After you are injured at work, it is important to know how to protect your rights and get the care and compensation you deserve. Your injury can affect not only you and your ability to earn a living, but can also present a setback for your family. Workers’ Compensation in Florida promises benefits including compensation for wages lost, medical treatment, and other financial assistance to help you and your family following your injury when you file a workers’ compensation claim according to the state’s requirements.
Millions of workers’ compensation injuries occur every year in the United States, and most of those claims are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Florida, like other states, requires most employers to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for workplace injuries and illnesses.
As a no-fault system, workers’ compensation protects employers from lawsuits and provides benefits to employees. This is designed to streamline the process, though at times, further action is necessary by the injured to get the full lost wages, as well as medical care, training/education for a new type of job, and impairment benefits for permanent limitations.
Let’s explore the most common workers’ compensation injuries in Florida as well as the prevention and compensation.
Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries in South Florida
Reporting your injury is the first step in getting the compensation you deserve, but remember any injury or illness must be reported within 30 days of realizing the condition is work-related. Not only is it important to know how to file for workers’ compensation injuries and illnesses, but also how to prevent workplace incidents so employees can work safer and smarter.
- Back and Soft-tissue Injuries – Among the most common injuries reported by employees are strains, sprains, and tears to disks, tendons, and muscles. These soft-tissue injuries may require a few days rest or may result in permanent disability. Common among the soft tissue injures are:
- Overextension results from pushing, lifting, pulling, gripping, or carrying and causes sprains or tears of ligaments, tendons, or muscles.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries (repetitive stress injuries) are tendon, ligament, nerve, and muscle injuries resulting from motions performed over and over again (typing, hammering, scanning). These often cause pains in the neck, shoulder, arm, wrist (like carpal tunnel syndrome) and vision problems.
- Work-related Car Accidents – Traffic accidents result in a number of work-related injuries and deaths annually in the United States. While workers commuting to and from work generally aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation, those who drive as part of their job (delivery, running errands on behalf of their employer, etc.) should fall under workers’ compensation coverage. In many instances of injuries in a work-related vehicle incident, you may want to pursue damage against the other driver alongside your workers’ compensation claim to help with damages to your personal vehicle.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls – Slips, trips, and falls on the job are also common, often resulting in moderate to severe injuries. Concussions, broken bones, sprained muscles, torn ligaments, head, and spinal cord injuries are often the result of slip and fall accidents while on the job. Often caused by debris, fluids, machine lubricants, equipment, or poorly maintained worksites, slip and fall incidents occur frequently in jobs that require standing, walking, and physical labor. Falls from heights, though not as common, are also in this category, and includes falls down stairways, falls from roofs, equipment, lifts, scaffolding, and ladders.
- Machinery Accidents/Injuries from Falling Objects – Malfunctioning machinery can result in eye injuries from flying particles/shards, injuries requiring amputation, or electrical, chemical, or thermal burns. Other work related injuries often come from objects falling from inventory and product shelving, ladders, forklifts, pallets, trucks, etc. resulting in head, neck, face, and foot injuries.
- Violence in the Workplace – With a rise in violent crimes across the country, workplace violence is becoming more common. While employers work to provide a safe work environment, violent crimes – armed robberies, workplace attacks, and random violence – can happen anywhere, even in the workplace.
Workplace Safety Tips
Proper planning and training is the greatest defense against work-related injuries. Employers should always strive to provide a safe working environment which begins with a careful selection of employees who can meet the demands of the position and follows with company-specific checklists, instructions, formal training, and continuing education as needed to prevent on the job injuries. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also requires employers to follow national safety guidelines.
If You’ve Been Injured on the Job
The first step following an injury at work is seeking medical assistance. Follow-up with medical professionals as needed after your injury. Report your injury and file your workers’ compensation claim as quickly as possible ensuring you meet the stated deadlines for reporting.
If you ever feel your claim is not being handled appropriately or you aren’t getting the compensation you deserve, call on the expert team at Benn, Haro, and Isaacs, PLLC. With offices throughout South Florida, a free consultation and personalized representation are available when you need it in regard to your workers’ compensation claim.