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Palm Beach County Workers' Comp Law Blog

Workers' compensation can help with injuries and illnesses

Suffering from a workplace injury or illness is a serious concern for workers and families. In Florida, employers with greater than four employees and all construction employers, are required to provide their employees with workers' compensation benefits, if they have suffered a workplace injury or illness. Because injured workers can be left with significant medical expenses and an inability to work, it is important for them to understand their workers' compensation benefits and the process.

When a worker has suffered a workplace injury or illness, they should report it to their employer who is required to report it to their workers' compensation insurance carrier. If the employer fails to report it to the insurance carrier, the employee should contact the insurance carrier directly. Workplace injuries must be reported within 30 days and workplace illnesses must be reported within 30 days of the worker having knowledge of the illness.

Falls are a serious danger for construction workers in Florida

Construction falls can result in serious and disabling injuries and death. Throughout Florida, construction workers build bridges, houses and other buildings, as well as maintain structures for citizens to use and enjoy.

Unfortunately, a construction fall accident can be devastating for workers and their families. In Florida, compared to other industries, the construction industry had the highest number of work-related fatalities from 2007 to 2011. Seven-Hundred and forty-seven construction workers were killed in fatal construction accidents during that time.

Different disability benefits available through Social Security

Social Security Disability resources are an important option for disabled individuals. Disabled individuals may become disabled in a variety of different ways, including in the workplace. Social Security offers two options to disabled individuals to help them with their daily costs of living after they have become disabled and unable to work. Both disabled individuals and their family members should be familiar with disability options and the disability benefits available.

Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income are the two federal programs that provide assistance to disabled individuals in different circumstances, depending on their circumstances. The Social Security Administration administers both programs. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available to disabled individuals who are unable to work because of a physical or mental medical condition and have the necessary work history to qualify. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), on the other hand, is available to individuals of limited income and resources who may lack necessary work history to qualify for SSD benefits but are also disabled because of a physical or mental medical condition that prevents them from working.

Protect yourself by understanding workers' compensation benefits

Florida workers who suffer an injury in the workplace face difficulties that extend far beyond the physical ramifications of their injury. In addition to the sheer cost of even the most basic of medical care, lost wages and other accident or illness-related expenses can have a devastating financial impact on a family.

If you are experiencing the complex aftermath of a work accident, you do not have to walk through it alone. From filing a workers' compensation claim to obtaining the specific type of medical care you need for a full recovery, you have the right to seek help and guidance. It can also be useful to seek a full understanding of your rights and the specific benefits to which you are entitled:

One Florida utility has high number of workplace deaths

Workers' compensation options are available to help in circumstances of a fatal workplace accident. According to a local paper, over the last two decades, more workers have died at power plants run by one utility than any other state utility. While the utility had nine workplace deaths in the past two decades, other, and much larger, utilities in the state had no greater than three deaths. Four workers recently died at one of the utility's plants when they suffered severe burns after a molten substance that is referred to as slag escaped from a tank where it was contained.

In addition, at the same power station, a little more than a month prior to the most recent incident, four workers were sent to the hospital after anhydrous ammonia was released into the plant. Exposure to anhydrous ammonia can cause death by suffocation. Overall, the total for the one Florida power utility is higher than the next five utilities combined. The utility has a history of accidents and fines from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

What workers' compensation benefits are available to me?

Workers' compensation benefits are an important protection for workers injured at work. Workers who have been injured at work may have a variety of questions related to workers' compensation benefits. Injured workers and their families, relying on workers' compensation benefits, may wonder what benefits they will receive and in what amount.

In most circumstances, the benefit check is two-thirds of the injured worker's average weekly wage. Benefit checks are paid bi-weekly. The method used to calculate the worker's average weekly wage can be complicated so it is important for the injured worker to understand how the benefits are calculated and ensure they receive the benefit amount they should receive. Within 21 days of the injury being reported by the worker's employer, the injured worker should begin receiving benefit checks.

Key points about medical treatment and workers' compensation

When Floridians suffer injury on the job or become ill due to their work they do, they can seek workers' compensation benefits. These benefits will cover for wages, allow them time to recover, and pay for medical expenses. However, people need to be cognizant of their responsibilities. Regardless of whether it is necessary to seek emergency medical attention or it is less serious but still meets the requirements for workers' compensation, there are certain things that a claimant must do. Remembering how this applies to medical treatment is vital.

When the person goes to see the doctor, he or she must tell the doctor what happened with a full description of the incident that led to the injury or way in which the injury occurred. The doctor will ask questions regarding any medical issues or injuries from the past and the person must answer them truthfully. The injury and if it was related to work must be discussed. If it was linked to work, it will need to be determined if the person can work or not.

How does OSHA help American workers?

Until as recently as the 1970's American workers were often subjected to harsh and dangerous working conditions. Whether they were working in a dangerous construction zone or a factory dealing with hazardous chemicals, employees had little protections in place.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 helped to change that. Along with the passing by the United States government act, they also formed the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, commonly known as OSHA to help protect American workers from dangerous working conditions, and put several regulations into effect to require that employers take proactive measures to keep their employees safe.

A work-related fall may have landed you in need of workers' comp

Numerous Florida residents face high and low points during their careers in construction work. As a member of this field of work, you may have a particular insight into how fast-paced, risky and enjoyable this line of work can feel. Of course, you may also know that you face certain dangers and hazards that individuals in other occupations may not, and as a result, you may feel a bit uneasy about the risky aspects of your profession.

Though many hazards often remain present on a construction site, falls often make up the most common injury-causing accidents. In many cases, preventative steps could have helped to reduce the risk of such an incident taking place.

How does the SSA determine if a Florida worker is disabled?

There are government-assistant programs aimed at taking care of our country's residents who are otherwise unable to care for themselves and their families. These programs vary by condition and location. However, one potential benefit offered to the taxpaying Floridian is Social Security disability benefits. These benefits are available to most of-age workers who contributed an appropriate amount to social security and are in face, disabled. What does the Social Security Administration consider disabled you ask?

If you are in fact working, then you cannot qualify for disability benefits. If the impairment is severe enough to interfere with a person's inability to work, then go on to the next step. There are dozens if not hundreds of conditions and diagnosis that qualify for SSD benefits - it is wise to check the list if you have been diagnosed with a condition or physical impairment. To go further, a person may need to prove that their disability makes them incapable of doing the work they did previously. If an injured person can adjust to other types of work, then their claim will be denied.

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