Tampa Bay Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Whether you work at an office desk or on the factory floor, workers’ compensation is meant to pay your medical bills and help replace lost wages when you are injured on the job. These benefits can be invaluable when a costly injury knocks you out of the workforce for weeks, months, or even longer. Not only are you entitled to workers’ comp through your company’s insurance policy, but workers’ compensation is often the only help available. Under Florida law, you cannot file a lawsuit for money damages against your employer for a workplace injury, even if the injury was caused by the employer’s or a co-worker’s negligence.
With so much at stake, you can’t afford to miss out on workers’ compensation. But employers and their insurance companies, and Florida workers’ compensation laws, don’t always make it easy on you. There are strict rules, timelines and procedures to follow, and the employer or insurer might challenge your claim. If you are having trouble getting benefits, Franco Law Firm can help. Call our experienced Tampa Bay workers’ compensation lawyers today for a free consultation and immediate assistance.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Since workers’ compensation is covered by insurance, you might be wondering why you need a lawyer to help you with your claim or how an attorney can help. First of all, your employer’s workers’ comp premiums are based in part on the number of claims they get. If the employer or their carrier can find a way to reject your claim, your company keeps its insurance rates low, and the insurance company increases its profits. This puts you in an adversarial relationship with your employer. You want to get all the workers’ compensation you are entitled to, but your employer wants to limit the amount of benefits you receive or turn you down entirely if they can.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Franco Law Firm are on your side and advocating for you at every step. We know what benefits you are entitled to and how much you should be getting. We know the law and the process for getting workers’ comp, and we can guide you and represent you whenever you are not getting the benefits your employer owes you. Here are some of the excuses employers make for not paying workers’ comp as they should and how our law firm can help.
Your application was not timely or complete.
After a workplace accident, you must report your injury within 30 days, or your employer can deny your claim. If you can report the accident sooner, you’ll strengthen your claim by linking your injury to the accident, emphasizing its severity, and staying within the required time frame for reporting an injury. You’ll also start receiving benefits sooner rather than later.
The insurance company might ask for additional information and documentation or reject your claim if the information provided does not demonstrate that a work-related injury did occur. Without the right information, your claim could get denied, delayed, or underpaid. Franco Law Firm is here to answer your questions and guide you through the steps needed to report your injury and file your claim promptly and accurately.
The accident wasn’t work-related.
To be compensable under Florida workers’ compensation law, the injury must come from an accident that arose at work in the course and scope of employment. The employer might argue that the accident occurred off company property or outside of work time, or that an occupational disease was acquired some other way. Employers don’t always get it right. We’ll investigate arguments like these and present strong evidence that the accident was work-related and covered under workers’ comp.
Your injuries aren’t severe.
Some severe injuries are obvious, such as broken bones or deep open wounds. Other injuries can be just as serious but less visibly apparent, including head injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, shoulder injuries, knee injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more. As part of their campaign to downplay or disprove your injuries, insurance companies hire their own doctors to examine you and say the injury isn’t serious or didn’t happen at work. They might also hire private investigators to pore over your social media postings or follow you around town to gather “evidence” they say shows you aren’t really hurt. Their evidence might be misleading and not tell the whole truth about your injury. We’ll work to build a solid case based on medical and factual evidence that demonstrates the nature and severity of your injuries to get you the care and compensation you need.
You have a pre-existing condition.
A favorite excuse of the insurance companies is that your injury was already present before the accident occurred. This excuse is especially common for back injuries, shoulder and knee injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and other injuries that can be attributed to degenerative diseases or activities that occur outside the workplace. Where applicable, we’ll prove the injury arose out of the work environment. Even if you do have a pre-existing condition, any aggravation or acceleration of that injury attributable to work should be covered by workers’ compensation.
You didn’t use available safety equipment.
If personal protective equipment (PPE) or other safety devices were provided, but you refused to use them or violated a workplace safety rule that led to the accident, then the insurance company can cut your benefits by 25%. We’ll make sure this provision of the law is not unfairly applied to you and work to get you the maximum benefits you are entitled to.
Intentional harm, intoxication, and other factors.
An employer can legitimately turn down your workers’ compensation claim if they can prove that you willfully intended to harm yourself or that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time and the accident was primarily caused due to intoxication. Also, the employer can reject a claim if other, non-work-related factors caused or contributed to the injury and the workplace accident was not the major contributing cause of the injury. An employer making these claims has the burden of proving them. We’ll challenge these assertions when they don’t hold water and prove they don’t apply.
Contact the Franco Law Firm Today
Employers and their workers’ compensation insurance carriers use all sorts of tricks to try and avoid paying out the proper amount of benefits on a valid workers’ comp claim. You can’t afford to play games when you’ve been injured on the job. You need help now with medical bills and lost wages, and Franco Law Firm can help. Contact our experienced Tampa Bay workers’ compensation lawyers today by calling 813-872-0929 for a free consultation.