Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Stuart
From falling objects to malfunctioning machinery, workplace accidents are all too common. It’s estimated that 3 in every 100 workers are injured on the job, an alarming statistic with often life-altering consequences for those involved. If you were hurt in such a scenario, our workers’ comp attorneys in Stuart can help you bring a claim for benefits.
Even minor conditions can lead to a mountain of medical debt, leaving victims sidelined from work and putting their finances in disarray. Fortunately, most employers in Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. These policies exist to reimburse workers for their medical costs and other accident-related expenses for injuries sustained on the clock. It’s a financial lifeline that can mean the difference between monetary ruin or a swift recovery.
Unfortunately, employers and their insurers are often reluctant to pay out settlements. Some will look for any reason to deny your claim and deprive you of the funds you need to get back on your feet. This can turn filing for workers’ compensation into a lengthy, confusing, and downright miserable experience.
If you were hurt in a workplace accident, the legal team at Donaldson & Weston is here to help. When we take on a new case, we commit to assisting with every detail from gathering evidence to negotiating a settlement to potential litigation. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today 772-266-5555.
When Should I Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Stuart?
Sometimes, filing for workers’ compensation is a relatively straightforward process. For instance, if your injuries were minor, your employer admits that you suffered the injury at work, you missed few if any days of work due to your injury, and you don’t have a pre-existing condition that might affect the same part of your body as the workplace injury, it’s unlikely that your employer will challenge your case. In this scenario, hiring an attorney might not be necessary.
However, if you suffered a serious injury, your employer is denying that your injury happened on the clock, or you are facing any other disputes, it may be in your best interests to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. Here are a few more situations when you may benefit from the advice, guidance, and representation of an attorney:
- Your Employer’s Settlement Offer Does Not Cover Your Damages: While settlements will typically require a judicial stamp of approval, it’s not uncommon for judges to sign off on any offer that appears to be fair. It’s possible that the offer will not account for all recoverable losses, leaving you with a financial award that falls short of covering your accident-related expenses.
- Your Employer or Their Insurer Denies Your Claim: As paying out workers’ compensation settlements affects their bottom line, companies have an incentive to look for any reason to deny your claim. Due to their relatively powerful position, many employers bank on the fact that some workers may not appeal their decision. Hiring an attorney can help level the playing field. A lawyer can conduct an in-depth investigation into the accident and compile evidence to help counter any disputes that arise.
- Your Injuries Prevent You from Working: If you suffered a permanent injury or disability, you may be entitled compensation for loss of future wages to make up for missed paychecks down the road. These serious conditions often warrant a significant settlement, one which employers and their insurance companies may fight tooth and nail to avoid paying. Our workers’ compensation attorneys in Stuart are intimately familiar with the types of tactics utilized by insurers to reduce or deny claims and can help develop strategies to counter such defenses.
- Your Employer Retaliates Against You for Reporting a Workplace Injury: If you were fired, demoted, had your hours or salary slashed, or were subjected to any other form of discrimination because you filed for workers’ compensation or reported your injury, it may be time to contact an attorney. In Florida, such acts of retaliation are illegal, and you may need to take additional steps to recover fair compensation. An attorney can advise you on your rights and help you determine the best way forward.
How Does the Workers’ Compensation System Work?
Like many other states, Florida’s laws require most employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage either by applying for certification from the state to self-insure or by investing in a workers’ compensation policy from a private insurer. All workers’ compensation claims are overseen by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation.
It’s important to note that the state employs a no-fault workers’ comp system. As a result, you do not need to demonstrate that your employer acted negligently to receive the associated benefits. Typically, as long as your injuries were the direct result of your work activities, you could be entitled to compensation. Workers’ comp includes a variety of benefits, such as:
- Impairment benefits (for permanent limitations or amputations);
- Temporary disability benefits (weekly payments or a lump sum for lost earnings);
- Vocational rehab (education or training for a new line of work to accommodate your limitations); and
- Reimbursement for necessary medical care.
Signs You Have a Strong Workers’ Compensation Claim
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a daunting prospect. With your financial future at stake, you may be wondering if you have the makings of a strong case. There are several factors that could influence whether your claim will be successful or not, such as:
- You Filed Before the Deadline: To receive a financial award for a workplace accident, you must have reported your condition to your employer within 30 days of suffering the injury. However, if your condition developed over time, you would have a month of discovering your condition’s relation to your work to notify your employer. Filing within this window will help reduce the chances of facing disputes. It’s not unheard of for employers to immediately deny claims for injuries reported outside of this timeframe. When reporting your injury, include specific details about when the accident occurred, how you were injured, and the types of symptoms you’re experiencing.
- Your Condition Meets State Guidelines: While most employers in the state carry workers’ compensation insurance, there are certain conditions that are not covered by these policies. For example, Florida’s laws dictate that workers with mental or nervous injuries stemming from stress or excitement are not eligible for workers’ compensation. To obtain a financial award for such conditions, you will need to prove that these psychological effects are accompanied by a physical injury or trauma that requires medical intervention.
- You Reported the Injury While Still Employed: If you were laid off, fired, or quit your job before filing, it’s likely your employer or their insurer will deny your workers’ compensation claim. As such, it’s advised to report your injuries as soon as you can after the accident. There are a few exceptions to this “rule”—for instance, if you reported your condition while you were still employed, you suffered the injury during your notice period, or you were fired in an act of retaliation by your employer for reporting your injury. You will be required to provide evidence of any harassment or unfair treatment, such as emails or texts from your boss.
Speak with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Our workers’ comp lawyers in Stuart have a track record of success in and out of court. To discuss your workplace accident with an attorney, call 772-266-5555.