Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Tampa, Florida
When you are injured on the job, life can get difficult pretty quickly. At Farah & Farah, we have decades of experience working to make sure you get what you deserve. Worker’s compensation laws in Florida are strict and multifaceted. We welcome all cases, including the challenging ones that involve serious injuries. We know how to deal with insurance companies to obtain the best settlement packages for you. If you have been injured due to a workplace related incident in Tampa, Florida, don’t let the bills add up while you try to recover, contact our office as soon as possible. We handle the paperwork, legal work, and negotiations with the insurance company and your employer’s lawyer if they have one. We rush to ensure speedy financial recovery so that you can work on your health without the stress of finances holding you back.
Workers’ Compensation: What it is, Who must have it, & How it Works
In Florida, workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system designed to financially help workers who have been injured on the job or who have become sick with a work-related illness. Workers’ compensation was developed with the original intention to reduce a number of lawsuits filed against employers by employees when they are injured on the job or become sick through no fault of their own but for the fault, directly or indirectly, of the employer or other related party. Through the workers’ comp system in Florida, fault is supposed to be a non-issue and injured or sick employees receive benefits regardless of fault or negligence. Because of this no-fault system, personal injury claims or lawsuits brought on by employees against their employers are usually prohibited.
All most all employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Specifically, if you are a construction company or an employer with four or more employees, you are required in the State of Florida to have and offer workers’ compensation.
As soon as you are injured on the job or come down with an illness that is job-related, you should advise your employer immediately. The process can be simplified into three steps:
Step 1. Upon the date of the injury or time, you became aware of your illness, you have 30 days to complete a workers’ comp form and submit it to your employer. You should do so immediately and not wait to the eleventh hour.
Step 2. Within seven days, your employer should report the incident to the insurance company.
Step 3. Within three days, you should receive an informational brochure from the insurance company.
It can take upwards of 40 days to actually start the workers’ compensation process. Thus, it is imperative to report your accident as soon as it happens or your illness as soon as it becomes known. The more you delay, the likelier something could happen to disrupt your compensation.
Workers’ Compensation: What it Provides & What it Doesn’t
It is important to know what you can benefit under Workers’ Compensation. The benefits you receive will largely be based on the severity of your injury and illness.
Workers’ comp benefits often include the following:
- Medical Expenses. This benefit includes doctor appointments, medications, hospital stays, treatment and rehabilitative care.
- Temporary Disability Benefits. This benefit includes compensation for lost wages while temporarily off from work.
- Permanent Disability Benefits. This benefit includes compensation for lost wages and possibly other daily costs of living expenses if you are unable to return to work.
- Death Benefits. This benefit covers lost wages and other possible expenses that the deceased person would have collected but for his/her death, and it is given to the deceased person’s family members.
From a worker’s perspective, these benefits are important so that he or she can receive the full medical attention and care they need. It also helps ensure that their families do not suffer from a significant reduction in income. Sometimes, though workers’ compensation is not enough or does not reflect the amount of compensation truly owed to you for the type of injury you received.
Workers’ comp does not include the following:
- Pain and Suffering. If you suffer any kind of depression or pain associated with your injury, workers’ comp does not compensate you for it.
- Loss of Enjoyment. If your quality of life is reduced and you can no longer enjoy certain activities anymore, workers’ comp does not compensate you for this loss.
- Punitive Damages. You cannot receive any kind of compensation that would serve to “punish” the employer for wrong-doing. Often, when injuries are particularly egregious or if the party intended to cause harm, punitive damages are awarded, but not in instances of workers’ comp.
In addition to the above benefits that a worker does not receive through a workers’ comp program, employers and their insurance companies may challenge the extent of your injury and the total sum of your treatment and losses so that they can limit liability and the amount of money owed to you. If you have been injured at work due to the fault of another person or entity, regardless if negligent or intentional, you should contact Farah & Farah to discuss your case and the options available to you. We will make sure your employer provides the right workers’ compensation given the nature of your injury or illness. You may also be eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, which would maximize the compensation you recover. In a personal injury claim, the fault is a required element, but you may also demand compensation for benefits not offered under workers’ compensation.
