Find Top Florida Labor Law Accident Lawyers
Having a strong and functional workforce in Florida is essential to the overall success of the state and its residents. When workers are injured, the injured worker or workers may not be able to return to work quickly, within a few days of the accident. Without the ability to work, individuals lose out on income and therefore may be unable to pay bills and purchase necessary household items. The financial consequences of a workplace injury can be extensive, and Florida workers often do not know where to turn for help.
At Parker Waichman LLP, our dedicated Florida labor law and workers’ compensation attorneys help injured workers fight to receive compensation for their injuries and suffering. Often, workers are unaware of their rights and wait too long to find out that they are eligible to receive compensation either by filing a workers’ compensation claim or by pursuing a personal injury claim. That’s why our attorneys offer free consultations to help injured Florida workers understand their rights under Florida law. Call 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER today to speak with one of our Florida personal injury, labor law, and workers’ compensation attorneys with no obligation.
Your Rights Under Florida Labor Law: Accidents, Injuries, and Workers’ Compensation
Because Florida sees so many tourists each year, a significant portion of Florida’s labor force consists of those who cater to the needs and demands of our tourists and those visiting family. But injured workers can slow down Florida’s economy if they are unable to receive necessary compensation to help them recover and return to work. Florida workers’ compensation laws are intended to help these injured workers get back to work after receiving necessary medical treatment and compensation for lost wages.
Unfortunately, many injured workers are not aware of what rights they have and do not act quickly enough to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, many employers are not aware of what their obligations are under Florida law, and they often do not communicate information to workers about workers’ compensation benefits and when such benefits are available. But the fact of that matter is that if you’re an employee of a Florida business and you’re hurt on the job, you likely have a right to workers’ comp benefits.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim Under Florida Law
To obtain workers’ compensation benefits after sustaining a workplace injury or illness, the injured or ill employee must notify their employer of the incident within 30 days. The employee must complete a “First Notice of Injury” form to get the claim started. The employer is then obligated to submit the incident information to its workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Employers have workers’ compensation insurance specifically for situations when their workers are injured or become ill on the job. It’s important to keep in mind that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means that an injured or ill worker does not need to prove that someone else was at fault for causing the accident that resulted in an injury or illness to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is similar to filing a car insurance claim or homeowners’ insurance claim. In each case, the person filing a claim may have to interact with the insurance company and may be directed to seek specific medical attention or a medical evaluation to determine the extent of their workplace injury or illness and whether the injury or illness qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits. While some workers may try to take advantage of the system and claim they have suffered an injury or illness that they did not actually sustain while on the job, the vast majority of injured and ill workers file legitimate workers’ compensation claims.
When filing a workers’ compensation claim, it’s crucial to provide as many details as possible about what went wrong. A person who has sustained an injury may be directed to undergo what is called an independent medical examination, or “IME.” The purpose of this evaluation is to determine in what way a workplace incident or accident caused a person’s injuries or illness.
While Florida’s workers’ compensation system is intended to help injured and ill workers, there are situations where workers are taken advantage of and they may not receive the medical treatment and compensation they deserve. Ordinarily, if a worker receives medical treatment and their injuries are documented in medical records, this worker should be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re unjustly denied these benefits, a Florida labor law and workers’ compensation attorney can help you appeal this decision and get the compensation you’re entitled to.
Filing a Lawsuit for Workplace Injuries in Florida
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is not the only way to seek compensation for injuries or illnesses sustained on the job. Depending on the nature of the workplace accident or incident, a workers’ compensation claim may be denied if a particular employee was negligent in causing a coworker’s injuries. Additionally, if an independent contractor is injured or becomes ill on the job, they will likely not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. But an injured worker, whether classified as an employee or an independent contractor, may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in court if they can demonstrate that someone else was at fault for causing their injuries or illness.
Under Florida labor law, accident lawsuits and settlements are still an option for an injured or ill worker who receives workers’ compensation benefits. However, you’ll need to work with a qualified attorney, as filing a personal injury lawsuit for workplace injuries or illnesses can be trickier than an ordinary personal injury lawsuit. With a workplace accident or illness, there may be multiple parties involved in a lawsuit, including the injured or ill worker, coworkers, the employer, or the building owner (if different than the employer). The number and types of parties involved in a personal injury lawsuit involving a workplace injury or illness will depend on the severity of the injuries and what caused the accident. A typical personal injury lawsuit usually involves only the injured person and the one person or entity believed to be at fault.
Types of Injuries Sustained in Florida Workplace Accidents
The types of injuries that tend to happen in workplace accidents don’t differ much from injuries sustained in any other type of accident, whether it be an auto accident, a sports-related accident or a construction site accident. Common injuries sustained in workplace accidents include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries, which may result in paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), such as concussions
- Cuts, gashes, and open wounds that may require stitches or surgery
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Illnesses that result in permanent damage and potentially death, such as cancer caused by exposure to asbestos
Workplace illnesses can be just as devastating as workplace injuries. For example, cancer treatment can cost as much as, or substantially more than, the treatment of permanent spinal cord injuries that may require lifelong care. Exposure to toxic chemicals is something that many workers cannot avoid, and these workers should be entitled to some form of compensation to address the permanent damage to their health that can result.
Time Limits on How Much Time That You Must File a Claim in Florida
When you’ve been harmed on the job, it’s crucial to understand that there’s a time limit for seeking compensation, whether you’re filing a workers’ comp claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
An injured or ill worker has 30 days from the date of an accident or incident to notify their employer that they intend to file a workers’ compensation claim. Once this deadline passes, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for a worker to obtain compensation under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws.
