Bradenton & Sarasota Workers’ Compensation Lawyers FAQ’s
Following a work accident, many injured workers face tough opposition from their employer and the insurance company. Too often, claims are denied, payments are delayed, and benefits are prematurely terminated. You need medical benefits to help pay for the costs of medical treatment as you recover from your injuries. Whatever the challenge you face with your workers’ compensation claim, you need protection. We will help you get all the benefits you are entitled to.
The law firm of Legler Murphy & Battaglia, LLP, has been dedicated to protecting the rights of injured workers for since 1989. From our Bradenton and Sarasota offices, we focus on represent injured workers throughout all of Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How do I know if I am covered by worker’s compensation?
This can sometimes be complicated to determine. There are two general factors that will determine your status:
a. Are you an employee?
b. Did your injury occur within the course and scope of your employment?
Although neither is a guarantee of coverage, these are two important variables that will be considered in determining the compensability of your workers’ compensation claim.
2. Can I recover workers’ compensation benefits, even if I was not at the workplace when I was injured?
The answer to this question depends on the facts and circumstances which apply to your situation. Generally speaking, if the injury arises out of and occurs within the scope of your employment, it will be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
3. Does my employer have to report my injury to their insurance carrier?
Yes, your employer is required to report all work-related accidents within seven (7) days of learning of them. If your employer has failed to report your injury to the insurance company or refuses to do so, you may report your injury to the insurance company directly. The attorneys at Legler Murphy & Battaglia, LLP, are available to assist you with this process, if necessary.
4. How long do I have to report an accident to my employer?
You should always report an accident to your employer as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after your accident. If you fail to report your injury to your employer within thirty (30) days your claim may be denied.
5. Who will pay for my medical bills?
The workers’ compensation carrier is obligated to pay medical expenses related to any authorized and medically necessary treatment. However, many times the carrier will contest medical treatment and the payment of medical bills which can be extremely frustrating to the injured worker. If you are having trouble getting the workers’ compensation carrier to provide medical treatment and pay your medical bills, call us now.
6. Can my employer fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
No, Florida Statute prohibits an employer from firing, coercing, or intimidating an employee for filing or attempting to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, be aware that this prohibition will not deter some employers from firing you after you suffer an injury at work. Seek help before this happens by contacting us.
7. Am I eligible for retraining if I am unable to return to my previous line of work due to my injury?
In certain situations, the Division of Workers’ Compensation is responsible for providing retraining and/or re-employment services if you are unable to return to your former line of work. Please visit the Florida Work Comp Employee Reemployment website for more information. If you are approved for a retraining program you may also be entitled to lost wagehttp://www.myfloridacfo.com/s during the period of retraining.
8. How long am I able to seek medical care for my work related injuries?
Your medical care will remain open so long as you obtain treatment from a workers’ compensation authorized physician on an annual basis. To be on the safe side, we recommend that our clients treat with an authorized physician at least once every nine (9) months. The treatment must be for problems you are having with your injuries, and not just for a check-up or to prevent the statute of limitations from running.
9. Do I get to choose my own doctor?
Unfortunately, no. In most situations, the carrier has the right to choose the physician you will treat with.
10. What if I do not like the doctor who is treating me, am I allowed to change physicians?
Yes, pursuant to Florida Statute Section 440.13(2)(f) an employee may request a one-time change of physicians during the course of treatment for an accident. The request must be in writing and the carrier has (5) five days within which to respond to the request. If the carrier timely responds to the request, they retain the right to select their choice of alternate physicians. If the carrier fails to authorize an alternative physician within five (5) days of the request, you may choose the physician of your choice and they will be considered to have been authorized by the carrier as a matter of law. This rule may seem clear cut, however, there are many obstacles in changing physicians.
11. How are my workers’ compensation benefits calculated?
Compensation benefits are paid at a rate of 66 and 2/3% of your average weekly wage. Your average weekly wage is computed by calculating all wages you have earned in the thirteen (13) weeks prior to your accident, not to include wages earned in the week that you were injured, whether such wages have been earned with the injury employer or not. If you worked less than 75% of this thirteen (13) week period, the wages of a similar employee must be used to arrive at an appropriate average weekly wage calculation.
12. If my employer offers me light duty work and I accept, will I still be eligible compensation benefits?
It depends. If upon your return to work you are earning wages which are equal to or greater than what you were earning prior to your injury, then the carrier can lawfully suspend the payment of indemnity benefits. If, however, upon your return to work you are earning some wages but are experiencing wage loss due your injury, you may continue to receive compensation benefits, although such benefits will likely be for a reduced amount.
13. What does a “ major contributing cause” mean?
For a work related injury to be considered compensable by the carrier, the accident must be the “major contributing cause” for the injury sustained. Florida Statute Section 440.09 defines a major contributing cause as the cause which is more than 50% responsible for the injury as compared to all other causes combined for which treatment or benefits are sought. The issue of “major contributing cause” is very complex and is a constant source of difficulty between the injured worker and the carrier.
14. What does MMI mean?
MMI stands for “maximum medical improvement.” At some point in your treatment, your physician will place you at MMI. The date that you are placed at MMI signifies the date upon which your doctor feels that you have finished recuperating. When your doctor places you at MMI, he will likely also assign you an impairment rating as well as permanent physical restrictions, if any. The carrier must issue you payment for this impairment which is based upon the percentage which the doctor assigns.
15. Am I able to settle my case, if so, how much will my case be worth?
Yes, you are able to settle your case. The settlement of a workers’ compensation case is completely voluntary and both parties, the carrier and the claimant, must have a mutual interest in settlement. The value of every case varies and is largely dependent on the value of future medical benefits which are being recommended by the treating physicians as well as any potential wage loss exposure. Unfortunately, unlike in civil claims, Florida Law does not provide for the recovery of damages attributable to pain and suffering or other human damages in a workers’ compensation situation.
Free Case Evaluation | Sarasota Workers’ Comp Medical Benefits Attorneys
We help injured workers get back on their feet. To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at Legler Murphy & Battaglia, LLP, call one of our Florida offices: Bradenton at 941-748-5599 or Sarasota at 941-366-3782. You can also contact us online.
If you are injured or recovering, let us come to your home, the hospital or another convenient location. We can also arrange transportation for you at no cost. There are no fees or costs until we win your case.