The Difference Between Workers’ Comp & Personal Injury Claim
There are several differences between a workers’ comp claim and a personal injury claim, and these refer to the eligible benefits, to whom to make the claim, and what elements are required to prove the claim.
|Workers’ Comp||Personal Injury Claim|
Loss of wages,
Loss of wages,
Pain and suffering,
Loss of enjoyment,
Loss of consortium,
|Where to Make Claim?||Employer||Insurance (Claim), or
Civil Court (Lawsuit)
|Liability?||No-fault||Fault through negligence, willfulness, recklessness, or carelessness|
You should know, however, if you want to file a personal injury claim, you may not be able to accept workers’ comp. The laws wither regard to it are strict, and you should consult a workers comp lawyer first before making such a decision.
Is there a real need for workers’ compensation in Florida?
The plain and simple answer: yes! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most recent statistics available from 2014 indicate that there was a total of 228 deaths due to work-related accidents, and of those deaths, 213 were in private industry, primarily goods producing, construction, and service industries. Causes of fatal occupational injuries in Florida included the following:
|Event or Exposure||Number of Fatal Injuries|
|Violence, other by persons or animals||39|
|Fires & Explosions||0|
|Falls, Slips, Trips||50|
|Exposure to harmful substances||38|
|Contact with objects and equipment||15|
Work-related personal injuries that did not involve death were far more numerous. The most recent statistics from 2010 of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in Florida amounted to 222,600 cases, and approximately half of those cases required time away from work, job transfer, or restrictions. As one can see, workplace injuries are genuine and can leave its victims with significant financial and medical issues, including an inability to continue earning a living through his or her chosen work. In Florida, if you have been injured on the job or develop a work-related illness, you have rights and benefits.
Examples of Injuries that Result in Injuries
Above are listed the very general types of events or exposure that can lead to fatalities and/or personal injuries. Below are details of some of these most common events that can lead to injuries and/or death while on the job.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents. As one can see in the above-chart, transportation-incidents result in the highest number of fatalities on the job. There are numerous jobs that require workers to drive or ride in a motor vehicle as part of their duties or to carry out their duties. These employees include, for example, construction workers, Uber or Lyft drivers, utility workers, delivery drivers, police officers, among many other types of jobs and positions. Sometimes accidents happen, and they can either be the fault of the employee or the fault of another. Regardless of fault, the employee can apply for workers’ compensation if injured. If the fault of the other driver(s), the employee may also be able to file a claim against that party, depending on the circumstances and nature of the injuries.
- Slip and Fall Accidents. These kinds of accidents can happen to any employee anywhere. Injuries range from fleeting embarrassment to concussions, or worse. The extent of the injury is highly dependent on the nature of the slip and fall. More damaging injuries result when a person falls from a height. Many positions require a worker to climb ladders, work on roofs, operate cranes, and the like. Falls from these kinds of situations have a probability of being much more dangerous than a slip and fall kind of accident. Most of the fatalities lumped under the Falls, Slips, Trips category in the above-chart occur when a worker falls from a height.
- Violent Assaults. Assaults at the workplace are much more common than what you would think, and they can be committed by co-workers, superiors or persons wrongfully at the workplace. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are approximately 2 million victims of violent assaults at the workplace each year throughout the United States. In Florida, as one can see from the above-chart, violent assaults are the third leading cause of workplace fatalities.
- Construction Site Accidents. Not listed in the above-chart, accidents that occur at constructions sites can fall within any of the categories listed in the chart. Construction sites are uniquely dangerous for workers and post multiple hazards. The four most common accidents that occur on construction sites are
- caught between materials, and
- struck by an object or machine.
