One of the most frequent questions I am asked is when and whether an injured worker should hire an attorney. People are often concerned that it will hurt their job or that the insurance company will deny benefits because the worker is “suing” them.
Workers’ Compensation Cases & Employers
First of all, hiring an attorney does not mean that you are suing your employer. When a worker is injured, a claim is filed with the employer and the employer’s insurance company provides medical and wage benefits. If the insurance company provides the benefits required by Florida Statute 440, there is no need to sue or go before the Judge of Compensation Claims.
It is also a violation of state law for an employer to discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce any employee for filing a claim or seeking claim compensation pursuant to Florida Statute 440.205.
Workers’ Compensation Cases & Insurance Companies
However, keep in mind that many insurance companies interpret the Statute in their favor and/or fail to act in accordance with the Statute. Thus, there may be benefits that are not provided that the injured worker is completely unaware of and doesn’t know to request them. Additionally, the insurance company will try to tempt the injured worker to settle for an amount that is not fair.
However, if you don’t know how to calculate the value of the claim, you have no way of knowing whether the money being offered is sufficient for your future needs. It’s like finding a painting in the attic and trying to sell it before going on the Antique Roadshow and getting it appraised. Hiring an attorney at the beginning of your claim will ensure that you are properly informed and that you do not waive your rights or get taken advantage of by the insurance company.
If you have suffered a work related injury, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your claims and rights pursuant to Florida Statute Section 440. Contact Michles & Booth for a free consultation at (800) 848-6168.