Work Injury Lawyers in Tampa and Sarasota, Florida
An on-the-job injury can unexpectedly disrupt your life, work, and well being. Fortunately, workers’ compensation and the workplace’s premise liability coverage cover many instances of workplace injury. However, that coverage may not be enough when a severe injury takes place on the job.
A serious injury can spell disaster for a family, with medical bills, loss of income during recovery, and pain and suffering caused by the accident. Unfortunately, employers and insurance agencies tend to prioritize protecting their financial interests rather than help you get the care you deserve. In case you ever sustain a workplace injury — or if you already have — or you are filing or appealing a claim, it’s important to understand how the system works in Florida and when to hire a workers compensation attorney.
Workplace Injury Cases We Handle
Some injuries occur over time, such as repetitive motion injuries. Others result from an accident, like a slip-and-fall or mishap with machinery. In rare cases, illnesses can be tied to workplace causes. All of these can result in workers’ comp claims. Among the work injury cases we handle are:
- Head injuries
- Muscular injuries
- Neck and spinal injuries
- Hearing or sight loss
- Construction or truck accidents
These are just some of the many injuries we handle. Whether or not your injury qualifies for a workers’ comp case will depend on the specifics.
Workers Most at Risk of On-the-Job Injuries
The risk of injury or death at the job is not limited to just one type of worker. However, some professional roles place individuals at particularly high risk. The following types of workers are at the highest risk of sustaining serious injuries on the job:
- Construction workers
- Warehouse employees
- Manufacturing, factory, and packaging workers
- Truck and delivery drivers
- Office workers
We represent workers in these roles as well as many others.
What to Do After a Work Injury or Accident?
In order for your workers’ comp case to have the best chance of success, it’s important to find an attorney who’s knowledgeable about the claims process as well as Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. In addition to contacting a lawyer right away, here are steps to take following a workplace injury:
- Report the incident immediately: Inform your employer, and call the police if necessary. A formal accident report will help your case.
- Contact the Florida Division of Occupational Safety and Health: Employers should report the accident. They are required to if there has been a fatality or an incident involving three or more employees where someone went to the hospital. If you are unsure the report has been made, call OSHA at (813) 626-1177.
- Make a report in off-hours: If you were hurt outside of traditional business hours, make a report as soon as possible by calling the Florida State Capitol Police at (850) 414-8883.
- Document everything: Keep track of when and where symptoms appear or an accident takes place. Visit a doctor and maintain detailed records of every medical visit and treatment. Also record loss of activity, such as household duties you’re unable to perform or activities you have to cancel.
While the above steps are important, having an attorney to help you with filing a claim will allow you to recover and receive all the benefits to which you’re entitled. Having legal counsel is also helpful in case your claim is denied or other complications arise.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Laws in Florida
According to Florida state law, all employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance. If an injured person qualifies, they will receive monetary compensation for medical expenses, suffering, and lost wages, regardless of who is at fault. To qualify for workers’ compensation, you must:
- Work for a company that carries workers’ compensation insurance
- Be a legal employee of the company
- Have a work-related illness or injury
- Contractors and temporary workers will not qualify.
When Your Claim Gets Denied or Workers’ Comp is Not Enough
Workers’ compensation benefits are intended to help the employee with medical bills and lost wages. However, there are many times when a claim gets rejected, or when Florida workers’ compensation is not enough to cover everything. Fortunately, there are additional steps you can take.
Employers must meet certain standards in order to enjoy the protection of workers’ compensation. If your employer fails to do what is required, you have the right to file a lawsuit for their negligence. When a third party caused the injury – a separate contractor working for another company, for example, or a dangerous product that was used at work – there are other options.
If the worker is involved in a fatal work accident in Florida, the benefits extend to the dependents of the worker’s family. A wrongful death claim can be filed if an individual’s negligent or reckless actions lead to the death of a worker. When the accident is not caused by the employer or co-employee of the injured, normal personal injury laws apply.
Employer OSHA Violations
In the United States, all employers must follow OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws regarding employee safety. If your employer fails to do this, you can report them to the agency anonymously. When you attempt to take action against this type of employer, do not accept a settlement until you speak with an attorney. It is important that you understand your legal rights and options before attempting to settle.
Workers’ Comp Claims at a Previous Workplace
Some people worry about what will happen if they leave a job where they have a workers’ compensation claim or if the company goes out of business. In either case, you should continue to receive benefits, but if you run into roadblocks, it may be time to involve an attorney.
An employer can fire you following a workers’ compensation claim, so long as they are not doing so because of the claim. This means they can’t fire you as retaliation or because you’re temporarily unable to work. As long as a claim was filed and approved before you left a company, benefits should continue even if you get fired, laid off, or quit.
If your employer goes out of business while you’re collecting workers’ compensation, The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) takes over benefits. For large, self-insured employers that go out of business, the Self-Insured Guaranty Association (SIGA) does the same.
Contact Us for Help with Your Worker’s Comp Case
Due to the complexity of the workplace injury system, it is always advisable to speak with an attorney prior to filing or appealing a claim or accepting a settlement. At Matthews Injury Law, our attorneys in Tampa and Sarasota will do our best to get you the compensation and justice you desire.
If you or someone that you love has been injured while they were at work, please feel free to contact us to schedule a free consultation about your workers’ comp case.
*The information on this page was written or reviewed by attorney Marc Matthews, Managing Partner at Matthews Injury Law, to ensure it’s accuracy.