Dangers exist in nearly every Florida workplace, including in office buildings, construction sites, retail establishments and other employment sites. These hazards can pose a serious risk to your health and safety and may lead to severe injuries like head and neck damage, injuries to your back and hips, broken bones and even death. Exposure to toxic substances on the jobsite presents an additional risk that can lead to illnesses, burns, or other harm.
You have the legal right to work in a reasonably safe environment. This right means your employer should inform you about dangers that exist at your workplace, provide you with equipment to protect yourself, and instruct you on how to remain safe.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Florida has enacted a workers’ compensation program. This program ensures that you have access to compensation for your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages if you are hurt or become ill while at work. To access these benefits, the following steps must be completed:
- First, you notify your employer that you have been hurt or contracted a work-related illness within 30 days of being hurt or becoming ill.
- Second, you obtain medical treatment from a medical provider who is approved by your employer and your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier, if possible
- Next, your employer reports the injury to its insurance carrier within seven days of you notifying your employer. The carrier will then send you a packet of information.
- Last, after completing and submitting the packet, your claim should be approved and you should begin receiving benefits within a few weeks.
Workers’ compensation benefits are available for most workplace injuries, even those caused by your own carelessness. However, because these benefits exist you generally are not able to sue your employer directly for a workplace accident.
Why You Need a Workplace Injury Lawyer for Workers’ Compensation Claims
Your workers’ compensation claim may experience delays or be denied for one of several reasons. Your claim may not be approved in a timely manner if your employer fails to report your accident to its insurer. In a like manner, if the insurer believes your accident is not work-related, your claim may be denied.
A workplace injury attorney can assist you in these and other similar situations. Retaining knowledgeable legal counsel quickly after a workplace injury can help smooth out any problems that could otherwise derail your claim.
When Others Cause an Accident at Work
If someone other than your employer or a fellow employee caused your injuries, you may have the right to file a lawsuit for compensation directly against that person or their employer. Such a lawsuit would require you to prove that the other party acted negligently in causing your injuries. To do this, evidence and witnesses would need to show a court that:
- The responsible party had a duty to act carefully under the circumstances
- That party did not do so but instead acted negligently
- The party’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries or illness
- You suffered some compensable harm from your injuries
Like a workers’ compensation claim, a lawsuit can allow you to recover compensation for medical bills and lost wages. But a lawsuit could also provide you with damages for emotional and mental distress you experienced as well as punitive damages, if the responsible party’s behavior was especially appalling.
An experienced Florida workplace injury lawyer can review the facts of your case with you and help you decide what compensation to seek and from whom.
Call us and schedule your free consultation to learn more.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
Taking prompt and decisive action after you are hurt or become ill on the job is an essential step to protecting your legal rights. Once you suspect you have been hurt or are sick because of a workplace accident, you should:
Evaluate Your Injuries or Illness
First, take note of how severe your injuries or illness appear to be. A blow to head, profuse bleeding, or loss of consciousness can indicate a potentially life-threatening situation. If you are experiencing these symptoms, or if you believe you may have been severely affected by an accident, go to the nearest emergency room for help or call 911.
Notify Your Employer of Your Accident
As soon as you can, but within 30 days of the incident, you need to notify your employer about the accident. Preferably, you should make your notification in writing so there is a document trail showing you fulfilled this important duty. Your employer will then notify its workers’ compensation insurer, who will begin processing your claim.
Review the Accident Report
If you pursue workers’ compensation benefits, you will receive a copy of the accident report prepared by the insurer. Make sure the report accurately describes the accident as you remember it. You should also show this report to your Florida workplace accident lawyer, so they can advise you of what additional legal rights you have and how to exercise them.
Follow Through with Treatment
It is crucial you follow your doctors’ orders, both for your physical well-being and to safeguard your legal rights. Be sure that you abide by any work restrictions your doctor imposes on you and take any prescribed medications only as directed.
Reach Out to The Law Office of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.
Knowing what to do after a workplace injury can be confusing and involve several different sets of laws. Miami attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo can help you make sense of your situation and give you insightful, helpful advice about what to do. The Law Office of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers prospective workplace injury clients a free, no-obligation consultation and we do not charge any attorney fees unless we help you recover compensation.
You can reach Miami Personal Injury Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].