- Physical Labor Accidents. Like construction sites, any work that requires physical labor poses unique conditions that create a risk of injury and/or death. These types of injuries, too, may not necessarily result from an accident, but rather occur over time from performing the laborious work over a period of time. This labor includes pushing or pulling objects, lifting heavy or awkward items, or any other type of physical labor.
Common Injuries & Illnesses that Qualify for Workers’ Compensation
The above-listed workplace accidents can result in mild to serious injuries. Below are some of the more common injuries that form the basis of the bulk of workers’ compensation claims:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). Workers can suffer TBIs by direct trauma to or a jolt of their heads. Prompt medical attention is required regardless if the TBI results in a mild concussion or permanent brain damage.
- Spinal cord injury (SCI). Injuries to the spine can be temporary or permanent. Surgeries may be required. Some SCI sufferers may never walk again.
- Neck and back injuries. Neck and back injuries are the most common type of injury. They can range from an inconvenience to significantly limited mobility.
- Rotator cuff and shoulder injuries. Shoulder and rotator cuff tears are less common than neck and back injuries, but result in a lot of pain and limited mobility. Surgery is often required, and recovered can take time.
- Broken bones and soft tissue injuries. Though common and less problematic than other injuries, broken bones and sprains may still keep employees at home. Full recovery is usually expected, however.
- Mesothelioma. This is a type of serious cancer that is almost always linked to exposure to asbestos. The disease affects the lungs and sometimes the abdominal or cardiac cavities. Frequently this type of disease is not uncovered until it is in the later stages, which means prognosis is usually poor.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. This injury is related to repeating the same motion over and over again. It is common with manufacturing jobs. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain or numbness in the hand, arm, or wrist area. Physical therapy can help reduce the pain and weakness.
- Hearing loss. Hearing loss is another common work-related medical condition, especially for those persons who work in construction, landscaping, manufacturing, aviation, logging, and among others, carpentry.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney & You
You may think that a workers comp lawyer is not needed to handle your workers’ compensation claim since all you need to do is complete a form and submit it to your boss, right? That would be an unfortunate impression. While many claims can be handled without the legal counsel and guidance of a workers’ comp lawyer, there are too may issues that could arise if you do not pay attention and follow-up as required. Insurance companies are concerned only about their bottom line and not you. Employers can sometimes be the same. You need to look out for you while also trying to recover from your injury or illness. A workers comp lawyer can help you do just that. Also, the attorney will be able to advise you if a personal injury claim would work better in your particular circumstances.
You can expect to receive the following from a workers’ comp and/or personal injury attorney from Farah & Farah:
- Guidance through each and every step of the process so that you do not have to worry about confusing or complicated instructions or deadlines;
- Provide quality answers to any and all of your questions, no matter how big or small;
- Uphold your rights to benefits if the employer tries to challenge a claim made by you;
- Compute and confirm receipt of timely and proper amount of benefits according to your income and the nature of your injuries;
- Represent you in any and all hearings, mediations, depositions, or trials that may occur due to a complex and challenged workers’ compensation claim;
- Arrange medical providers;
- Draft letters and complete proper and necessary forms and other paperwork;
- Evaluate and determine if you should accept a workers’ comp settlement offer in lieu of ongoing benefits;
- Negotiate with the insurance adjuster for a better settlement if the one offered is inadequate; and, above all else,
- Advise on the analysis of your case if you should file a workers’ comp claim versus a personal injury claim.
Remember: You forfeit your right to a workers’ comp claim if you file a lawsuit. The decision to do either will depend greatly on your circumstances and the compensation you deserve. It will also depend greatly if you choose to retain a qualified and experienced workers comp lawyer.
Contact the Farah & Farah Tampa Workers Comp Lawyer Today
If you work and during the course of your work you suffered an injury, developed an injury or developed a disease, you are going to be in need of support. Your family and friends are there to support you emotionally. Doctors are there to support you physically. Therapists are there to support you mentally. And we are here to support you legally to ensure you recover the financial support your deserve. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients, and will help you recover what is rightfully yours, too.