Florida Keys Workers’ Compensation: Frequently Asked Questions
In the Florida Keys, if you are injured on the job you can recover your lost wages and medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault. Unfortunately, employees injured on the job oftentimes receive misleading (or outright false) advice regarding their legal rights following a traumatic event.
As a result, Florida Keys Injury created this FAQ: cheat sheet of the more common workers’ compensation (“workers’ comp”) questions.
Q: I was injured on the job in the Keys? What should I do?
A: Alert your employer as soon as possible. Do not delay as it could affect your claim/benefits. Seek medical treatment for your injuries. Your employers’ insurance company will provide the name of a doctor for you to see. If you have any questions, please call us for a free consultation.
Q: I like my job and my employer. Do I have to sue my employer?
A: Typically not. If your employer has four or more employees, they are required to maintain workers’ compensation coverage. This coverage pays your lost wages and medical expenses. In exchange for receiving this compensation – regardless of who is at fault – employers avoid litigation (i.e. you don’t sue your employer). If your employer improperly failed to purchase workers’ compensation coverage, they can be sued.
Q: What medical benefits does workers’ compensation provide?
A: All reasonable and necessary medical treatment (and reasonable out-of-pocket costs) stemming from your injuries.
Q: Can I recover my lost wages?
A: Yes. Generally, you will receive 2/3 of your average weekly salary of your missed time. A workers’ compensation doctor will typically advise when you are permitted to go back to work.
Q: Will I be compensated for my pain and suffering by workers’ compensation?
A: Sadly, no. Workers’ compensation does not provide benefits for pain and suffering. If you are injured by a THIRD PARTY (i.e. another driver rear-ended you while in your company vehicle), you can potentially seek damages – including pain and suffering – from the third party driver.
Q: I was injured by a third party (i.e. rear ended while in a company vehicle). Am I required to go through worker’s comp?
A: No. You can choose to seek damages from the third party AND/OR file a workers’ comp claim. This determination is oftentimes made on whether you want to choose your own doctor(s). Unlike a third party claim, you cannot seek damages from pain and suffering through workers’ compensation. Call us for a free consultation to discuss the pros/cons of going through workers’ comp.
Q: My employers told me I could be fired if I file a claim. Is that true?
A: No! Florida’s laws protect workers from potential retaliation by their employers from filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Q: Can I choose my own doctor if I file a workers’ compensation claim?
A: Usually not. This is one of the rights you give up by going through workers’ compensation. Your employer will choose a doctor for you. The doctor is typically “on the side” of the insurance company and will work to save them money. Under workers’ compensation law, you are entitled to a one-time change of doctor. Call us with any questions. The consultation is free.
Q: Should I hire a worker’s comp attorney or can I do this on my own?
A: Typically, yes. Workers compensation can be confusing. The insurance adjuster will look for reasons to deny your claim or reduce your entitled compensation. Some reasons include, failure to report your injury/claim in a timely manner, arguing that you are an independent contractor (as opposed to an employee), arguing that you were injured before or after work, disputing that you were injured on the job, arguing that your injuries are pre-existing condition, contesting the severity of your injuries and/or contesting that you are disabled as a result of your injuries. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will advocate on your behalf to protect your rights and may elect for a change in doctor if you do not feel your (assigned) doctor is advocating in your best interest.
Q: How are workers’ compensation attorneys compensated?
A: In Florida, workers’ compensation attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis. We get a % of the amount you receive as a settlement or an award from a workers’ compensation judge. You do not pay any fees, if we don’t win any benefits. The attorney carries all the risk.
Please call our Florida Keys workers’ compensation (“worker’s comp”) attorneys with any questions about your rights. The consultation is free.