Workers Comp Lawyer in Destin
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, there is a good chance that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Employers in Destin and other Florida communities are required to carry workers’ comp coverage under most circumstances. However, there are a few categories of businesses that are not required to have it.
The vast majority of businesses in Florida with four or more employees (including owners who are corporate officers or LLC members) must provide workers’ compensation coverage. In the agricultural industry, businesses with six or more full-time employees and/or 12 more seasonal employees are required to have coverage, and in the construction industry, businesses with one or more employees need to be covered.
If your Destin, FL area employer has coverage and you get hurt at work, you are allowed to file a claim regardless of how the injury happened, and there is no need to prove liability on the part of your employer or a coworker in order to receive benefits. The workers’ compensation system is set up this way in order to make it easier for injured workers to get the necessary treatment, and to be covered for the time that they miss from work. Unfortunately, the system often does not work the way it was intended.
Employers and their insurers want to minimize the amount of workers’ comp benefits that they pay, and in order to do that, they have made the claims process far more complicated than it needs to be. Insurance carriers routinely deny valid workers’ compensation claims on a technicality in hopes that the injured employee will become frustrated and give up on pursuing the benefits that they are entitled to.
Insurers might also pay a lower level of benefits, give employees hassles about which doctors and specialists they are allowed to see, and just generally make life difficult all around for an injured worker. This is why it is beneficial to have an experienced Destin, FL workers’ compensation lawyer by your side to help you successfully navigate the complexities of the claims process.
At Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, P.A., we understand the frustration that injured workers often go through during the workers’ compensation claims process, and we are here to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time. We have served clients in Destin, Pensacola, and nearby Florida Panhandle communities for several decades, and we have extensive knowledge of the state’s workers’ comp system, the common reasons employees get denied or receive lower benefits than they deserve, and how to overcome these obstacles.
Common Causes of Destin, FL Workplace Injuries
There are hundreds of thousands of injuries in the workplace each year, and although some occupations are clearly more dangerous than others, an injury or illness can happen in any work setting. The National Safety Council (NSC) lists the leading causes of work-related injuries. The top three are:
- Overexertion: An overexertion injury is a non-impact injury that results typically from excessive physical effort or repetitive motion. Examples include lifting, carrying, throwing, turning, pushing, pulling, and typing. More than 30% of all workplace injuries are caused by overexertion, and this type of injury happens to about 27 out of every 10,000 full-time workers.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls: This is the second highest cause of workplace injuries, and it includes trips without falls (e.g., the worker catches himself/herself), falls on the same level (e.g., slip and fall on a wet or sticky floor), and falls to a lower level (e.g., slipping and falling off of a ladder). Roughly 28% of work-related injuries fall into this category, and this injury happens to about 24 out of every 10,000 full-time workers.
- Contact with Objects or Equipment: The third leading cause of workplace injuries is coming into contact with an object or with machinery/equipment. This might include a falling object that strikes a worker, a worker getting struck against a hard object or surface, or part of the worker’s body getting squeezed, compressed, or crushed by various types of machinery. Contact injuries make up just under 26% of all work-related injuries, and they happen to roughly 22 out of every 10,000 full-time workers.
Some of the other common causes of workplace injuries include:
- Transportation Accidents
- Violence in the Workplace
- Exposure to Toxic Substances or Environments
- Fires and Explosions
What Does Workers’ Compensation Pay For?
Workers’ comp pays benefits for:
- Reasonable and necessary medical care.
- Certain mileage costs for doctor visits and to pick up prescriptions.
- Rehabilitation and/or retraining costs.
- Two-thirds of lost wages for the time that you are unable to work.
- Disfigurement, physical impairment, and loss of limbs.
- Permanent disability.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not reimburse injured workers for the noneconomic losses that they suffer, such as physical pain-and-suffering and emotional distress. This is the trade-off for creating a “no-fault” system in which benefits can be paid even if the employee caused his/her own injury (with a few exceptions); and generally, employees are not allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit against Florida employers who carry workers’ comp coverage.
The good news is that the limitations of workers’ compensation do not necessarily preclude an injured employee from recovering compensation for their noneconomic losses. This is because in a lot of cases, a party other than the employer may have caused or contributed to the injury.
For example, if you got injured while working with defective machinery, the designer or manufacturer of the faulty machinery may be responsible. If this were the case, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the at fault party.
Another example is when an employee gets into a car accident at work. In a case like this, there is a very good chance that another vehicle driver was at least partially at fault for the accident, which means you can file an accident injury claim against the driver or most often their insurer.
Every workplace accident case involves unique circumstances, and it is not always possible to identify a responsible third party who you can file a lawsuit against. But that said, our legal team will thoroughly investigate your case and explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation.
Speak with an Experienced Destin, FL Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you or a loved one got injured in a Florida workplace, Whibbs Stone & Barnett is ready to go to work for you! To get started, call our office today at 1-888-219-4561 or send us an online message to schedule a free consultation and case assessment.