If a worker has suffered an injury or illness on the job and wishes to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, they have four years from the date of the accident or incident to file a claim against the alleged negligent party or parties. However, because not all injuries or illnesses are obviously linked to a particular accident or incident, it could take a while for a person to realize that their injuries or illness were caused in the workplace. For this reason, Florida has what is called a “discovery rule,” which allows injured or ill individuals to file a personal injury lawsuit within four years after they have discovered that their injuries are related to a workplace accident or incident.
For example, if a person is diagnosed with cancer two or three years after they were initially exposed to asbestos, they have four years from the date of the diagnosis of cancer to file a lawsuit. Similarly, if a worker begins to experience severe back pain three months after a workplace accident, they have four years from the date the symptoms of the back injuries emerged to file a personal injury claim.
When a worker dies because of injuries or illnesses stained while on the job, the administrator of the deceased worker’s estate has two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. This statute of limitations does not have a discovery rule, so no lawsuit can be filed longer than two years after the date of death.
Because of all of these different deadlines, it’s critically important to consult an experienced Florida personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney as soon as you discover that your injuries or illness are related to a workplace incident. Once the statute of limitations has run out, you may be barred from ever receiving compensation for your losses.
The Process of Pursing Labor Law and Workplace Accident Cases
All personal injury, accident, and wrongful death lawsuits have the potential to last a year or more, depending on the complexity of the case and the court calendar. But while the process can be slow, the result is well worth it if a person can receive compensation for suffering debilitating injuries. The process of pursing a legal claim includes these steps:
- Initial consultation
- Decision on whether a potential client has a viable workers’ compensation or personal injury claim
- Filing a lawsuit
- The “discovery” phase, which involves exchanging information in the form of medical records, witness statements/depositions, accident or incident reports, and expert reports and testimony
- Settlement negotiations, if a settlement is offered
- The trial, if no settlement is reached
- Either a jury verdict or a settlement agreement
- Appeal of the verdict, if applicable
It’s not uncommon for cases to settle in the middle of trial. This often happens when there is substantial evidence demonstrating a defendant’s negligence and how such negligence caused the plaintiff’s workplace injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Labor Law and Workplace Accidents
How do I file a workers compensation claim in Florida?
If you’re injured while working in Florida you could file a workers compensation claim through the workers compensation carrier, however I strongly suggest that you consult with a law firm that’s experienced in workers compensation cases before you file. You need to be very precise in what you state on your claim for workers compensation benefits in Florida and you don’t want to say anything that’s going to forego any rights that you may have against others other than your employer who might be liable for your injuries.
There may be other entities or individuals that caused your accident other than your employer that may be liable and you have to watch what you say in those forms. You don’t want to do anything that is going to limit your recovery or preclude your recovery against those other individuals or entities.
Could I sue my employer for a work-related injury under Florida law?
Under Florida law if your employer has workers compensation insurance coverage you cannot sue your employer for an injury on the job unless you qualify for one of the exceptions. An example of an exception would be an intentional act, your employer intentionally hurt you or physically assaulted you. If they are messing around and give you a chair to sit on that they knew was broken and it collapsed and you go hurt, workers compensation is not going to protect the employer for an intentional act.
Workers compensation coverage is broad in Florida and your employer will be protected. What workers compensation coverage in Florida doesn’t protect is any entity or individual who’s not your employer. Oftentimes if you’re working on a construction site there are workers from all different employers working around you and maybe one of them is responsible for your accident and they or their employers can be sued.
You need an experienced law firm like Parker Waichman who’s experienced in doing investigations of construction sites to start working for you right away before the construction site changes which often times happens once an accident is reported.
What are the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for an injury on the job in Florida?
If you’re injured on the job in Florida you have to notify your employer within 30 days of being injured. To pursue a claim for those injuries on the job in Florida you’re going to have to bring that action against the person or entity responsible who is not your employer, within four years of the date of the accident.
Are There Limits on How Much a Worker Can Receive After a Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Approved?
Can I See My Own Doctor After Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
How Do I Know if Someone Else Was at Fault for Causing My Workplace Injuries or Illness?
Who Is Exempt From Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Florida?
Are 1099 Employees Covered by Workers’ Comp in Florida?
Will I Ever Have to Pay Legal Fees Directly to My Attorney While They Work on My Case?
How Do I Know What My Rights Are Under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Laws?
Why Choose Parker Waichman for Your Labor Law Claim?
Florida is home to thousands of personal injury attorneys, but Parker Waichman stands out due to our sterling reputation and our track record of success. Our team of experienced attorneys has secured more than $2 billion in settlements and jury awards, demonstrating our commitment to fight tenaciously for every client. We’ve also been recognized nationally for our work, receiving a number of accolades from the legal community, including:
- An AVVO rating of 9.8/10
- A Martindale-Hubbell peer-review rating of “AV Preeminent,” their highest rating
- A rating of “5 Dragons” in Lawdragon’s peer review
While ratings and awards are certainly not the only factors to consider when choosing the right personal injury, labor law, and workers’ compensation attorney, such honors do demonstrate a law firm’s ability to help a client receive compensation for their injuries.
Get a Free Consultation With a Skilled Florida Work Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury or have been diagnosed with an illness associated with exposure to dangerous substances at work, it’s crucial to speak with a Florida labor law and workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. At Parker Waichman, we’d be glad to evaluate your case for free, with no obligation: Just contact us and one of our experienced Florida Labor law and workers’ compensation attorneys will examine the details of your situation and help you determine your next steps. Our law office in Florida represents injured clients all over the state, many of them in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Bonita Springs, Immokalee, and Marco Island. Don’t delay: Call 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER to talk to our Florida labor law and workers’ compensation attorneys today.
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