Individuals who are injured at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, the process is rarely that simple. Injured peoples’ claims for benefits can be denied for any number of reasons, including insufficient medical evidence, that you were not “at-work” at the time of the accident, or that the injury was not timely reported.
If your claim for benefits was denied for any reason, contact a Pinellas County workers’ compensation lawyer. You should have a qualified personal injury attorney at your side to obtain the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Law
With rare exceptions for agricultural workplaces, all employers who have four or more employees must obtain workers’ compensation coverage under Florida Statute. Construction companies with any employee must also have coverage. The employers are required to place posters advising workers of their rights if they are injured on the job.
As soon as an injury occurs, regardless of the circumstances, a worker must inform the employer as soon as possible, but certainly within 30 days under Florida Statute 440.185.
The employer then has a responsibility under Florida law to inform their workers’ compensation insurance company. That insurance company then handles the claim. They will refer an injured individual to an approved doctor for evaluation.
Potential Entitled Benefits
An approved doctor will treat the injured person and give their opinion as to their ability to continue working. Potential benefits that a doctor may say that they are entitled to include:
- Indemnity Benefits: These benefits are awarded if a person misses more than seven days at work due to an injury
- Temporary Total Disability: These benefits are paid out if a doctor says that an individual cannot work at all. It is paid at a rate of 66.66% of their regular wages
- Temporary Partial Disability: If the doctor states that they can return to work on a limited basis, they may be awarded 80% of the difference between what they earned on a normal week and the reduced pay that they now earn. For example, if a person normally makes $500 a week, but the injury has reduced their pay to $400, the workers’ compensation benefit will pay $80 extra
In many cases, the doctor’s opinion is accepted by the insurance company and they agree to pay benefits. However, if the insurance company denies a person’s benefits, o r issues only part of what they feel that they are entitled to, they have the right to contest their findings.
Florida Statute 440.192 allows claimants to file a petition with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims, to argue their case in person before a judge.
A Pinellas County workers’ compensation lawyer can assist injured individuals to fully understand the reasons for their denial, file the appeal on their behalf, and argue their cases before the judge.
How a Pinellas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
When people are injured at work, they have a responsibility to tell their employer and attend doctors’ appointments. Beyond that, all of the legal responsibility lies with their employer and insurance company.
Unfortunately, insurance companies make their profits by not paying out benefits. They may argue that you were not acting as an employee when you were injured or that your injuries do not prevent you from working. No matter the reason that your claim was denied or why you are not satisfied with what the insurance company is offering, let an attorney fight for you.
A Pinellas County workers’ compensation lawyer will examine the facts of your case and the medical evidence to determine the best plan of attack for your appeal. By arguing before the judge with a precise and focused argument, an attorney can fight for the workers’ compensation benefits that you deserve.