After an on-the-job injury, some people file a workers’ compensation claim, get reimbursed for expenses, and all goes smoothly. Too often, however, claims get denied, payouts are too low to cover expenses, the employee gets let go in the midst of a claim, or other complications arise. That is when many have to ask the question, “Should I hire a workers’ compensation attorney?” Here, we provide insight into the proper time to consult a workers’ comp lawyer in order to get the benefits to which you are entitled.
What is Workers’ Compensation Law?
Florida Statutes Chapter 440 requires most companies to purchase workers’ compensation insurance that provides benefits for job-related injuries. In Florida, under a workers’ compensation policy, injured workers can receive compensation and reimbursement for medical care for injuries incurred on the job, regardless of fault. The Division of Workers’ Compensation, within the Department of Financial Services, regulates the law, ensuring that employers pay into the system. Coverage may include a wide array of injuries and expenses, including medical bills, temporary disability, or compensation for death.
What Common Injuries are Covered Under Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation covers a wide variety of injuries and health issues developed on the job. The following are some of the most common causes of workers’ comp eligibility:
Repetitive motion and overuse injuries
Doing the same task all day, even a simple motion, can become physically demanding. It can lead to a wide array of disabilities, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and back pain.
An occupational illness develops as a result of exposure to hazardous materials on the job. There are a wide range of occupational illnesses, including black lung disease and asbestosis. In certain cases, an employee may be able to demonstrate that they contracted a contagious illness on the job.
Those who are exposed to loud noises on a daily basis often develop hearing issues, including hearing loss. Workers’ compensation may cover any expenses related to this issue.
Job-related mental health issues
Although stress can truly impact someone’s day-to-day functioning, it is hard to get workers’ compensation benefits when it comes to mental health. That being said, PTSD that has developed due to an issue on the job may be covered by workers’ compensation.
If you’re not sure whether you qualify for workers’ comp, speak with an attorney to learn more about the qualifications for mounting a case.
What are Common Reasons a Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied?
Oftentimes, attorneys are brought in because a case has been denied. Unfortunately, insurance companies can deny workers’ compensation claims for many reasons, thus prohibiting you from receiving benefits. Some of the most common explanations for why a workers’ compensation claim is denied are:
- The injury was unwitnessed, thus making it hard to prove it occurred on the job
- The injury wasn’t reported in a timely manner
- Your initial medical visit showed there were illegal drugs or alcohol in your system
- Your initial medical records and the accident report file differ
- The insurance company does not agree that your requested treatment is related to your on-the-job injury
If your claim was denied, or even just to ensure that you are receiving all of the medical treatment and benefits you deserve, it is important to consult with an attorney to discuss your options.
When Else Should I Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?
While some claimaints might choose to represent themselves in minor or more straightforward workers’ comp cases, getting a lawyer involved can be necessary to win a more contentious or complex claim, or even on disputed issues that arise in what should be a straightforward claim. These are some indications that it is time to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer:
- Your employer’s insurance company denies your claim or does not pay your benefits in a timely manner
- Your payments do not cover all of your lost wages or medical bills
- Your treatment is not approved
- Your treatment is delayed
- You plan to apply for Social Security benefits
- Your boss retaliates against you for filing a workers’ comp claim, firing or laying you off
Of course, every case is different. However, if you are experiencing the above, it might be time to consult with an attorney.
Can Hiring an Attorney Increase My Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney can provide you with a stronger case, which raises your chances for compensation. A legal professional will help you calculate the highest amount of workers’ compensation for which you qualify, and then gather the necessary evidence to either negotiate a settlement with your insurance company or prepare for a hearing or trial. Although there is no guarantee on the amount of money you will receive, hiring an attorney can result in a more effective case, whether you settle or go to court. Contact Matthews Injury Law today to discuss your workers’ compensation case.