Many times people who have been injured at work ask us “Do I have a workers’ comp claim? If so, how is it valued? Can I settle my workers’ comp claim?” Due to the nature of workers’ compensation, many injured workers’ are concerned about their medical treatment and compensation for lost wages, pain, and suffering. Here, we have provided answers to come of those common concerns.
Do I Have A Claim?
The answer to the first concern of – Do I have a claim? – is that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to Florida statute 440 if you suffer an accident with an injury that arises out of work performed in the course and scope of employment. Now, what does that generally mean? It means, in general, that if you are performing your job, acting on behalf of your employer and you suffer an accident that leads to an injury, you have a viable workers’ compensation claim.
There are a few exceptions to that if there is an issue of whether you’re actually working on behalf of the employer or whether you’re within the course and scope of your employment. If there’s any question about that, I recommend that you contact an attorney.
Generally, we’re going to assume that it’s an average, run of the mill accident. An individual is lifting something on the job or suffers a fall while on the job, or some obvious traumatic injury. If that occurs within the course and scope of your employment and an injury arises out of that, you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. That in and of itself means that you have a workers’ compensation claim.
What Is The Value Of My Claim?
Workers’ compensation benefits are divided into two different sections. One is medical benefits and the other is lost wages.
You’re entitled to medical benefits for the rest of your life as long as a doctor says that the ongoing need for treatment is and remains more than 50% due to the original accident and that you treat at least once a year.
You’re entitled to lost wages on a temporary basis while you’re recovering, and then potentially on a permanent basis if you’re unable to do any job within a 50-mile radius of your home as a result of your injuries.
The value of the claim for settlement purposes is calculated based on the insurance company’s potential exposure for both medical and lost wages. Claims are then settled based on the insurance company’s willingness to offer a lump sum of money, and the injured worker’s willingness to accept said lump sum of money in exchange to completely releasing the insurance company from all future liability.
Will I be compensated for pain and suffering?
The immediate question that often follows the discussion regarding medical and wage benefits is, can I get compensation for pain and suffering? Many people who suffer injuries on the job have a great deal of pain and suffering. They also have a diminishment in quality of life, frustration, and other intangible losses that are legitimate and significant to the injured worker.
Unfortunately, the Florida statutes that govern workers’ compensation benefits do not provide any compensation for pain and suffering. Therefore, it is not a component that is considered when the insurance company is calculating its exposure for settlement purposes.
How much do workers’ compensation attorneys charge?
Finally, a very relevant question is, how much do workers’ compensation attorneys charge? All workers’ compensation attorneys representing injured workers charge a fee based on a contingency fee arrangement. That means they only get paid in the event that they’re able to obtain a benefit on behalf of the employee.
That benefit can be in the form of medical or wages. There are occasions when you have to go to court in order to have a judge order the insurance company to provide medical benefits or wage benefits. Or, a benefit can be obtained via a lump sum settlement, as we’ve discussed.
In each of these circumstances, the attorney can be reimbursed based on a contingency fee basis. Again, a percentage of the benefit obtained. Or, if they did have to go to court in order to obtain those benefits, state law says in that circumstance the insurance company is required to pay the attorney, not the injured worker.
Most importantly is that you never pay out of pocket. The attorney doesn’t bill by the hour, so you’re not exposed to significant attorney fees during the course of your representation.
Get Help Today!
If you’re considering a settlement or if you’ve just been involved in an on the job injury, the Law Firm of Michles & Booth provides aggressive and compassionate representation to those that have been injured on the job. I highly recommend before you consider any settlement that you contact an attorney for a consultation to make sure that you understand the actual value of your claim and what legal options you have. Feel free to contact us today for a no obligation consultation. You can reach us at (800) 848-6168 to speak to an attorney now.