Incidents of injuries at work are extremely common in the United States. It is not uncommon to find yourself injured due to falls and slips at work and even being exposed to toxic chemical substances.
In 2020, there were 275 fatal workplace injuries in Florida. If you suffer a workplace injury, you are entitled to workers’ compensation under federal and state law. The governing body responsible for these compensations is Florida’s Division of Workers’ Compensation.
You should seek the help of workers comp attorneys in Fort Lauderdale. It is not simple to claim benefits after an injury. There are many details to remember. Mostly, the benefit type and monetary amount vary from case to case.
It may already sound like a daunting task to make all these calculations while you or your loved one suffers from physical injuries. Thus, here we provide you with a list of all the necessary steps you need to take immediately if you find yourself or your loved one injured.
Steps to Take to Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Fort Lauderdale
You need to abide by Florida state’s worker compensation laws to ensure that your claim is not denied. The “workers’ compensation” section on the official website has the legal details. However, it may be difficult to understand legal terms without a professional lawyer.
Thus, the first and immediate step in your compensation filing procedure is to consult an attorney specializing in filing workers’ compensation benefits.
Report the Injury Immediately
Have a detailed write-up of what happened during the incident that led to the injury. In case of prolonged exposure to chemicals, write down the duration of exposure, type of chemical, and associated details.
The details should support that the injury was indeed work-related, i.e., happened due to undertaking any of the tasks that come under your job description. If there were any witnesses to the incident, you must include their details (with due permission) to make your case strong.
You have up to 30 days to report your injury to your employer. If you don’t report the injury within 30 days, your claim may be denied.
Seek Medical Treatment
It is important to get the necessary treatment both for your health and for your ability to claim compensation. A doctor’s diagnosis and reports establish that your injury was work-related. They are also important in determining the type of benefit you are eligible for. Your compensation depends heavily on the extent and type of your injury.
File a Petition for Benefits
If the insurance company denies your claim, you need to file a petition for benefits.
You have two years following the accident date or the date you found out about the work-related illness/injury or one year following the date the insurer or employer last paid for medical treatment or lost wages to submit a workers’ comp claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
In certain cases, like exposure to toxic chemicals, the symptoms of any physical harm do not surface immediately. However, you can file a petition for benefits once you become aware of the occupational illness.
Types of Compensation Under Workers’ Compensation in Fort Lauderdale
The types of compensation based on the nature and extent of your injury are the following:
Weekly Wage for Injury
Applicable if your injury renders you incapable of working for a while, you are eligible for this weekly wage compensation. The compensation is calculated based on your 13-week average wages. You can avail of this benefit for a maximum of 104 weeks, depending on your recovery conditions. These benefits are paid in a periodic manner: weekly and bi-weekly.
Temporary Partial Disability
If your work-related injury in Fort Lauderdale hampers your earning potential, you are eligible for this compensation. TPD benefits are equal to 80% of the difference between 80% of your pre-injury average weekly wages and your current earnings.
Temporary Total Disability
If your injury incapacitates you from returning to work for at least 21 days, if not more, you can claim the TDD benefits. Under these benefits, you will be compensated up to 80% of your previous weekly earnings. However, these exact monetary calculations depend on the extent of your injury and, most importantly, on the maximum medical improvement period.
If your doctor assesses that you have reached MMI, i.e., no further medical recovery can be made for this injury, your compensation benefits stop. Thus, MMI is a major determining factor in the timeline of your compensation.
If your work-related injury makes you permanently incapable of returning to that particular job, in addition to not finding any suitable work within 50 miles of your house, you can claim compensation for permanent impairment. The exact monetary value of this compensation depends on a lot of factors. These benefits will be provided to you until 75 or until death.
Potential Problems You May Face While Claiming Workers’ Compensation
You may face problems when claiming workers’ compensation.
Firstly, your employer should be a local or state government agency. You need to check if your employer already has any special procedures in place to report injuries. After reporting, you should expect compensation from your employer within the following 21 days.
However, if your employer is unresponsive, move on without delay, and file a petition for your claim. You can call the employee assistance office for further support.
Under the law in Fort Lauderdale, no forms of compensation are taxable. However, there is an upper limit to weekly compensation in Florida- $1099.
If you are receiving either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) on top of your workers’ compensation benefits, you may be required to pay taxes. You must be very careful about these details
If your compensation claim in Fort Lauderdale is denied by your insurance company, your employer, or even after the petition at court, you must not give up. Consult an attorney and submit an appeal to the court to reconsider your petition by highlighting strong evidence that justifies your case.
Work-related injuries should not be overlooked. With this proper legal system in place and the awareness you gained through this information, make sure to claim the compensation that best applies to you without delay.
For more assistance and information, contact our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers today.