Workers' compensation is designed to provide a low-conflict means for an employee who is injured on the job to recover his or her losses. In part, this is intended to protect the employee-employer relationship. Because the injured employee is not required to establish that the employer was at fault, or was negligent in causing his injury, there is no need for the worker and his boss or co-workers to blame one another and point fingers.
Workers' compensation also protects employees injured at work under circumstances not caused by someone else's negligence. With very limited exceptions, all Florida employers are legally required to purchase and maintain workers' compensation insurance.
Proving a Florida Workers' Compensation Claim
Since proving fault is not necessary, proving a workers' compensation claim typically comes down to two issues: whether the injury is properly classified as having occurred in the course of employment, and the appropriate amount of compensation.
Rights and Responsibilities of Injured Workers in Florida
Information about your workers' compensation rights should be posted in your place of employment. The key things an injured worker needs to know right away are that:
• The employee is obligated to notify the employer of the injury right away
• Except in an emergency situation, the employee should consult the employer before seeking medical attention, as he may be required to see a particular doctor
• The employee may be required to contact the insurance company
The employer must:
• Contact the insurance company right away
• Provide restricted duties if the doctor orders and such work is available
• Keep the adjuster advised of the availability or lack of restricted work and any change in income
• Prominently post workers' compensation information as required by law
Common Workplace Injuries
Certain industries experience more accidents and more serious injuries than others. For example, accidents are relatively commonplace in the construction industry, and those injuries can be quite serious. As such, employers within the construction industry are required to carry workers' compensation insurance even if they have only a single employee. In other industries, a company may not be required to purchase workers' compensation coverage if it employs only a few people.
Some of the most common workplace accidents and injuries in Florida (and across the country) include:
• Falls from a height, such as a ladder or platform
• Slips and trips, on wet floors, objects on the floor, or defects
• Repetitive motion injuries
• Vehicle accidents
• Entangling clothing, fingers or jewelry in machinery
• Overexertion, such as lifting objects that are too heavy
Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim in Florida
It is your employer's responsibility, after proper notification, to commence the workers' compensation process. The employer contacts the insurance company and, within a few days, you should receive a packet with a brochure explaining your rights, as well as forms to complete and other information.
Although the workers' compensation process is designed to automatically cover those injured on the job, and the compensation is to a large degree dictated by law, the actual process of receiving fair compensation is not always so straightforward. Thoroughly understanding your rights and being represented by an experienced Tampa workers' compensation attorney can make a significant difference in your case, from the amount of compensation you may receive to how quickly your case moves forward.
If you’ve been injured at work, don’t wait until you run into trouble. Call us at 1-800-253-5523, or fill out the contact form at www.cataniaandcatania.com to schedule a free consultation.