Law Firm Blog

Hostile Work Environments and Claims of Mental Injury

Hostile Work Environments and Claims of Mental Injury

Workers who suffer physical injury in the workplace can seek workers’ compensation for their injuries. But what about those employees who suffer emotional injury in a hostile work environment? Do they have a legal claim for workers’ compensation benefits for their mental injury as a result of harassment? While workplace discrimination is considered illegal, filing legal claims for workers’ compensation benefits for mental injury can be challenging.

Harassment and a hostile work environment

Harassment constitutes employment discrimination and it violates several laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age of Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment is unwelcome conduct that is attributed to race, religion, color, gender, age, national origin, disability, or genetic information. Harassment is considered unlawful when the conduct is severe enough to create a hostile work environment.

What constitutes offensive conduct in the workplace?

Legally speaking, offensive conduct and behavior can include, among other things: offensive jokes, name calling, insults, intimidation, offensive slurs, pictures or objects, and physical assault or threats. Workplace harassment effects not only the individual that is being discriminated against; it can also negatively impact anyone else effected by the offensive conduct and those individuals can be considered victims.

Workers’ compensation and mental injury claims in Florida

When an employee is injured on the job, the physical injury sustained is often plain to see. When an employee suffers a mental injury, evidence of the injury is more difficult to substantiate. Mental conditions that are related to employment are covered by workers’ compensation. For example, an employee who experiences trauma as a result of witnessing another employee’s injury in the workplace can receive compensation for that trauma. Conditions that are the result of a stressful workplace environment are also covered by workers’ compensation. Proving that the mental condition exists – and that it did not exist before — can be challenging. Proving that the condition was caused by a hostile work environment can be even more complex.

Receiving compensation for mental injury from a hostile work environment in Florida

Even though it is against the law, workplace discrimination and harassment affects millions of American workers every day. If you have suffered mental injury as a result of a hostile work environment, it is important to seek an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to explore your situation and guide you on the best path to receiving compensation for your condition.

New Port Richey workers’ compensation attorney Joseph M. Rooth has been dedicated to helping injured and disabled workers for more than 25 years. Compassionate and knowledgeable, attorney Rooth handles each case personally as he serves clients throughout the Tampa Bay area. Call attorney Rooth today at 727-849-3400 to discuss your situation or arrange a confidential consultation online. Convenient office locations in Spring Hill, Seminole New Port Richey, and Clearwater.

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Cancer Presumption Bill Approved by Florida Senate

Cancer Presumption Bill Approved by Florida Senate

January 27, 2017 marked an important day for Florida firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer. On this day, a Florida Senate committee unanimously approved a bill – Bill 158 – that would shift the burden of proof from certain work-related injuries from the claimant to the employer. The bill must be voted on by both houses of the Florida legislature and signed by the governor before it can become effective.

What does Bill 158 say?

Bill 158 establishes a presumption as to a firefighter’s health condition or impairment caused by certain types of cancer contracted in the line of duty. Section 2(a) of Bill 158 reads as follows:

“Any condition or impairment of the health of a firefighter employed full time by the state or any municipality, county, port authority, special tax district, or fire control district which is caused by multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, or testicular cancer and results in total or partial disability or death is presumed to have been accidental and to have been contracted in the line of duty unless the contrary is shown by competent evidence.”

How does this bill affect workers’ compensation cases?

If approved, there will be a presumption that any firefighters diagnosed with multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, or testicular cancer, contracted the disease as part of their work as firefighters. The government entity employing the afflicted firefighter can attempt to demonstrate – by providing “competent evidence” – that the condition was not work-related.

Certain requirements must be met

The bill outlines certain requirements that must be met for a firefighter to qualify for this presumption. These requirements are as follows:

  • Successfully passing a physical examination administered prior to the individual beginning service as a firefighter; the results must fail to reveal any evidence of such a health condition
  • Individual must be employed as a firefighter with the current employer for a minimum of five continuous years prior to becoming totally or partially disabled or prior to their death
  • Prior to becoming totally or partially disabled or before his/her death, individual must not have used tobacco products for at least five years
  • During the preceding five years, the individual may not have been employed in any other position – including employment as a firefighter at another employing agency — that is proven to create an increased risk for multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, or testicular cancer

If a physical was not performed at the time of hiring or immediately thereafter, the presumption stands assuming all the other requirements are met.

