The workers' compensation laws are designed to protect
injured employees, regardless of fault. If the injured worker was at
fault, he or she is still eligible for benefits. These benefits include
medical care and indemnity (lost wages). An injured worker may not
"sue" an Employer for damages, as in a car accident, but may
file a claim for benefits and appear in front of a special judge, named
Judge of Compensation Claims.
Workers' Compensation Basics
1. The Purpose of Workers’
Compensation The workers’ compensation system in Florida
and all 50 States exists to provide medical and indemnity (lost wage)
benefits to injured workers. Benefits are provided to the injured worker,
regardless of fault. That is, the benefits will be paid whether the fault
for the injury was with the worker, the employer or someone else. An
injured worker cannot “sue” his employer for damages that would be
available in a classic law suit (car accident or slip and fall). The
injured worker cannot get money damages for “pain and suffering” or “loss
of enjoyment of life.” An injured worker can sue a “third party” who
caused the accident (for example, a drunk driver). Kaba Law Group,
P.L.L.C. will carefully screen your case to find the possibility of third
party law suits.
2. Reporting the Injury and
Requesting Benefits If you are hurt on the job, it is
important that you report the injury to your employer within 30 days of
the accident. Sometimes you won’t know that your injury is related to work,
until explained by your doctor (for example, carpal tunnel from word
processing or a rash from exposure to food). Once you become aware of the
injury, immediately report to your employer. If you fail to report your
claim within 30 days of the accident, it may be denied forever. In
addition to reporting the injury, it is very important that you request
medical care from your employer. Sometimes an employer will assume that
you don’t want or need medical care if you don’t request it. Kaba Law
Group, P.L.L.C. suggests that you make a “paper trail” and report the
accident and request for medical care in writing. Hand deliver the
written notice to the employer and keep a copy!
3. Only On-the-Job Injuries Result
in Workers’ Compensation Benefits The law requires that
your injury have a connection to your employment. If you are “on the
clock” and benefiting your employer, you are entitled to benefits. For
example, if you injure your wrist while installing sheet rock, that would
be an “on the job” injury. If you are on a lunch break and injured in a
car accident, that would not likely be a workers’ compensation injury.
If you have been injured on the job, you may have a valid
workers' compensation claim. Please contact Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C. for
a free consultation.
Workers' Compensation Injuries
Florida ranks as one of the most dangerous States for on the
job injuries. Poor training of employees and improper or inadequate
safety procedures are among the reasons. Florida construction and roofing
accidents are very numerous and often serious. Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C.
is an experienced construction accident attorney in South Florida.An
injury means a physical injury or a psychiatric problem which results
from the physical injury. A psychiatric problem not connected to a
physical injury won't get workers' compensation coverage. But an injured
worker, who has depression because of an injury, can get psychiatric
Common workers' compensation injures are as follows:
- Orthopedic injuries - knee and shoulder tears; back and neck
herniations and sprains.
- Neurological injuries - nerve root impingement from back and neck
- Brain injuries - from falls or electrical injuries or other
- Spinal cord injuries/paralysis - often from falls or car accidents.
- Burn injuries - usually chemical or electrical.
- often construction related.
- Heart attacks, heart disease and hypertension - are always workers' compensation injuries for
Florida firefighters and police.
When is your case both workers' compensation and personal
Many times an injury is caused by the negligence of another
person or corporation. For example, a defective tool such as a drill or
ladder may have caused your injury. Sometimes the injury may be caused by
the negligence of another, such as a drunk driver or a careless
contractor on the job site. Workers' compensation attorney Kaba Law
Group, P.L.L.C. will analyze your case to determine if a personal injury
claim can be successfully brought on your behalf.
Workers' Compensation Lost Wages (Indemnity)
Aside from medical care, the other major workers'
compensation benefit is lost
wages, also known as indemnity. Whether you are able to
work, with or without restrictions, is up to your treating doctor.
