Guest Columnist: Attorney Eli A. Franks of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt
If you have been hurt on the job, you may be entitled to receive medical care and lost wages from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that covers employees while they are recovering from injuries that they received on the job. The U.S. Department of Labor reports thousands of workers’ compensation cases per year, so you don’t have to feel alone if you are suffering right now.
After being hurt at work, the first thing you want is medical care and assurances your lost wages will be paid until you are able to return to work. Unfortunately, most insurance companies care more about saving money than spending it on you. Insurance companies have trained claims adjusters who go to great lengths to establish that they are your only friend in your stressful situation and will represent your best interests. However, in reality, they are looking for ways to find pieces of evidence they can use against you to reduce the amount of claim or deny it altogether, leaving you to bear the financial burden of your injuries and property damage.
The workers’ compensation adjusters may even make you feel bad about filing a claim or make you feel like you don’t have a claim because the accident may have been your fault. Remember, in Florida’s Workers’ Compensation system, the law does not consider who was at fault for causing an employee’s injury (with a few small exceptions like starting a fight unrelated to work or being intoxicated). The prerequisite for workers’ compensation benefits is only that you have been hurt on the job and you need for care remains related to the work accident. It makes no difference whether the incident was partially your fault or entirely your fault.
So, as you watch your bills pile up, the insurance company is taking their time investigating the accident. This can place an incredible burden on both your finances and state of mind as you are left to waiting for both a doctor’s appointment and a check for time missed from work. It may feel like pursuing your workers’ compensation benefits has turned into a full-time job. When hurt at work, remember to do the following:
- Report your accident and injury. Work Comp adjusters are notorious for denying cases that were reported as accident, but not as an injury. Make sure to document all injured body parts, even if it doesn’t hurt that bad at the time of reporting. It may get worse, and you don’t want them to say you never reported a body part. If you didn’t, don’t worry, we can help.
- Seek medical care right away. Do this no matter what, whether it is at the work comp doctor or clinic they send you to initially, or a doctor you see on your own. If your case ever goes to court, the Judges will always look at the earliest medical note to see what was reported as far as injuries, and what the injured person said regarding how the accident occurred. Make sure to say you were hurt at work!
- Hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Without an attorney, many injured employees are left for weeks or months without the appropriate care they need. Here at https://franksandkoenig.com we are experienced in dealing with the insurance companies and obtaining medical care and lost wages. We can help you with the process of obtaining medical treatment and lost wages, a process that is nearly impossible to navigate alone. – Also, many insurance companies will attempt to settle with you directly for an amount that is completely unreasonable. – In almost every case, having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will ensure that you are not being taken advantage of by the insurance company.
If you have been hurt at work, then make sure to take the necessary steps to protect your ability to receive the benefits that are available to you under the law.
If you were hurt at work, we can help!
Eli A. Franks, Esq.
Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt