Frequently Asked Questions
At Benn, Haro & Isaacs, our mission is to supply you with the answers you need to the tough questions you might be facing. The following are a few frequently asked questions* that may point you in the right direction. Our team is available to answer any questions you may have at 954-324-COMP (2667).
What should a Workers’ Compensation lawyer do?
Your lawyer should assist you in the filing of your Petition(s) for Benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims, and ensure that you receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act.
How soon should I report the accident?
The incident should be reported to your employer as soon as possible. If you have been injured on the job, you will need to report this within 30 days of the incident, or you may lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
How do I file a workers' compensation claim?
This is not a DIY (do it yourself) endeavor. You need a savvy workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Our legal team is here to help you file the claim and ultimately obtain the benefits you are owed. However, filing a claim also involves reporting the injury to your employer. Report the injury within 30 days of the occurrence and you will have done your part to prevent your workers’ compensation claim from being barred. The employer then files a first report of the injury with the insurance provider. Florida law mandates injured workers to make a “good faith effort” to resolve any disputes relating to their qualifications for benefit checks.
Our legal team is here to help you fill out the Petition that sets the stage for workers’ compensation benefits. This document includes the following:
- Your contact information
- Your employer’s contact information
- The workers’ compensation insurance provider
- Job responsibility summary
- The activity that caused the injury
Once the Petition is complete, it must be filed and served. Mediation, possibly followed by an in-court hearing are next.
How do you decide whether you will take my case?
At Benn, Haro & Isaacs, we will review your workers’ comp or wrongful termination case at no cost. If we believe we can be of service to you, we will meet with you and review the merits of your case. However, until a contract is signed, no attorney-client relationship will be established.
How do I know if I'm eligible for workers' compensation benefits?
Eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits hinges on your role meeting specific requirements. You must be considered an official employee as opposed to an independent contractor, consultant or freelancer for eligibility to apply. The injury must be causally related to your work duties. However, proving an injury is the result of one’s work-related activities or responsibilities is not always clear-cut.
As an example, if you drop a pen and strain your back while leaning over to pick it up off the floor, your employer might contest your workers’ compensation claim. Furthermore, your employer might argue your injury is the result of an activity unrelated to work. Some employers argue the injury existed prior to the workplace activity that supposedly aggravated the injury rather than caused it. This is precisely why you need an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Contact the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at Ben, Haro, & Isaacs, PLLC.
Should I talk to a lawyer before I talk to my employer about workers' compensation benefits?
Yes. Your attorney will provide invaluable legal advice. Follow this professional’s instruction and you will maximize your chances of obtaining the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve. Furthermore, your attorney will help guard against potential retaliation from your employer. Your attorney will explain your rights in a simple manner, ultimately helping you understand protections as detailed in accordance with Florida employment law. Your attorney will even go as far as communicating with your employer on your behalf.
What's the first thing I should do if I get injured at work?
The first course of action is reporting the injury to your employer in a formal manner. Ideally, you will fill out an accident/injury form with your human resources department rather than simply verbally notifying them of the unfortunate incident. Report the injury to a person in a position of authority at the business and request they complete the notice of injury as quickly as possible. If the notice of injury is delayed, the claim will not transition to the employer’s insurance provider in a timely manner.
The next step is to obtain medical treatment for your injury. This treatment should be fully documented in a detailed manner with a formal medical report. Such documentation legitimizes the injury, making it that much more difficult for your employer to challenge your claim.
What do I do if my workers' compensation claim is denied?
If you receive a denial letter, your workers’ compensation claim is not completely closed. Our attorneys are here to help you challenge and appeal this denial. Reach out to us as soon as possible to get the ball rolling on your appeal. This process has the potential to prove complicated and time-consuming so do not delay.
Pay particularly close attention to the denial letter’s deadline to file the appeal. Such deadlines tend to be sooner than expected so you should schedule an appointment with our law firm as quickly as possible in order to meet the timetable for appeal.
Can my Workers’ Compensation case be settled for cash?