There are several types of indemnity available:Temporary
Indemnity means lost wages available to you while you are still
recovering from your injury. These are benefits paid while you are still
healing and recovering from your injury. Temporary indemnity is payable
for a maximum of 2 years.
There are two classifications of temporary indemnity:
A. Temporary, total indemnity.
This means that you cannot work at all and you will get the maximum
B. Temporary, partial disability.
This means that your doctor has put you on "light duty" and
that you can work with physical restrictions (for example, no lifting
more than 10 pounds)
Permanent Disability refers to lost wages
which are paid after your doctor states that you are fully healed (this
is called "maximum medical improvement"). If your doctor
assigns an impairment rating because you have a permanent injury, you are
entitled to receive additional lost wages called income, impairment benefits.
If your injury is so severe that you cannot work again, you may be entitled
to permanent total
disability benefits. These are paid over your entire
lifetime.The rate of lost wage compensation you will receive is
calculated according to the "average weekly wage", which is the
average of your earnings for the 13 weeks before you were injured.
Workers' Compensation Medical Benefits Under
the workers' compensation law, you are entitled to medical treatment
under the direction and supervision of a physician, chiropractor, nurse
or hospital. These medical services must be provided to you for as long
as necessary, even for lifetime.Medical benefits do not end, even if you
no longer work for the employer. If you leave Florida or the U.S.,
medical care must still be provided. Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C. has
obtained medical benefits for injured workers as far away as Australia
and Brazil!The medical benefits available are very broad, but depend on
the nature of the injury. Many times, workers' compensation attorney Kaba
Law Group, P.L.L.C. will have to litigate the need for medical care,
before a Judge of Compensation Claims. Following are some of the many
medical issues that Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C. has litigated in the South
- An appropriate specialist such as an orthopedist
- Aide and attendant care to help with activities
of daily living
- Change of doctor and second opinions
- Chiropractic and physical therapy care
- Prescription medications and prosthetic devices
(e.g. orthotic shoes).
- Mileage to and from medical providers
- Housing modifications, such as ramps, modified
toilets and showers
- Psychological and psychiatric care
- Emergency care, including hospital visits
Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C. has been a practicing workers'
compensation firm in South Florida for over 20 years. We are very
familiar with most of the doctors and medical providers in this area.
Counseling injured workers' as to the best medical care available, is one
of the most important roles of a workers' compensation attorney.
Resolving and Settling Your Workers' Compensation CaseClaims
for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Most clients come to Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C., because the
insurance carrier is refusing or delaying a benefit. Insurance carriers
can deny anything; the entire case or a single prescription. Unfortunately,
many injured workers’ experience multiple denials of benefits throughout
the life of their claim.Fortunately, there is a legal system to resolve
workers’ compensation benefits. A skilled workers’ compensation lawyer
such as Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C. is often able to obtain benefits through
a telephone call or letter on your behalf. If the insurance carrier wants
to fight, you need an expert workers’ compensation attorney to fight
back. Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C. can file a claim on your behalf to get you
benefits you deserve.Once a claim (known as a Petition for Benefits) is
filed, the insurance carrier either has to provide the benefit or defend
your claim. The insurance carriers always hire an attorney to fight your
claim. This involves a process known as litigation, which involves many
complicated legal steps. Ultimately, the matter can go to trial before a
Judge of Compensation Claims, who will determine whether or not a benefit
is paid. A workers’ compensation attorney with many years of experience,
such as Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C., will maximize your chances of success.
Settlement of Your Workers’ Compensation Claims
Many workers’ compensation accident victims are interested
in settlement of their case. Under the law, settlement is voluntary and
the Judge is not involved. Settling is a big decision and involves
resigning your job and giving up your medical benefits. Kaba Law Group,
P.L.L.C. has settled thousands of workers’ compensation cases, for his
own clients and as a mediator. In order to get the best settlement
possible, it is vital to have a skilled negotiator on your side.