West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Dedicated West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Catastrophic Work Injuries in Florida
In an ideal world, all employers do what they can to provide their workers with a safe work environment. Even in an ideal world, however, some jobs are simply more dangerous than others, and not all accidents can be prevented. When a workplace accident has resulted in a tragic, catastrophic injury to an employee, the worker and his or her family will need every penny available under Florida workers’ compensation law to get the medical care and rehabilitation they need, and to make up for the loss of wages and income that comes from a catastrophic work injury, whether on a temporary basis or permanently. The West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyers at Ganon & Hessen fight to get that full amount of compensation injured workers need. Our lawyers have over 40 years of combined experience helping injured workers, and we combine that knowledge and experience with skill and tenacity to get you the benefits you need and deserve after a catastrophic work injury.
Our West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyers help workers suffering from:
- Death Claims
- Heart & Lung Damage
- Occupational Disease
- Orthopedic Injury
- Repetitive Trauma
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Burn Injuries
- Amputation/Loss of Limb
- Hearing Loss
- Vision Loss
- Scarring and Disfigurement
Catastrophic injuries such as these often bring a lifetime of additional costs. For instance, burn victims may require repeated visits to the doctor and hospital for wound care, skin grafts and to deal with psychological trauma. Workers who have lost a limb must not only face very expensive acute trauma and surgical care, but will likely undergo a lengthy period of rehabilitation and occupational therapy. Prosthetics often need to be replaced multiple times over a worker’s lifetime due to wear.
In the case of a loss of limb or use of a body part, or loss of vision or hearing, workers may be compensated for the particular part or function lost, or given an impairment rating as part of a determination of permanent and total disability. The attorneys at Ganon & Hessen, P.A. can help when your claim is challenged or denied by the employer, if you are not receiving the full amount of benefits you should, or if you are being mistreated by the employer and insurance carrier regarding your rights as an injured worker. Let us put our decades of experience representing injured workers to work on your behalf, and ensure you get the benefits you need and deserve.
West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation FAQs
- Benefits You May Not Know About in Workers Compensation
Benefits You May Not Know About in Workers Compensation
By: Nicole Hessen Attorney
The workers’ compensation law is unlike civil lawsuits in many respects. Generally, an injured worker is only entitled to two types of benefits – medical care and lost wages. Yet I’m frequently reminded that most injured workers are not advised of all of the benefits available to them. So, let’s look at a few benefits that you may not know about.
Did you know the insurance company can NOT direct the injured worker to a pharmacy? By law, the claimant is entitled to fill prescriptions at any pharmacy of choice. This may not sound like a big deal but this legal right allows the injured worker to utilize a mail-in pharmacy that will ensure provision of prescriptions within 24 hours regardless of the insurance company authorization. For those injured workers that have experienced delays in obtaining prescriptions because the carrier didn’t authorize the pharmacy, the opportunity to utilize the mail-in pharmacy is a tremendous benefit. At The Law Offices of Nicole Hessen, P.A. we have a working relationship with this pharmacy and can answer any questions about getting your prescriptions filled without delay.
Did you know the insurance company must reimburse you for mileage to and from ALL authorized medical appointments, including physical therapy visits, MRI facilities and even pharmacy visits (if you still wish to go live). Further, there are many instances that will allow the injured worker to request the insurance company provide transportation (as well as translation, if necessary) to all medical appointments. If the insurance company has accepted the claim, it has a duty to provide reasonable and appropriate medical care, including the cost of transportation.
Did you know an injured worker can apply for and receive unemployment benefits while also requesting lost wages from the insurance company? If the injured worker has been given restrictions and is unable to find work within those restrictions, it is possible to request unemployment and lost wages at the same time. If unemployment pays benefits, the insurance company would be able to offset the amount of lost wages it must pay.
Did you know it is possible you claim can be revived even if the statute of limitations has run? In Florida, the statute of limitations runs two (2) years from the accident unless you continue to get benefits paid by the insurance company, at which point, the statute will run if you fail to get benefits for one year. It is a confusing area of the law but one that is extremely important to know because the statute of limitations closes your case forever. However, there is a legal principle called �?estoppel’ that sometimes will allow your claim to be revived even if the statute of limitations has run. Again, this is a technical area of the law but the attorneys at The Law Offices of Nicole Hessen, P.A. ONLY handle workers’ compensation claims. If you have any questions concerning your rights, don’t hesitate to call and speak with Nicole Hessen. We can be reached at 561-246-6666 or by email at Nicole@InjuredWorkersOnly.com
- Can I pick my own doctor and/or pharmacy?
Can I pick my own doctor and/or pharmacy?
Generally the law provides the insurance company with the power to direct your medical care. However, there are instances in which you can exercise your right to select a physician and you always get to choose your pharmacy. Because the insurance companies typically direct your treatment to a doctor they know will give them a favorable opinion, the medical care is a big issue in your case. Again, there are ways to navigate through this to get the proper treatment you deserve. Contact The Law Offices of Nicole Hessen, P.A. today for a free consultation.
- Entitlement to Workers Compensation for Undocumented Workers
Entitlement to Workers Compensation for Undocumented Workers
Every person injured at work in Florida faces fear. Fear of not only the injury itself, but of the consequences the injury will play on finances, family and the future. Undocumented workers however, face additional fears, some valid, many not. Many undocumented workers worry that they will not receive any workers’ compensation benefits based upon the illegal status and worse, some worry that the injury itself will make them a target for arrest and deportation.
