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Sarasota Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Florida workers who are injured on the job or become ill due to work conditions are protected under state workers’ compensation laws. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, and additional benefits. However, while you are owed benefits if injured at your workplace, it’s not uncommon for a claim to be denied. At Kogan & DiSavlo, we will fight for your rights, represent your case, and make sure you are fairly compensated. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer in Florida.

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work?

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Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides medical care and wage replacement for employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. It also compensates workers who have sustained permanent disabilities. If a worker dies due to a work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation provides death benefits to survivors.

In Florida, employers with one or more employees are generally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, coverage requirements may vary for specific occupations. For example, construction companies must have workers’ compensation if they employ four or more workers. In agriculture, the minimum requirement for coverage is six regular employees or 12 seasonal workers.

A workers’ compensation lawyer in Sarasota can confirm if you are covered under the law. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means in most cases, employees can receive benefits regardless of who caused their injuries or illness.

Most Common Workplace Injuries

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The National Safety Council studied data on work injuries over a recent two-year period and identified the most common injuries and illnesses among workers.

  1. Exposure to Harmful Environments/Substances. This category includes exposure to radiation, noise, electricity, extreme temperatures, oxygen deficiency, and air and water pressure changes. Before 2020, these conditions were 6th in the list of most common work injuries. Yet, with the arrival of COVID-19, exposure to contagious and infectious diseases became more prevalent in workplaces throughout the country.
  2. Overexertion and Bodily Reaction. This category includes non-impact musculoskeletal conditions that arise from excessive physical effort like pushing, lifting, turning, carrying, or throwing. Repetitive tasks that stress or strain a part of the body can also lead to painful sprains and strains. The back is commonly affected by over-exertion and repetitive use–these injuries occur most often in transportation and warehousing jobs.
  3. Falls, Slips, and Trips. Workers can slip on wet surfaces, fall against an object, or fall off a roof, ladder, or scaffolding. According to the CDC, one in five falls results in a severe injury such as a concussion or a TBI. The risk of falls increases with age, and individuals 55 and up are most vulnerable.
  4. Contact With Objects and Equipment. This category predominantly affects workers in manufacturing, transportation, and construction. It includes accidents where a moving object strikes a worker, or a worker is pinched, squeezed, crushed, or compressed between objects, which can be anything from machinery or vehicles. Possible injuries include broken bones, damage to internal organs, internal bleeding, and severe head, neck, or spine injuries.

Essential Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury 

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Knowing how to handle a job-related injury is important to protect your health and well-being and your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

First, always seek medical attention. In an emergency, call 911. Tell the medical staff your injury is work-related. If you don’t require emergency assistance, see a doctor as soon as possible. Some work injuries may not be obvious but can develop or worsen over time. Left untreated, they can cause serious health complications. Aside from emergency treatment, check with your employer to determine if the insurance company approves your physician. If not, you may have to pay medical costs out-of-pocket.

Notify your employer right away that you are hurt. Every company has its own procedures for reporting injuries. Follow these steps and report the event to the proper manager or supervisor, preferably in writing. In Florida, you have 30 days from the time you are hurt or a physician diagnoses your condition to report an accident. However, we recommend acting as soon as possible. As time passes, it becomes easier for your employer to question if you were hurt on the job.

Your employer has seven days to report the injury to the insurance company. The insurer has three days to provide information on your rights and responsibilities. If you are eligible for benefits, you should receive payment within 21 days of your reported injury. Checks should arrive every two weeks.

Navigating Workers’ Comp in Sarasota

Header area of a workers' compensation application form

If you do not receive correspondence or benefits from your employer’s insurance carrier, notify your employer as quickly as possible. In Florida, claimants are expected to attempt to resolve disputes directly with their workplace. Unfortunately, some employers are reluctant to settle. The guidance of a Sarasota workers’ compensation attorney can be invaluable at this stage. We advocate for injured workers, communicate with the insurance company, and build a compelling case for benefits. 

If your employer fails to report your injury to the insurer or refuses, you may need to file a claim with the insurance company directly. It is best to confer with skilled workers’ compensation attorneys before handling this on your own. We can submit the required workers’ compensation forms to the insurance company with the details of your accident and injury or illness, including:

  • The date, time, and address of the accident
  • Description of how the accident occurred
  • Your diagnosis and parts of the body affected
  • All medical treatments received

The insurance company reviews the workers’ compensation claim to determine your eligibility for benefits. During this review, they may request additional information about your income, medical condition, and limitations resulting from your condition.

Why Was My Claim Denied?

Workers’ compensation claims are denied for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • You are not considered an eligible employee.
  • You did not report your injury to your employer on time.
  • You cannot prove your injury or illness is work-related.
  • Your work injury does not prevent you from doing your job.
  • An approved healthcare provider did not treat you.
  • Your intentional neglect or horseplay led to your accident.
  • You were under the influence of alcohol/drugs at the time of your accident.

As a workers’ compensation attorney in Sarasota, we will fight for your rights and work to get your claim approved so you can receive the benefits you are entitled to under the law.

What Happens If My Claim Is Denied?

Most claims for workers’ compensation benefits are accepted, and benefits are paid by the claimant’s employer or its insurance carrier without any dispute. However, If your claim is denied, you have two years to file a petition with the Bureau of Employee Assistance and Ombudsman (EAO) and the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC.)

The next step is mediation, where you can hopefully reach a settlement. If not, a pre-trial hearing is scheduled. At this hearing, a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge will review your case and issue a decision within 30 days.

The Role of a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Two people shaking hands over legal documents and a gavel

As noted, getting a claim approved can be challenging. Employers and insurance companies often find reasons to avoid paying benefits to protect their bottom line. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers work to ensure your claim is accurate, complete, and filed on a timely basis. We assist you in seeking treatment from an approved medical provider and guide you through the claim and appeal process. If a third party is responsible for your work injuries, we will pursue additional damages in court.

The goal is to help you recover the compensation you deserve for the physical, emotional, and financial impact of a work injury. Without an advocate working on your behalf, it’s easy to make costly mistakes that can jeopardize your claim and keep you from receiving benefits.

Contact Kogan & DiSalvo for a Free Consultation

The attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo in front of their office building

A serious work injury can impact a person’s ability to earn income and support their family. At Kogan & DiSalvo, we believe in a worker’s right to benefits. If you have recently been injured or your claim was denied, we can help. We consider all your options to secure the compensation you deserve under the law. If litigation makes sense, we are fully prepared to take your claim to court. Call today to schedule your free case review. We assist clients in Sarasota County and throughout the state of Florida.

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