Pending workers’ compensation changes have profound impact, so rely on a Board Certified workers’ compensation lawyer for guidance

Florida’s workers’ compensation laws are complex and pending changes to these laws have a profound impact on injured workers. If you are a firefighter who has been diagnosed with a work-related condition, or are a worker who has suffered a workplace injury, we are here to help. For more than 25 years, Board Certified workers’ compensation attorney Joseph M. Rooth has been helping injured workers secure the benefits they deserve. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and personally dedicated to each case, attorney Rooth serves clients throughout the Tampa Bay area, with convenient offices in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater. To schedule a free consultation with attorney Rooth, contact the office at 727-849-3400 or online.

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Florida’s Proposed Worker’s Compensation Rate Increase

Florida’s Proposed Worker’s Compensation Rate Increase

Florida’s worker’s compensation system has been a hot topic among insurers, businesses, and workers. The Florida court recently ruled that – except in an emergency situation – no extensions will be given in the appeal case to overturn a court order invalidating the approved 14.5% rate increase on Florida’s workers’ compensation rates. So, what exactly does this mean?

The story behind the story

On October 5, 2016, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) approved a statewide workers’ compensation insurance rate increase of 14.5% for businesses. This rate increase was originally scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016. However, on November 23, 2016, the court ruled that the rate increase which was negotiated between the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and state regulators within the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) could not go into effect – it was invalid. The judge cited that the NCCI was in violation of Florida’s Sunshine Laws and open meeting requirements in establishing the new insurance rate. In response to this determination, the NCCI claimed it had complied with the laws on transparency and said it would appeal the ruling. The OIR then filed its appeal on November 28, 2016. On December 12, 2016, the court granted the OIR and the NCCI requests for a stay pending the outcome of their respective appeals. The court has since ruled that “No extensions of time shall be entertained by this court on any matter absent a bona fide showing of emergency circumstances.” The court stated that the appeal will proceed on an expedited basis.

What does the proposed rate change mean for workers?

The proposed 14.5 % overall combined statewide average rate increase applies to both new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies in Florida. This rate change would be mandatory for all companies that handle workers’ compensation insurance and claims. As such, companies cannot “opt out” of the changes; they are legally required to comply with the rates implemented by OIR and the NCCI.

Knowledgeable counsel by your side every step of the way

Florida’s workers’ compensation system is complex. The latest proposed changes – and the appeals – make the matter even more confusing. For injured workers, trying to navigate the system during periods of such uncertainty can be time consuming and stressful. Attorney Joseph M. Rooth has spent more than 25 years helping injured and disabled workers. Attorney Rooth is knowledgeable in Florida worker’s compensation law, bringing the necessary skills and experience in securing just compensation for injuries. Serving all of Tampa Bay with offices are conveniently located in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater. Contact the Rooth Law Firm today to arrange a free confidential consultation at 727-849-3400 or online.

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Uncertain Future of Florida Workers’ Comp System

The Uncertain Future of Florida Workers’ Compensation System

 

Florida’s workers’ compensation system has been a hot topic this year among lawmakers, businesses, and labor groups in the wake of two Florida Supreme Court rulings that found parts of the system unconstitutional. The immediate result of these rulings has been a substantial rate increase for Florida businesses. Businesses express concerns about the amount of money spent on attorneys who represent injured workers. Workers’ compensation attorneys are troubled by insurance companies who do not properly pay claims to the insured. Labor unions are unhappy with a system that has reduced benefits for those injured on the job. Overall, it looks to be a tumultuous year ahead for the workers’ compensation system.

Supreme Court Rulings Have Serious Impact

In April of this year, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the attorney fee schedule, which was passed in 2009 as part of state reforms, is unconstitutional under Florida’s constitution as well as the U.S Constitution. It ruled that the fee schedule was a violation of due process, because it presumes that the attorney fee, which is based according to the schedule, is reasonable, thereby eliminating the right of a claimant to refute or negotiate another fee.

