Many injured workers tell a Fort Lauderdale workers comp attorney that they want to close their claim as quickly as possible, get their benefits, and move on with their lives. This is not a recommended approach. Being in a hurry will definitely give the insurance company the opportunity to severely devalue your claim.
In our experience, less than 20% of workers comp cases are resolved within the first six months after the workplace accident. These are usually very simple cases, involving moderate injuries. Nearly half of the workers comp claims we handle are closed between 13 and 24 months after the accident.
Since this appears to be a very long time to the average person, let us discuss the key factors that influence the duration of the claim.
1. The Severity of Your Injuries
Your lawyer needs to know whether you will be fully healed and able to return to your job before reaching an agreement with the workers comp insurer. If you will be left with impairment or the impossibility of working, the lawyer has to seek the right type of benefits for you:
- Total partial disability benefits
- Total permanent disability benefits.
However, it can take months until your doctor can say that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement and can clearly describe the type and extent of disability you will have to live with.
2. The Available Evidence to Prove Your Claim
The key elements a Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer needs to prove your claim are:
- That you were on the clock when the accident happened.
- That you were performing an activity within your scope of employment.
In some cases, this is more difficult to prove, especially if:
- There were no witnesses to your accident.
- There are no CCTV cameras in the area where the accident happened.
- You were working from home.
- You were performing your job duties on a client’s premises.
In such situations, your lawyer will have to perform some investigations and even hire expert witnesses to gather sufficient evidence to prove your case.
3. You Did Not Report Your Accident in a Timely Manner
Workers comp claims tend to take longer to resolve if you did not report your accident immediately to your employer. An insurance company will start by denying your claim.
They will argue that you waited to report the incident because:
- You had consumed alcohol or drugs and wanted to avoid taking the test.
- You were injured while off duty and want to turn the accident into a workers comp case.
- You were already injured and want to get workers comp to pay for the ongoing care of a pre-existing condition.
In these cases, an attorney has to collect medical records, expert witness testimonies, and other relevant information to establish the validity of your claim.
4. Your Lawyer Has to File an Appeal
The appeal process at the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC) can take months depending on the caseload of this appeal commission and the decision you receive.
If you are not happy with the initial decision, your lawyer will have to petition for a full hearing before the judges. If you are still unhappy with the outcome, your last resort is to take your workers comp claim to the Appellate Court.
5. Your Conditions Gets Worse
Some injuries appear to heal well initially, but then start showing worsening symptoms. This is the case for many back, spine, and head injuries, where the evolution of the patient’s condition cannot be fully anticipated.
In this case, your lawyer will have to reevaluate your medical care needs, as well as the possibility of filing for permanent disability benefits.
Get Help With Your Ft. Lauderdale Workers Comp Case!
The workers’ compensation system is not easy to navigate without knowledge of the law and experience in negotiating with insurance adjusters. You only have one chance to file a claim and get compensation for medical care costs and replacement wages.
Even if the process appears to be long, be confident that your Fort Lauderdale workers comp attorney is fighting for the maximum benefits you deserve, to protect your family’s financial future.
To make this process shorter, reach out to us as soon as possible after your workplace accident and schedule a free case review. Contact us today at (786) 686-2857!