Tampa Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
The area of workers’ compensation law encompasses claims for medical, indemnity and rehabilitation benefits arising from occupational injuries, illnesses and diseases that result in temporary or permanent impairment or death. A complex field, it requires the ability to collect and analyze medical, engineering, construction, safety and other technical information to establish an accurate account of events. Seek the help of professional representation from experienced workers’ compensation lawyers in Tampa.
Below you will find a list of common terms associated with workers’ compensation related cases. If you have any questions about your situation, please feel free to contact the Tampa workers’ compensation lawyers anytime at 813-254-6575.
Workers’ Compensation – Employee Must Give Notice:
Florida Workers’ Compensation provides that notice of an accident or injury can bar a claim if your employer is not made aware within thirty (30) days of the accident or within thirty (30) days of when you knew, or should have known, that your injuries were caused by an accident at work. It is imperative that you advise your employer immediately of any injuries or accidents that you suffer at work. If you suffer an injury and are made aware of the fact that it is likely related to your work activity, you should immediately report it to your employer in writing and request that they complete a First Report of Injury and provide you a copy of same. If your employer refuses to do so, you should provide them written notice of your injury and your accident and preferably have it signed by somebody at your employer’s place of employment acknowledging receipt of the information within thirty (30) days of, again, the date of accident or when you knew or should have known of the accident.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Accident?
Accident is defined by Webster’s as something that happens suddenly or unexpectedly. While an accident at work is usually quite obvious, you suffer an injury lifting something associated with a specific event or you fall at work, there are several other types of injuries that did not result from a specific event. You could suffer an injury from the accumulation of several years or hours of repetitive activity at a job. Many times, this goes improperly diagnosed as a condition related to age, but in fact is due to repetitive motion of data entry or physical activity in which you repeat the same movements at work over a period of time. Repetitive traumas are compensable work related accidents. Another type of injury at work that is compensable is an occupational exposure. If you are exposed to toxic fumes or chemicals or mold in the workplace that results in injury, which may manifest itself as a pulmonary injury or an allergic reaction, these are also work related injuries. Again, you must advise your employer within thirty (30) days of when you knew, or should have known, that it was related to work for these two events to become compensable events.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is the type of insurance mandated by the State of Florida that employers must carry if they have four (4) or more employees. This insurance provides two basic types of benefits. The first being medical benefits. Medical benefits include, but aren’t necessarily limited to, medical appointments, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, prescriptions, transportation to and from physicians, as well as any and all medically required treatment. There are some limits on chiropractic care, but basically all care is covered so long as it is medically reasonable and necessary as a result of the injury at work. Medical benefits are meant to be provided to you for life. There are limits that can reduce the amount of medical benefits you receive or that can discontinue benefits. Basically, if you allow more than one (1) year to expire between visits to an authorized medical provider, a statute of limitations will run and will bar you from further care. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, which include continued care and treatment by way of a prescription medication, as well as other exceptions that can be more fully discussed during your appointment, should you be concerned that the statute of limitations has expired on your claim.
The second type of benefit is lost wages. When you have been injured at work and are unable to physically work, you are entitled to receive lost wages from the workers’ compensation insurance that your employer had at the time. Regrettably, you do not receive 100% of your lost wages immediately, nor do you receive them at the full rate as when you were employed. You do receive 66-2/3% of your average weekly wage when you are temporarily and totally disabled as a result of medical inability to work related to your work accident. There is another classification of indemnity benefits which is temporary partial disability, which is payable at a rate of 64% or up to 80% if you have some limited employment. Another classification of indemnity is permanent total disability, which is payable if you have been rendered permanently disabled as a result of your work accident. This benefit is payable to age 75, or if you are accepted permanently and totally disabled after your 70th birthday, for five (5) years from the date which you were accepted. There are limits as to the amount payable, when it is payable and how it is payable and consulting an lawyer to discuss your options is important.
What Is MMI?
Maximum medical improvement is the date assigned by a treating physician to determine the point at which he believes your condition is no longer going to have any substantial or significant improvement. This does not necessarily mean that you are healed or cured, it just means that the doctor does not believe you are going to get any better. Regrettably, a lot of times when you reach maximum medical improvement, you still have permanent restrictions or permanent limitations that you are going to have to deal with. Maximum medical improvement is the date after which indemnity benefits, unless you are permanently and totally disabled, are discontinued. It also is the date on which you become entitled to an impairment benefit, which is more fully discussed later. Following maximum medical improvement, you will be required to pay $10.00 co-payments for medical visits, as well as prescription coverage, however, the prescription and medical coverage continues as outlined above. If you reach maximum medical improvement but are left with work restrictions or an inability to work, a claim for permanent total disability must be pursued and discussed more fully with your Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer.
Impairment benefits are payable to an employee as a result of a permanent injury suffered as a result of a permanent impairment rating assigned by an authorized physician as a result of your injury. Basically, if the doctor believes you have been permanently injured, he will look to a book called the Florida Impairment Guides, look up your injury, and determine what your whole body impairment is. While you may have suffered a significant injury to your hand, and your hand may be significantly impaired, this number must be converted into a whole body figure. Your permanent impairment rating can be disputed in court and you should consult with an experienced Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer regarding the validity of the impairment rating given. Assuming you have been given a valid impairment rating, the insurance company has an obligation then to process a monetary payment to you based upon the rating given, the amount of money you were making at the time of the accident, and the amount of money you were making at the time the impairment is given. Based on these three factors, an accurate calculation of your impairment benefit is then payable. Impairment benefits can be paid to you on a biweekly basis or in one lump sum. To determine if you have been paid your impairment benefits correctly, please contact us to perform this calculation for you.
Contact Our Experienced Tampa Workers Compensation Lawyers Today
The area of workers compensation law encompasses claims for medical, indemnity and rehabilitation benefits arising from occupational injuries, illnesses and diseases that result in temporary or permanent impairment or death. A complex field, it requires the ability to collect and analyze medical, engineering, construction, safety and other technical information to establish an accurate account of events.