Below is a list of our frequently asked questions. If your question is not answered here, please call us at 866-804-1160 and we will be happy to assist you.
Worker’s Compensation Questions
Q: How long to I have to report my injury to my employer?
A: Thirty days, but injured workers should report any work-related injuries to a supervisor as soon as possible.
Q: Where can I go for medical treatment?
A: Your employer will advise you where to go to receive authorized medical care. If you obtain medical treatment on your own with an unauthorized medical provider, workers’ compensation may not be liable for payment.
Q: What type of benefits am I entitled to under workers’ compensation?
A: Injured workers are entitled to lost wages if applicable and medical care, to include doctor visits, physical therapy, prescription drugs, hospitalization, testings and travel expenses to and from all doctors appointments.
Q: Can I sue my employer directly for my workers’ compensation injury?
A: No, when you file a workers’ compensation claim your employer has immunity from being sued directly unless an intentional tort occurs. All benefits are provided through the workers’ compensation insurance provider.
Q: What is AWW?
A: AWW is Average Weekly Wage. If lost wages are due, the workers’ compensation carrier will calculate benefits based on the injured workers income 13 weeks prior to the date of injury. If the employee has not been with the company for 13 weeks prior to the date of accident, then a similar employee’s wages will be used.
Q: How much does workers’ compensation pay in lost wages?
A: Once an injured worker’s AWW has been calculated, the workers’ compensation carrier will pay benefits at up to 66 2/3% of the AWW per week. Benefits are normally paid bi-weekly.
Q: How long do I have to be out of work before the workers’ compensation carrier will begin paying my lost wages?
A: The injured worker must be out of work for seven days before any lost wages will be paid. Once the injured worker has been off work for 21 days, the workers’ compensation provider will then pay the injured worker for the first seven day missed.
Q: If I am unable to return to the same type of work once my medical treatment has been completed what do I do?
A: The State of Florida offers a retraining program. Injured workers who can no longer do the same type of work due to their workers’ compensation injury can apply for the retraining program. If they are accepted, this program will pay for the injured worker to be retrained.
Q: What is MMI?
A: MMI is Maximum Medical Improvement. Once an injured worker has received all the medical care recommended by their authorized medical provider, the doctor will release the injured worker back to work at MMI and give them a PPI rating. This rating will determine what type of permanent restrictions the injured worker will have, if any.
Q: Do my workers’ compensation benefits change once my doctor puts me at MMI?
A: Yes, once an injured worker has reached MMI, it means that they are released to return to work, so the insurance carrier will no longer be liable for lost wages. Also, the injured worker will have a $10 co-pay for all future medical appointments. The workers’ compensation carrier will also have to pay benefits to the injured worker based on the PPI rating, if one was given.
Q: What is the maximum amount of time an injured worker can receive lost wages?
A: 260 weeks or until the date of MMI is determined, whichever is earlier, in almost all circumstances.
Q: If I am terminated from my job, is the workers’ compensation provider still liable to pay benefits?
A: Yes, your workers’ compensation benefits do not stop if you are terminated. However, if you are able to work, the workers’ compensation provider will require a job search to be completed for lost wages to continue to be paid. They can deny benefits if the worker was terminated for cause, and employers often lie about the facts regarding termination.
DEFINITIONS FOR WORKER’S COMPENSATION
Temporary Total Benefits:
These benefits are provided as a result of an injury the temporarily prevents you from returning to work, and you have not reached MMI.
Temporary Partial Benefits:
These benefits are provided when the doctor releases you to return to work and you have not reached MMI and earn less than 80% of your pre-injury wages.
Permanent Impairment Benefits:
These benefits are provided when the injury causes any physical, psychological or functional loss and the impairment exists after the date of MMI. A doctor will assign a permanent impairment rating.
Permanent Total Benefits:
These benefits are provided when the injury causes you to be permanently and totally disabled and you cannot return to the workplace at all or you cannot return to work within a sedentary capacity.
The maximum benefit is $150,000 for any death resulting from a work place accident.
Personal Injury Questions
Q: What is a personal injury case?
A: A personal injury case is any case where there has been bodily injury or death caused by the negligence of another person. Examples: auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, boat accidents, dog bites, etc.
Q: How much is my case worth?
A: This is the most frequently asked question and one of the most difficult to answer. The value of your case is based on five areas, assuming that the other party is clearly at fault. Those areas of damages are as follows:
- Past Medical Bills
- Future Medical Bills
- Past Lost Wages
- Future Lost Earning Capacity
- Pain & Suffering
Keep in mind that each personal injury case is unique based on the facts and circumstances involved, injuries and controlled many times by the policy limits of the insurance policy.
Q: Why do I have to use my insurance for medical bills and lost wages when the accident was not my fault?
A: Florida is a No-Fault state, which means that regardless of who’s at fault for the accident, you must carry Personal Injury Protection, more commonly known as PIP on your insurance policy. The legislature designated the insurance company to pay 80% of a person’s medical bills and 60% of a person’s lost wages, up to $10,000.00.