Yes, the law allows for the voluntary settlement of workers’ compensation benefits through the payment of a lump-sum of cash if the parties mutually agree to do so, and all statutory requirements to do so are met.
How do my legal fees and expenses get paid?
We work on a contingency basis. As such, there are no fees or expenses unless we either win or settle your case.
Can my employer fire me for applying for workers’ compensation?
In Florida, the law specifically states that no employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any employee by reason of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law.
How do I know whether I have a workers’ compensation claim?
Consult with an attorney who concentrates their practice in workers’ compensation law. Benn, Haro & Isaacs, PLLC represent clients throughout Florida and offers free consultations.
If I get in a car accident during work, is my company liable?
In some situations, your employer will have vicarious liability when you are driving during work hours. Your employer might prove fully or completely liable depending on the unique circumstances of your case. This liability has the potential to extend to the following, regardless of your level of negligence:
- Your injury
- Damage to your vehicle
- Damage to other people
- Damage to others’ property
If you were on-the-clock, performing work-related duties when the accident occurred, there is a good chance your employer will be found liable. However, driving must have been a component of the work-related activity.
The employer must have asked or expected you to be driving to fulfill the work-related duty in question. Your employer might prove liable for injuries and other damages even if the accident was solely your fault.
How long do workers' compensation benefits last?
The duration of workers’ compensation benefits depends on the severity of your injury as well as your rate of recovery. In general, workers’ compensation benefits typically apply until you reach maximum medical improvement or MMI for short. Injuries are classified in four distinct groups.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) means you are temporarily completely incapable of working.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) means you are capable of working yet not at 100% capacity for the time being.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) means you are completely and permanently incapable of working.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) means a percentage of your capacity to earn a wage is permanently lost.
Workers’ compensation benefits are provided on a weekly basis. The number of weeks you qualify for hinges on your unique classification as detailed above. However, those who are permanently disabled will receive indemnity benefits indefinitely.
Is a workers' compensation claim the same as filing a lawsuit?
No. Workers’ compensation claims are distinct from lawsuits. The purpose of establishing the workers’ compensation system was to prevent injured workers from suing their employers, rendering them bankrupt and damaging our economy as a whole. Though the use of a workers’ compensation system limits worker payments to a certain degree, it serves the interest of the greater good. So don’t be discouraged by the fact that a lawsuit against your employer could have possibly resulted in more money than a workers’ compensation claim.
As long as your injury is legitimate and you have a savvy attorney on your side, you will be provided with the benefits you are owed in accordance with the law. However, if the injury resulting from work-related duties is in any way caused by a third-party, it is possible to file a lawsuit against that negligent party.
What qualifies as a work-related injury?
The injury must be causally related to workplace duties or responsibilities in order for it to qualify as an injury covered by the workers’ compensation system. This means you must have either been at work, on-the-clock, or performing an activity required of your job in order for the injury to prove compensable through Florida’s workers’ compensation system.
Even if you are driving a vehicle or riding in a vehicle for a work-related duty, the resulting injury/damage might be covered by workers’ compensation. For more information about what qualifies as a work-related injury, contact Benn, Haro, & Isaacs PLLC.
What's the difference between personal injury claims and workers' compensation claims?
If another party such as another driver caused the accident and subsequent injury, you might have the right to file a personal injury claim against that party. The compensation resulting from such a claim will help cover the cost of related medical bills and additional losses resulting from the injury. It might be necessary to file a third-party insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
In other cases, it is prudent to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is in contrast to workers’ compensation claims in which covered employees file a claim in accordance with Florida law. This process typically begins with the employer filing the appropriate paperwork and the employee beginning the claim with the workers’ compensation agency.
In contrast, personal injury lawsuits are filed in civil court and served to the defendant. The potential damages to be recovered are not the same in personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims. If you have any questions about workers’ compensation claims, contact our experienced team today!
*The foregoing observations are made available for educational and informational purposes only, are not guaranteed to be up-to-date and are not legal advice. Receipt of this information does not constitute a lawyer-client relationship, and no one should act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.