When you suffer a workplace injury in Florida, your whole world can be turned upside down in a matter of a few moments.
For instance, a slip-and-fall injury on the job can cause serious damage to your spine, neck and/or head and require that you miss weeks – maybe even months – of work. You may also require ongoing medical treatment and therapy.
Florida provides a way for workers who are injured on the job to recover compensation for their injuries. This is the workers’ compensation process.
Through this process, an injured worker can receive compensation for his or her medical expenses and a percentage of his or her lost wages – as long as the worker can establish that a workplace injury or illness occurred.
Some workers may be intimidated by the process and fear the complexities involved with filing a workers’ compensation claim. Other workers may be afraid that if they file a workers’ compensation claim, their employer will terminate them or take other retaliatory measures.
An Orlando workers’ compensation attorney can assist you in seeking the benefits you are entitled to receive under the law after a workplace injury. An attorney can also protect other important legal rights you have.
What Are My Rights If I Get Hurt at Work?
When you have been injured in a workplace accident, it is important that you take swift action in order to protect your right to workers’ compensation benefits. So long as the workplace injury occurred while you were engaged in the performance of your duties, the Florida workers’ compensation laws should help you to receive benefits.
However, you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you were not at work when an injury occurred or if you were engaged in deliberately reckless activities.
Receiving workers’ compensation benefits requires that you, the injured worker, take certain actions. You should:
Immediately report the injury to your immediate supervisor.
Regardless of how severe the injury initially appears, prompt reporting of the injury is essential to protecting your rights. Regardless of other circumstances, you have 30 days from the date of the injury to report the injury to your employer. This puts your employer on notice that you will likely be seeking workers’ compensation benefits. If you fail to do this, you may forfeit your ability to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
You do not necessarily have to give written notification of your injury. However, written notification is advised as it creates a much more permanent record than a simple verbal conversation.
Seek medical treatment promptly and follow your doctor’s orders.
You may seek treatment from a doctor with whom you are comfortable. However, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company can request that you submit to an evaluation by a doctor of its own choosing. It is important that you follow all treatment directions of your treating physician.
Failing to see a doctor promptly after your injury or failing to follow your doctor’s instructions can all be used by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company to suggest that:
- Your injuries are not as serious or severe as you are claiming; and/or
- Your own careless conduct contributed to the severity of your injuries.
If your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier is successful in establishing either of these propositions, your workers’ compensation claim may be reduced or even denied entirely.
Follow your doctor’s orders concerning work restrictions and when you can return to work.
As tempting as it may be, do not take side jobs or other work if your doctor has not cleared you to return to work. As noted above, this can adversely impact your workers’ compensation claim.
Keep detailed records of your expenses, losses and conversations you have with treating physicians.
All of this information is necessary for you to establish the exact amount of your workers’ compensation claim, which will consist of compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages. The better records you keep, the easier it will be for you receive the full amount of compensation to which you may be entitled.
Do not wait until your claim is denied or you run into trouble before seeking the assistance of an experienced Orlando workers’ compensation attorney.
In fact, the sooner you seek legal assistance, the more benefit you can receive from a lawyer’s services. For this reason, we encourage you to contact Frank M. Eidson, Attorney at Law, as soon as possible after a workplace injury.
Can I Get Fired for Filing for Workers’ Compensation?
The law expressly prohibits your employer from taking any retaliatory action against you for seeking benefits under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. This not only includes firing you for filing a claim but also demoting you, assigning you extra duties, reducing your pay or taking any other harmful or retaliatory action against you. Your employer also cannot threaten you with any such activity in an effort to encourage you to not file a claim.
If you have been injured on the job, and your employer has taken an adverse action against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim or threatened to do so, contact a workers’ compensation attorney right away.
You may be entitled to additional legal remedies. However, in order to secure these additional benefits and remedies, you must properly present your claims and evidence supporting them.
Why You Need an Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation laws are meant to protect you, the injured worker and your financial situation after a workplace injury. However, receiving benefits is not always straightforward or easy.
Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer Frank M. Eidson can assist you in completing the necessary forms and preserve your right to compensation. You can count on him to give personalized attention to your case and to use more than 20 years of experience to advise you and represent your interests.
To schedule a free case evaluation, call our office today or reach us through our online form.