Workers’ Compensation – West Palm Beach
Every hour, between 600 and 700 employees in the United States suffer injuries at work. The aftermath of a workplace accident can be disorienting. Workers may understandably be in pain, confused about what to do, and unsure about what their rights are. Fortunately, they don’t have to go through this challenging period of life alone. An experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
What if it was my fault?
Workers’ compensation attorneys are often asked what happens if an employee is responsible for their own injuries. Mistakes at work can have serious consequences, particularly in industries that involve construction or heavy machinery. An injured employee may feel they shouldn’t file a workers’ compensation claim if the accident or injury was partly their own fault, or the supervisor may pressure them to stay quiet.
The fact is: it almost never matters who or what caused an injurious workplace accident. With extremely few exceptions, under workers’ compensation statutes, an employer is responsible for covering fair medical costs and lost wages after an injury regardless of who is to blame for the injurious incident. These laws were put in place partially to protect workers from being denied coverage due to assertions that they caused their own injuries.
Do I need to report the injury?
It is critical to report any workplace injury immediately, no matter how slight. Seemingly minor injuries may turn out to have serious complications later on, and if an employee delays reporting, he or she may be barred from recovery at all. Reporting the injury right away, and documenting it carefully, can help prevent a workers’ compensation insurance company from claiming that injuries were independent or pre-existing. With that said, some workers understandably hesitate to report accidents if they fear retaliation. If you are concerned about retaliation, feel free to contact an experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyer at The Law Offices of Franks, Koenig, & Neuwelt immediately and we’ll work through how best to approach reporting the injury after we better understand why you’re concerned about retaliation.
Can I recover for lost wages?
If you miss work because of an injury on your job site, your employer should still pay you for the time you are away. However, this isn’t free time off. You can only be paid if a medical provider agrees that you cannot work at all, so make sure you follow the recommendations of your workers’ compensation contact and stay in touch with your West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyer.
More commonly, someone who has been injured due to a work accident will be paid for the time they spend away from the job getting medical treatment. If the old employment role requires strenuous physical activity, the employer should provide a reasonable accommodation to allow an injured employee to continue working. The employer should not pay less for this work, even if it is work commonly done by lower-paid employees.
What about my pain and suffering?
Workers’ compensation laws restrict the type of claim an injured employee can bring. In most cases, an injured worker can only claim payment for lost wages and the actual cost of medical treatment, along with future loss of earnings. Pain and suffering are not typically paid for. However, if a third party (such as an outside vendor or contractor) caused the accident, a separate claim can be made against that entity. However, there are exceptions to all the major workers’ compensation rules, so please speak with a West Palm Beach, Florida workers’ compensation lawyer before committing to or dismissing any particular plan of action.