Tampa Medical Benefits Lawyer
A job-related illness or injury is a devastating blow. Medical bills begin to pile up at the exact same time there is no money coming in to satisfy these obligations. In the midst of all this turmoil, the workers’ compensation insurance company usually calls every day offering settlement terms. Many victims are tempted to take the money and move on with their lives, but they have no way of knowing if the company’s offer is fair.
At Barbas Nuñez Sanders Butler & Hovsepian, our experienced Tampa workers’ compensation lawyers have been helping area families since 1982. We quickly evaluate your case from a legal, medical, and factual standpoint. Then, we fight for the compensation you deserve. In the extremely convoluted Florida workers’ compensation system, this fight is not always easy. But we do not give up easily either.
Available Medical Benefits
Workers’ compensation is no-fault insurance that covers medical expenses and other economic losses. To obtain these benefits, victims do not need to prove fault, negligence, fraud, or anything else. They must only establish a causal connection between the illness or injury and their job duties. The specific medical benefits available in Tampa include:
- Emergency care,
- Follow-up medical care,
- Physical or occupational rehabilitation,
- Medical devices,
- Transportation expenses, and
- Prescription drugs.
In exchange for the no-fault benefits, workers must go to the doctor their company assigns to the case. If you do not feel you are getting the treatment you need, your workers’ compensation attorney may have some other options for you to consider.
Some Common Issues in Florida Medical Benefits Claims
Most workers’ compensation doctors put their patients (the injured victims) first. But some do not. Employers and insurance companies have a great deal of influence in Florida, and doctors sometimes feel the heat. Some common issues include:
- Premature Release: Sometimes, the doctor clears the victim to return to work before the victim is ready to do so. Premature release is often related to one of the other issues discussed below.
- Failure to Order Tests: Both inside and outside of workers’ compensation, some doctors diagnose conditions according to their gut instincts as opposed to the date in diagnostic tests. The delayed diagnosis often makes treatment much more complex.
- Refusal to Refer to Specialist: Many doctors have an “I’ve got this” mentality. Often, that confidence is a very good thing. But sometimes, even experienced doctors may be in over their heads. In these situations, patients almost always suffer.
Other common issues include an erroneous conclusion that the illness or injury was not work-related and a failure to acknowledge pain.
How Long Do Medical Benefits Last?
Most Tampa workers’ compensation cases involve a temporary total disability. TTD victims cannot return to work until they reach their maximum medical improvement. MMI means either complete recovery or the greatest possible recovery.
Physical therapy and other benefits do not last forever. Recent amendments to Section 440.15 of the Labor Code cut the benefits period to just 104 weeks. After that, workers’ compensation no longer paid for physical therapy or other benefits. That short period meant that many victims did not get enough treatment to recover yet they also had not reached their MMIs. So, they essentially got nothing.
In 2016, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the business-friendly limit was unconstitutional. The court ordered state officials to reinstate the old limit, which was 260 weeks (five years). Now, victims have a much longer paid recovery time. That means they can get back to work, and that outcome benefits everyone.
A few Florida workers’ compensation illnesses or injuries involve permanent disabilities. These victims usually receive payments based on the extent of disability, type of injury or illness, and their pre-injury salaries.
Team Up with Savvy Lawyers
Job injury victims do not need to establish fault to get their medical bills paid. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Tampa, contact Barbas Nuñez Sanders Butler & Hovsepian. Home and hospital visits are available.