The Florida Legislature has expressed concerns about excessive attorney fee awards and has tried to standardize fees to address that concern. The Florida Supreme Court held that the statutory fee schedule did not reflect the time and effort that would be required by a claimant’s counsel. Furthermore, adherence to that schedule resulted in a substantial and increasing gap between the fees paid to claimant attorneys and those paid to counsel representing employers or carriers in the same case. The Court also noted that, since the law does not provide a standard to adjust fees when the recovery is too high in relation to the time and effort involved, excessive fees are still a result of the statutory fee schedule. Current law, it determined, discourages attorneys from representing claimants in certain cases.

Subsequently in another case, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state’s statutory 104-week cap on temporary disability benefits was also unconstitutional, saying the limitation resulted in a statutory gap in benefits which violated the constitutional right to access to court.

Resulting Rate Increases

In response to the rulings, the National Council of Compensation Insurers (NCCI), which files on behalf of Florida insurers, instituted a rate increase request of 19.6 percent. The request was denied by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR), and NCCI was instead ordered to amend and refile its rate increase for 14.5 percent. In October, that rate request was approved for all policies effective December 1, 2016.

Florida insurance advocates believe that employers and small business owners will suffer unless the state revamps the workers’ compensation system to address these new Court rulings.

Workers’ compensation laws are complex so trust a skilled Florida workers’ compensation attorney to successfully navigate the system

Florida’s workers’ compensation laws are complex. The recent changes brought about by the Florida Supreme Court rulings can make the laws all the more confusing. If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury, don’t try and navigate the worker’s compensation system alone. Since 1994, Board Certified workers’ compensation lawyer Joseph M. Rooth of The Rooth Law Firm has helped injured and disabled workers obtain much-needed medical and wage replacement benefits for their work-related injuries. Contact our office today at 727-849-3400 or online to schedule a free consultation. With convenient offices located in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater, we serve clients in New Port Richey and throughout the Tampa Bay area.

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Can a Pre-Existing Injury Hurt Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Protecting your workers’ compensation claim when you have a preexisting injury can be difficult, but not impossible.

Having a pre-existing injury or pre-existing medical condition is one of the most common reasons insurance companies deny workers compensation claims. This is especially true in cases where the pre-existing medical condition and the injury sustained on the job are similarly situated, or causally related. For example, if you have a bad back, and you hurt your back again at work while lifting something heavy, the insurance company could try to deny your claim based on the fact that you already had a back injury. You may be thinking, “But what if my back is worse off than it was before? I may have had back problems in the past, but now things are much worse!” This is a valid concern and having that pre-existing injury does not immediately prevent you from recovering under workers’ compensation. It does, however, complicate things.

I have a pre-existing injury. What do I need to do to recover workers compensation?

Florida law requires that a workers’ compensation claim is paid to someone with a pre-existing medical condition if the workplace injury aggravates or accelerates the pre-existing medical condition. This means that even if your workplace injury and your pre-existing injury are similarly situated, you still have a right to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

The insurance company will put up a fight. They are looking for reasons not to pay your claim and any pre-existing injury or medical condition can give them an easy way out. In Florida, the current workplace injury must be at least 51% of the reason for the disability or need for medical treatment. In order to protect your claim, consider the following:

  • Promptly file your claim: If you have been injured at work, Florida law gives you 30 days to report your workers compensation claim. If you fail to report your injury in a timely manner, your claim may be denied.
  • Maintain all medical records: Be prepared and compile your past medical records as well as all medical records associated with your workplace injury. This is the evidence you will need to prove your claim.
  • Comply with a medical examination request: The insurance company will likely request an Independent Medical Examination (IME) where a doctor will evaluate your injuries and review your medical history. You are required to comply with the IME if you want your claim to be paid.
  • Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you navigate the process: Workers compensation claims often result in a long and complicated process. If you have a pre-existing injury, this process is further complicated. Don’t be alone on this journey.

After you report your injury, your employer then has 7 days to report the injury to their insurance company. The insurance company will begin their investigation immediately. They may begin contacting you regarding the incident that resulted in the injury. The insurance company may contact you regarding your injuries. They may ask for your medical records. Contact experienced attorney Joe Rooth as soon as possible to get the help you need to fight the insurance company and know your rights.

