Your Workers' Compensation Rights and Benefits
If you are injured at work — in an accident or from the wear and tear on your body — you have specific and undeniable rights under Florida's worker's compensation program. But asserting your rights does not always mean your employer will honor them. You can expect that your company and its workers' comp insurance carrier will try to limit your benefits or even deny your claim.
The law firm of Feldman Morgado stands up for injured workers. We educate clients about their rights and use our knowledge of the law and trial experience to make employers and insurers hold up their end of the bargain. The insurance companies and large self insured companies seek to terminate an employee's rights to benefits and minimize or avoid their legal and financial responsibilities under Chapter 440.
For a free initial consultation with our skilled and dedicated attorneys, call us at 800-669-0151. We serve injured workers in the Tampa Bay area and statewide, with four offices across Florida.
Florida Workers' Compensation Lawyer
You can't sue your employer for a workplace accident, even if your injury was caused by unsafe working conditions or the carelessness of a co-worker. On the other hand, your employer must provide benefits even if the accident was your fault or a freak mishap. This is the trade-off of workers' comp.
Medical Benefits — You must report a work injury to your employer as soon as possible to establish that your injury is work-related. You are entitled to seek medical treatment at your employer's expense, and your employer pays for all ongoing medical care deemed reasonable and necessary, including surgery, rehab, medications and medical equipment. Again, we suggest you see a doctor right away — you could be hurt worse than you thought and it helps your case to seek treatment early.
Wage Benefits — If you cannot return to work, you are entitled to weekly wage benefits to replace your lost income. The type of compensation you will receive will depend on the nature of your disability. While there are many issues to consider regarding disability and benefits, general guidelines are as follows:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): Applies when a worker is unable to perform his or her regular job, the employer does not have alternate work, and the doctor has determined the worker to be TTD. The weekly rate is 75 percent of average weekly pay.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): Applies when a worker is unable to perform some aspects of his or her regular job. The weekly rate will vary based upon average weekly pay and actual time worked.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD): Applies when a worker is unable to perform his or her regular job and unable to find sedentary work within 50 miles of home. The weekly rate is 100 percent of average weekly pay at the time of the injury, and continues for the person's lifetime.
Lump Sum Settlements — You have the option to take a cash settlement of your medical benefits, wage benefits or both. There are advantages to receiving the money all at once, but, in settling your case, you will waive future rights and benefits. You should definitely have legal counsel to (a) determine if a lump sum is in your best interests and (b) to negotiate a fair amount for your injuries. Mr. Feldman can help you make an informed choice for your specific situation.
Death Benefits — Spouses and dependent children are entitled to survivor benefits (or a settlement) for a work-related death.
Beyond Worker's Compensation — If your injury was caused by the negligence of a third party, additional compensation may be available through a personal injury lawsuit.
Your Employer Cannot Fire You for Taking Workers' Comp
The Florida workers' compensation laws make it unlawful for any employer to terminate you because you filed a workers' compensation claim, took disability leave or pursued benefits under Section 440 for your injuries. Additionally, it is unlawful for any employer to refuse to hire you because of your history of having a workers' compensation injury. If either of these scenarios happens to you, we will take the fight to the employer and pursue your rights in circuit court.
Tampa Workers' Comp Lawyer
Call us at 800-669-0151 for a free initial consultation. We have offices in Tampa, Ocala, Naples, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami.