Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Going to work for someone else every day is hard enough without having to worry about the risk of an injury. Accidents do happen on the job, though. In fact, they happen with all kinds of jobs right here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida — from grueling physical labor at an outdoor construction site to clerical work in a tidy office or cozy cubicle (and everywhere in between). If you have been injured on the job get in contact with our Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer.
In Florida, workers who suffer work-related injuries are generally entitled to recover financial benefits for the time they miss from work. This monetary relief is intended to help you recuperate, make up for any time you miss from work and reimburse you for certain losses. It is important to seek legal advice from an experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer.
Every case is different, so the extent of the benefits can vary, but as a general rule, if you’ve been hurt on the job, you should know that you have rights. Protecting those rights isn’t always as easy as it should be. In a perfect world, employers and their insurance companies would simply give you the compensation and medical care you deserve as soon as an accident happens.
For that matter, in a perfect world, those same employers would work a lot harder to make sure accidents don’t happen in the first place. But in reality, employers aren’t always careful, insurers don’t always treat claims fairly, and the Florida Workers’ Compensation system doesn’t always work the way it should.
In fact, insurance companies tend to take advantage of injured workers who may not be familiar with workers’ comp rules. The employee might not even realize it’s happening. For example, the insurance adjusters make a settlement offer, insist it’s fair, and because many employees assume workers’ comp is a “done deal,” they might blindly accept whatever dollar amount the employer and its insurer offer. If you have been hurt on the job, consult with our highly skilled Fort Lauderdale workers’ comp attorney, David M. Benenfeld, and find out what would be a fair compensation for your case.
While it is true that most Florida employers are legally required to carry workers’ compensation, and that most work-related accidents must be handled through that system, it’s important to never lose sight of the fact that workers’ comp insurance is still insurance — and insurance companies look out for their own bottom line, not yours.
Ready To Fight For You
You work too hard to be taken advantage of. There’s nothing more unfair than paying out-of-pocket for an injury you suffered while making someone else money.
An experienced, aggressive Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer can fight to maximize your compensation and demand that your employer, and their insurance company, pay you every penny that you deserve.
There’s a lot to know about workers’ comp, and we can only scratch the surface here. In the sections that follow, our Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation attorney will explain the steps our office can take to help your case, and we’ll also answer some common questions about workers’ comp in Ft. Lauderdale.
How Workers’ Comp Is Supposed to Work vs. How It Actually Works
The Florida Workers’ Compensation system was established in the hopes of making it easier for injured workers to get the compensation they need (and to make the claims process more efficient for employers too). The idea was for a “self-executing system” that would be less expensive, less time-consuming, and less litigious than the typical personal injury claims process.
Unfortunately, workers’ comp claims are far from “self-executing” in reality. When you suffer an injury in connection with your job, you must submit a claim to your employer, which carries insurance to pay for workplace injuries. It is the insurer, then, who appraises your claim and decides how much it’s worth.
The problem in this model is that employers and insurance companies protect their own interests, so accident victims end up hiring lawyers anyway, thus defeating the whole purpose of workers’ compensation in the first place.
The process is slow, mired in red tape, and usually results in the insurer giving you the runaround. They may require you to submit to a medical exam by a doctor, which sounds reasonable, but the doctors almost always work for the insurance company. These doctors may habitually downplay injuries or recommend palliative care, which allows the insurer to avoid acknowledging the care that you really need.
At The Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A., we know the insurance industry’s tricks and tactics. In many cases, we know the companies themselves: their adjusters, their lawyers, and their doctors. And often, they know us — and our reputation as an aggressive Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation law firm.
Accordingly, we find that insurers tend to negotiate more reasonably when we’re involved. Additionally, studies show that injury victims who are represented by experienced lawyers tend to recover more than those who go it alone.
What Are the Most Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries in Fort Lauderdale?
Depending on the nature of your job, you might suffer virtually any kind of accident or injury while working. Some workplace injuries are directly related to the victim’s job duties: a mechanic injured by a machine, for example. Others are more unexpected, such as a secretary who is injured in a car accident while running an errand for the boss.
According to our highly experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyer these are some of the most common workers’ compensation injuries:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falls from heights
- Injured by falling equipment or other objects
- Machine injuries
- Muscle strain / soft tissue damage
- Fractured or broken bones
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Toxic exposure/inhalation (chemicals, fumes, etc.)
- Burns or explosions
- Auto accidents
- Noise exposure (hearing loss)
- Walking into objects
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limb
- Cuts or lacerations
- Assault, fights breaking out at work, etc.
Under Florida Law, What Kind of Compensation Can an Injury Victim Claim?
In Florida, workers’ compensation can cover many different things, including:
- Medical treatment (as authorized)
- Vocational rehabilitation (see below)
- Mileage reimbursement (for driving to the doctor, medical care centers, etc.)
- Lost wages
- Funeral costs (in the event of wrongful death)
- Death benefits (in the event of wrongful death)
How Can I Prove I Was Injured on the Job in Fort Lauderdale?
Before you can recover benefits through workers’ compensation in Florida, you must first be able to prove that your injury or illness arose in the course of your employment. That’s easier to do in some cases than others. (As explained earlier, the connection isn’t always obvious, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t legitimate.)
Often, one of the most contentious areas of debate in a workers’ compensation claim is the question of whether the injury happened in the course and scope of employment. The insurance companies will try their best to argue that the accident was unrelated to work (and that you’re therefore on your own).
Fortunately, you don’t have to make your case on your own. A skilled and proven Fort Lauderdale workers’ comp attorney can use evidence, legal precedent, and negotiation skill to demonstrate a clear and compelling connection between your accident and your job.
How Long Does a Workers’ Comp Claim Take to Resolve?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long a workers’ comp case might take. Our firm has settled some of these cases in under a week. Others have taken as long as a year and a half (though that is less common). The amount of time required depends on many things, including:
- The nature and severity of your injury
- How long it takes you to heal and completely recover
- Whether you have medical complications, will require surgery, etc.
- How many doctors do you need to see?
- How cooperative is the insurance company?
At The Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A., our first concern is getting you connected to the medical attention you need to get better. We care about you and want to see you get well. From there, our focus is entirely on getting you the full value of financial compensation you’re entitled to by law.
On average, our workers’ compensation cases (without surgery) resolve within 6 to 8 months. We work with the insurance company’s lawyers to get you money throughout that period so that you can continue to support yourself and pay your bills.
Every case is different, and there are never specific timelines or guaranteed outcomes. However, when you schedule an appointment with our Fort Lauderdale office, we can take a closer look at your specific situation and give you a better sense of a probable timeline and a recovery expectation.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in Florida?
Yes. In particular, there are two time-limits you need to pay close attention to:
- In most cases, you need to provide your employer with written notice of your work-related illness injury within 30 days. The clock starts ticking when the accident happens (or on the date when you discover the illness or injury).
- Additionally, you have only two years to file a claim for recovering your workers’ compensation benefits and/or within one year from the date of your last authorized medical care.
Calculating those timelines can become complicated. Consider carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, which develops slowly over time. When does the two-year period begin? The insurer will usually argue it begins the first time you went to see a doctor, or even when you “should have” figured out you were suffering from carpal tunnel – but that isn’t necessarily fair.
An experienced Fort Lauderdale workplace injury firm can be very helpful in establishing a reasonable timeline and ensuring you comply with filing deadlines.
Can I File a Regular Personal Injury Lawsuit, or Am I Stuck with Workers’ Comp?
Claims for compensation from a work-related illness or injury are usually limited to workers’ compensation benefits in Florida. However, there are some cases in which victims can file a traditional personal injury lawsuit, either in lieu of or in addition to the workers’ comp claim. The lawsuit might be filed against the employer, a third party, or both.
Whether a personal injury lawsuit is an option in your case will depend on the specific circumstances and facts. If it is, the suit might provide far more substantial relief than workers’ compensation benefits would on their own.
We can take a closer look at your situation and help you determine if you have a personal injury claim.
I Developed a Disease Over the Long Term Because of My Job. Can I Recover?
Generally speaking, yes. Florida workers’ compensation extends to both illness and injury, including medical conditions that develop slowly over time. This is important because many cancers and other life-threatening diseases can begin in the workplace. The challenge is demonstrating a clear connection between the two. Our office can help.
I’m a Low-Wage Employee in the Fort Lauderdale Area. Can I Afford a Lawyer?
Your injury may have already put you in a financially difficult situation. It’s only natural that you might worry about the cost of hiring a DFT Lauderdale workers’ comp lawyer.
At The Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A., we represent injured workers on a contingency fee basis. That means our fee is only a percentage of what you recover. You don’t have to pay anything up front or out-of-pocket. If we aren’t able to get you money, you don’t have to pay us anything at all.</p?
We also offer free consultations for personal injury and workers’ comp cases, which means your first meeting is free.
In our office, everyone can afford an attorney. You deserve to have a strong and effective legal advocate on your side. You can hire an experienced Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Comp Attorney without having to worry about legal fees.
Get Legal Advice for Your Fort Lauderdale Workplace Injury Today
If you have been injured in a work-related accident, or if you are suffering from an illness brought on by your working conditions, The Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A. can help. You can count on us for honest, helpful feedback. If it turns out you’re already being treated fairly by your insurer, we will tell you that. If you aren’t being treated fairly, we will do everything we can to secure true and meaningful financial justice for you.
Get started with a free consultation. Our Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation lawyers are open to you, but appointments are required, so please contact David Benenfeld right away. Simply dial 954-530-8077 and get the answers you need today.