Insurance companies will look for any reason not to pay out on a claim. Don’t let your pre-existing injury prevent you from recovering what you are entitled to. Attorney Joe Rooth of the Rooth Law Firm will fight for your right to compensation for workplace injuries. Attorney Rooth has more than 25 years of experience, is diligent and focused and a recognized specialist in workers’ compensation law. In addition, attorney Rooth delivers a personal, hands-on approach to every client.  If you have been injured on the job, contact the Rooth Law Firm at (727) 849-3400 or online today.

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Long Wait Times for Social Security Disability Benefits in Florida Are Putting the Most Needy at Risk

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are taking longer than ever to receive. Almost every applicant is forced to go through the appeals process after their initial applications are rejected. The wait list to get SSD appeals heard in Tampa is often longer than two years. All the while, applicants are forced to fend for themselves—leaving many of them homeless and unable to afford the medicine they desperately need.

The appeals are heard before a judge that considers evidence from the government demonstrating inability to maintain and support one’s self with a full-time job. Persuading the judge that you are unfit to maintain any type of full-time employment can be surprisingly difficult. The percentage of applicants that are able to win their appeals without an experienced Tampa SSD appeals attorney is close to zero.

Having an attorney prepare your case for the first appeal is often the difference between getting the benefits you deserve and having to find a way to survive until you are able to get another appeal. It takes months for an experienced Tampa SSD benefits attorney to prepare a case and gather the necessary medical records. The burden of proof is on the SSD claimant to prove that they have a medical situation that prevents them from being able to support their self through any type of full-time employment.

There are no answers in sight to ending the long wait times for SSD benefits claimants in Florida. Claimants need to do everything they can to ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve during the first opportunity for an appeal. Experts strongly recommend that anyone pursuing benefits retain an experienced SSD appeals attorney to help them prepare their case.

At the Rooth Law Firm in New Port Richey, clients receive the personalized attention you expect from a small law firm with the SSD expertise expected from a large law firm. We offer free initial consultations and a flexible schedule for your convenience. Call us at 727-849-3400 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We help clients in Clearwater, New Port Richey, Seminole, Tampa and throughout the Tampa Bay area.

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What Is The Amount Of A Monthly Disability Benefit Payment That I Can Expect to Receive in Florida?

Will I bring in enough money to make ends meet?

After an injury or illness causes partial or permanent disability, you need to know exactly how much money you will be able to receive from a monthly Social Security disability payment while you are residing in the State of Florida. After an accident or injury, there are mounting medical bills to pay as well as  and day-to-day expenses. It can be a time of high anxiety if  you are no longer able to work. If you have been disabled, it is important to understand how disability payments work, and how much you will expect to receive each month.

There are two types of disability payments. Social Security Disability Insurance payments (also known as SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (known as SSI).  These acronyms may be familiar, but each program differs from the other slightly.

SSDI benefits are paid to those who have worked and have accumulated a specific number of work credits. Monthly payments will be based upon your earnings before your disability.  SSI payments are based solely upon financial need.  To qualify you must have $2,000 in assets ($3,000 if you are married), and have a very limited income.

SSDI payments are formulated based on the amount of work credits that you earned up until your injury. These payments will vary based upon the amount of time you worked and your rate of pay. They generally run between $300 per month up to $2,200 per month.

SSI payments are not based on income. These benefits are based upon need only. These payments are a set amount that change each year depending upon factors such as national cost-of-living estimates and the loss or acquisition of any assets. These payments can be between $700 per month up to $1,000 per month.

If you have been the victim of an injury, motor vehicle accident, or sudden illness, contact an experienced New Port Richey Social Security Disability attorney to better understand your SSI or SSDI benefits.

New Port Richey Social Security attorney Joseph Rooth, has extensive knowledge and experience regarding Florida SSI and SSDI processes and claims. Attorney Rooth is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives and knows how to get you the benefits you need. Contact us at 727-849-3400 or simply fill out a contact form. Offices in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater.

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Understanding Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

Whether you are an employer or an employee in Florida, you need to understand the state’s workers’ compensation laws so that you know what your responsibilities and rights are. If you are an employer and have not taken the appropriate steps to meet the legal requirements, you could put your entire business in jeopardy if one of your workers is injured on the job. If you are an employee, you need to understand your rights under the law so that you can be fairly compensated if you are injured while working. In either scenario, working with an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney can help you better understand the laws and how they apply to your case.

