Workers Compensation

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 care.

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 injuries.
  • Brain injuries - from falls or electrical injuries or other trauma.
  • Spinal cord injuries/paralysis - often from falls or car accidents.
  • Burn injuries - usually chemical or electrical.
  • Amputation - 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 injury?

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 compensation.

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 Florida area:

  • An appropriate specialist such as an orthopedist or neurologist
  • 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.

Kaba Law Group, P.L.L.C. / 2015

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