish to at least consult with an experienced attorney regardless of whether you are receiving benefits or not, it is imperative that you call Celeste Law Firm immediately in order to assure that no mistakes are made because mistakes inevitably result in a denial of benefits. Contact Celeste Law Firm today, where our West Palm Beach workers compensation claims attorneys have the skill and compassion to ensure you receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled under the law.