Q: What is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage?
A: Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is coverage that you can elect on your automobile policy that in the event the person that was negligent in the accident is uninsured or underinsured, you can then pursue a claim against your insurance company for damages. Everyone should buy this coverage to protect themselves from uninsured drivers.
Q: Why should I elect medical payment coverage on my policy and what is it for?
A: Medical payments, also known as med pay, is coverage you can also elect on your policy that will make up the 20% in medical bills that your personal injury protection does not cover. Each insurance company offers different coverage amounts but most typically it is $2,000.00.
Q: How long will my case last?
A: Typically your case cannot be resolved until your doctor has decided that you are MMI, which is maximum medical improvement. MMI simply means that you are as good as your going to get, that your condition is stabilized. At this point your treating doctor will assign you a permanent impairment rating. With that being said, typically the average personal injury case is resolved within 4 to 8 months after being signed up by a firm. However, this time range may change depending on the complexity of the case, your injuries and whether a lawsuit must be filed.
Q: Is there a time limit for filing a lawsuit on personal injury cases?
A: Yes, your case is governed by a “statute of limitations.” In Florida the statute of limitation on a personal injury case is four (4) years. Which means you must file a lawsuit within four years or you forfeit your rights to make a claim for damages.
Q: What do I do if I am injured?
A: First and foremost, make sure that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Give an accurate history to this facility. Then follow up with your own insurance company. If you believe that your injury was caused by the negligence of another person, you should contact an attorney.
Q: Why should I contact an attorney immediately?
A: It is extremely important to consult an attorney after an accident because evidence disappears, you can forget very important details of the accident, and witnesses move or leave town. Although it may not seem important at the time, contacting an attorney immediately will begin investigation on your case. You should call as soon as it is convenient to do so and avoid discussing the matter with the other party’s insurance company. The insurance company will insist on taking statements, contacting witnesses and collecting evidence. Their job is to minimize their exposure and quickly try to settle your case.
Q: Can I afford an attorney?
A: Most personal injury attorneys handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney will not charge you fees or costs unless there is a recovery. If a recovery is made, the attorney’s fee is based on Florida Supreme Court guidelines, which is 33 1/3% and 40% if a lawsuit is filed. Costs are money your attorney spends doing investigation, getting medical records including a final report from your doctor and any postage, faxes or long distance phone calls. Costs are usually kept down to a minimum in pre-suit but can get somewhat high if your case goes to trial.
Q: My friend has an attorney who handled his bankruptcy for him. Why can’t that attorney represent me in my personal injury case?
A: The practice of personal injury law is a very narrow field. The insurance company is represented by adjusters and defense attorneys whose only responsibility is to try to limit your recovery. You would not want a brain surgeon performing heart surgery. Likewise, when it comes to your personal injury case, you need an attorney who has extensive experience representing injured people and their families.
Q: Why do I need an attorney when the insurance company has offered to pay my medical bills?
A: Insurance companies would love to get away with paying only your medical bills. Medical bills are only one element of your damages to which you are entitled. As mentioned previously, you may also be entitled to past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering. In order to receive full compensation, you should have an attorney experienced in personal injury matters evaluate all the facts in your case. This is why early consultation with a personal injury attorney can help you maximize the recovery allowed by the law.
No matter how safe a driver you may be, there are always careless drivers on the road who have the potential to cause serious accidents. Serious accidents involve complicated injuries and death. Many times, victims of these accidents need extensive hospital stays, rehabilitative programs, and multiple surgeries. Spinal cord and brain injuries usually require lifetime care and can quickly bankrupt a family. From lost income and vehicle repair to current and future hospital bills, our job is to make sure you and your family are financially prepared to handle these injuries. If the victim sustains permanent disability or death, additional kinds of restitution may apply such as loss of life, anticipated future income, and loss of enjoyment of life. Serious personal injury cases are often very different from standard personal injury cases. It is our job to hold the negligent parties accountable for the pain they’ve caused. Often, entire families are affected and the financial burdens can overwhelm even affluent victims. From the moment of the accident, there are a million things to think about.
Often, motorcycle riders don’t get the respect and the right of way they deserve. Because they are smaller and quicker than other vehicles, other drivers tend to overlook motorcyclists and cause serious accidents. Victims who were riding a motorcycle and were hit by a car or truck usually sustain incredibly serious injuries, life altering injuries. Often, automobile drivers fail to recognize the motorcyclist as having the same rights on the road as everyone else, and that’s when accidents happen. We know how to make the insurance company pay what’s fair for all types of injuries.
When a person who’s been drinking gets behind the wheel of an automobile, they choose to put their life and the lives of others at risk. An accident caused by an intoxicated driver can be serious and often fatal for the victim. The drunk driver laws in this state are strict because drunk drivers harm families, and our community supports a no-tolerance stand against this type of injustice.