In Florida, all businesses are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance if they have four or more employees, whether they are full-time or part-time workers. Executive officers and managers count as employees unless they have been granted a special exemption.

Business owners in the construction industry can apply for an exemption for themselves and must pay $50 for the privilege. If the exemption is granted, it must be renewed every two years. Construction industry corporations can also exempt up to three of the officers, as long as the officers own at least 10 percent of the stock in the company. An LLC can exempt up to three owners using the same criteria. Sole proprietors cannot exempt themselves.

Corporations that are not in the construction industry can exempt all their officers, no matter the number. There is no fee for this exemption like there is for construction workers. LLC owners can also apply for an exemption. Sole proprietors of businesses outside the construction industry are excluded from purchasing workers’ compensation. If they want to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, they must apply to do so.

Workers’ compensation insurance pays for the medical care of employees who are injured on the job, and it provides some lost wages. The coverage also provides payment for those who have become ill as a result of workplace conditions, such as exposure to hazardous chemicals, and it provides payment for the families of those who have died as a result of injury or illness at work.

Florida workers’ compensation laws also protect workers against retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation suit.

The awarding of workers’ compensation benefits is contingent upon a number of criteria, including reporting the illness or injury within 30 days and undergoing an independent medical examination. Florida is a no-fault state for workers’ compensation claims, so employees do not have to prove fault in order to qualify for benefits.

Despite the clear mandate for workers’ compensation coverage and the awarding of benefits, many employers try to find ways around carrying the coverage or awarding the benefits to keep their costs low. An experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can help employees get the benefits to which they are entitled so that they can get the medical care they need and continue to provide financially for their families.

The Florida workers’ compensation attorney at the Rooth Law Firm has been fighting for justice on behalf of injured workers in Florida for many years. We are dedicated to getting you the full compensation that the law provides for your injuries. We help you understand Florida’s workers’ compensation laws and your rights, and help you get the full benefits you deserve. Call us today at (727) 849-3400, or contact us online to find out how our knowledgeable Florida workers’ compensation attorney can help you.

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What Happens If You’re Injured on the Job?

Your workplace should be a safe haven where you can do your job effectively without fear of injury or illness. However, accidents can happen anywhere. You can work in a safe office environment where the most dangerous thing appears to be the sharp corner on your desk, but still be seriously injured when you slip on a puddle or burn yourself on a malfunctioning coffee pot. Of course, if you work with heavy machinery or chemicals, the risk for injury or illness is much greater.

If you are injured on the job, your medical care and time lost from work should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. In Florida, all businesses that have four or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Some employees can be exempt from coverage, such as business owners or real estate agents who work exclusively on commission.

To get workers’ compensation benefits, it is important that you act quickly and appropriately after an accident at work. If you are injured, you need to alert your employer and seek medical attention immediately. For minor injuries, such as a cut or sprain, you may be able to get first aid care on the scene. However, if the accident is more serious, such as a fall from a great height or a head trauma from a piece of heavy machinery, you should seek emergency medical care.

To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must be treated by a doctor designated by your employer and the workers’ compensation board. You may be able to see your own doctor if you request the change in writing and it is approved.

It doesn’t matter if you are injured on site or off. If you are working on behalf of your employer at another location — such as by making a delivery or visiting a client off site — you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

After you seek medical treatment, you should contact a New Port Richey workers’ compensation attorney. The extent of your injuries may not be immediately apparent when you file your workers’ compensation claim, so you may not get the full compensation that you deserve. An experienced attorney will work with a team of experts on your behalf to make a case for how your work-related injuries will impact your life, both in terms of the medical care you will need and in your ability (or inability) to work.

Work-related injuries are not always apparent. Repetitive motion can cause stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis that can cause chronic pain. Exposure to toxic chemicals over time can lead to life-threatening diseases. For example, exposure to asbestos and benzene — common industrial chemicals — have both been linked to cancer.

Attorney Joseph Rooth, is a highly-skilled New Port Richey workers’ compensation attorney at The Rooth Law Firm. Trust attorney Rooth to build a strong case to show how your work environment led to the development of serious health conditions, helping you get the full compensation you deserve for what may end up being lifelong medical care, as well as your pain and suffering.

Attorney Joe Rooth of The Rooth Law Firm has been representing injured workers in New Port Richey for decades, and our team is committed to getting you the full compensation you deserve for your workplace injuries. We serve as a tough legal advocate for your rights while acting with compassion as we guide you through the legal process. Call us today at (727) 849-3400 to find out how our New Port Richey workers’ compensation attorney can help, or contact us online.

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Tampa Workers Compensation Attorney Answers Your Most Common Questions

Clarifying workers compensation law

Workers’ compensation benefits provide medical treatment, partially replace lost wages and help you get back to work. Many claims, however, are denied or  full benefits  are not received by the injured employee. Employers and insurance companies often claim injuries occurred outside the scope of employment or dismiss injuries as not as serious as claimed. As a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney, I have helped hundreds of injured and disabled workers obtain the benefits they deserve for more than two decades. Workers’ compensation is complicated and difficult to navigate without a knowledgeable legal advocate on your side. If you have been injured in the workplace, you need a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney on your side to ensure you are treated fairly and receive the benefits you deserve.

There are many questions surrounding workers’ compensation. Here is a list of some of the most commonly asked questions and answers. Please call our office for additional information.

  • What is workers’ compensation?
  • What injuries qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?
  • What is the time limit for filing a claim?
  • What benefits are available through workers’ compensation?
  • What percentage of my wages will be covered?
  • Am I allowed to take legal action against my employer for the injury?
  • What if the injury was my fault? Am I still covered?
  • Is my job in jeopardy if I file a claim?

If you have been injured on the job, contact a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer today for a free consultation

A job-related injury or illness can change your life forever, making workers’ compensation benefits more important than ever. If you have questions about workers’ compensation, need to file a claim or have been denied, contact me Tampa workers comp attorney Joseph Rooth at 727-849-3400 or online. Offices in New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Seminole and Clearwater for your convenience.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a federally-administered program designed to provide compensation to employees who become ill or injured while on the job. Though administered by the federal government, each state (including Florida) has its own set of workers’ compensation laws and policies.

What injuries qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits?

Any accident, injury or illness that arises in the course of employment should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. This may include physical injuries, occupational diseases and even mental injuries. Some injuries occur suddenly, while others may occur over time due to repetitive activities. Employees who suffer both one-time and progressive injuries, short-term or long-term, are eligible to receive workers’  comp. There are a few exceptions to this rule,  which include:

  • Injuries the employee suffers while committing a serious crime.
  • Self-inflicted or intentional injuries.
  • Injuries incurred while the employee is in violation of official company policy.

What is the time limit for filing a claim?

In Florida, you have 30 days from the date you are injured, or realize you have been  injured, to report your injury. However, it is strongly recommended that you report the injury as soon as possible.  Once your injury is reported, you have up to two years from the date of the injury to file a formal workers’ comp claim.

What benefits are available through workers’ compensation?

All medical expenses related to the illness or injuries may be paid by workers’ compensation insurance. Short-term/long-term disability and payments for missed work, rehabilitation, and in some cases retraining for a new position may also be covered.

What percentage of my wages will be covered?

You are entitled to compensation up to 2/3 of your lost gross wages for time missed from work due to a job-related injury or illness.

Am I allowed to take legal action against my employer for the injury?

Under workers’ compensation laws, you are not permitted to bring a personal injury lawsuit against your employer for damages resulting from the injury or illness you received while on the job. You can, however, bring legal action against a third party (such as a vendor) if it can be proven that they bear some responsibility for the incident.

What if the injury was my fault? Am I still covered?

The tradeoff for not being able to sue your employer is that workers’ compensation benefits are payable for your injuries regardless of fault, as  long as they do not fall into one of the aforementioned exception categories, such as injuring yourself intentionally or violating company policy.

Is my job in jeopardy if I file a claim?

Yes and no. Under workers’ compensation laws, employers cannot retaliate against employees who report and injury and file a claim. Unfortunately, however, the employer has no legal obligation to keep your current position open while you are out of work.

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