There is good news. Undocumented workers, even those who provided false social security numbers to their employers, are entitled to every medical benefit provided under the workers’ compensation law, regardless of their legal status. Moreover, undocumented workers are also entitled to all lost wage benefits when their authorized doctor believes that the injured worker cannot work in any capacity. Additionally, injured workers may be entitled to lost wages while on light duty if the employer knew, or should have known, that the injured worker was undocumented.
Undocumented workers also need to realize that a workers’ compensation injury will not flag them for deportation or arrest. Just last year, in a landmark ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, the high court reaffirmed that the Federal Immigration Act does not impose criminal penalties for aliens who seek or engage in unauthorized employment.
However, injured workers, and the entire community, needs to know that these benefits can be taken away if the injured worker is not honest about their work status. All workers’ compensation benefits are predicated upon honesty. Any benefit can be taken away, from any injured worker, if that injured worker makes a misrepresentation or misleading statement to either the insurance company or a medical provider.
For undocumented workers, this means that you cannot use a false social security number on any paperwork provided either to the insurance company or any medical provider. If asked by anyone what your social security number is, you must tell them that you do not have one. The provision of a false number will preclude benefits and subject you to criminal penalties. I always tell every client to be honest about everything. This is even more important for undocumented workers.
If injured on the job, contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases. This attorney can help you step by step so that you will get the benefits that you need and deserve under the law. As with any other case, do not give statements to insurance companies over the telephone or in person. If you are contacted, get an attorney.
- How does my attorney get paid?
How does my attorney get paid?
At The Law Offices of Nicole Hessen, P.A., we provide legal services on a contingent fee basis. That is to say, we only get paid if we secure benefits and/or a settlement on your behalf. There are certain situations in the law that provide the insurance company pay our litigation fees and costs. You will not get a bill from us and you will not have to pay any attorney’s fees unless or until you settle your case and the fees would be paid out of the settlement proceeds. The current law provides for the attorney to be paid a percentage fee (20% of the first $5,000; 15% of the next $5,000; and 10% thereafter) on your settlement and benefits.
- I was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Do I also have a workers’ compensation claim? What if the motor vehicle accident was my fault?
I was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Do I also have a workers’ compensation claim? What if the motor vehicle accident was my fault?
It is not uncommon for workers to be involved in motor vehicle accidents while in the course of their employment. Under this scenario, you are entitled to pursue workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault. If the motor vehicle accident was the result of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to personal injury damages against this other person or entity, as well as workers’ compensation benefits against your employer. When you have two separate claims for the same injury, it is oftentimes beneficial to seek legal counsel for each claim so that you secure the most benefits under both claims.
- If my employer fires me or I quit my job does my workers’ compensation claim end too?
If my employer fires me or I quit my job does my workers’ compensation claim end too?
Your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits does not end if you no longer work for the same employer. Whether you leave voluntarily or involuntarily, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for the injury. You should know that voluntarily leaving your employment could impact benefits such as lost wages. Also, you may be entitled to other benefits if you lose your job involuntarily such as unemployment benefits and/or the right to file a lawsuit against the employer for wrongful termination.
- Mental Injury without Physical Injury
Mental Injury without Physical Injury
In most workers’ compensation claims where an employee is injured at work the injury is physical in nature. For example a torn rotator cuff (shoulder injury) or a herniated disc (back injury). There are times where these types of claims also have a mental health component. However, what if there is no physical injury? What if the workplace caused a mental or psychiatric condition? Would a mental injury or Psychiatric condition alone without a physicial injury entitle the employee to workers’ compensation benefits? Typically a physical injury is required in order for there to be a valid workers’ compensation claim. However, there are exceptions to every rule. For example, a first responder including police officers, detectives and fire fighters may have a valid workers’ compensation claim without having an actual physical injury. It is important that you know your rights! For more information please contact The Law Offices of Nicole Hessen, P.A. for a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your claim. We can be reached by telephone at 561-246-6666 or by email at Nicole@InjuredWorkersOnly.com
- Third Party Claims-Personal Injury Claims – with Workers Compensation
Third Party Claims-Personal Injury Claims – with Workers Compensation
Many people suffer injuries caused by the negligence of another person or entity. The injured party has the right to sue for damages from this injury in what we commonly refer to as a personal injury suit. If you’re injured while on the job, you cannot sue your employer for personal injury – your employer is immune in most cases to such lawsuits. You are restricted to workers compensation benefits against your employer. However, if you are injured while working from the negligence of someone other than your employer, you may be entitled to BOTH workers compensation benefits against your employer AND a personal injury claim against the third party. It is very important that when you first meet with your personal injury lawyer or your workers compensation lawyer to make sure he/she is aware of the circumstances of your injury, including whether you were working at the time of your injury or whether a third party was negligent. This will ensure you receive the full benefits available under the laws of Florida
- What benefits am I entitled to?
What benefits am I entitled to?
If you’ve suffered a work-related injury, workers’ compensation benefits include medical care and lost wages. There are legal standards and qualifications for the medical treatment, as well as entitlement to lost wages. Florida law does not provide for recovery of punitive damages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life or other remedies generally associated with personal injury law. It is also important to know that you generally can’t sue your employer for any benefits other than workers’ compensation benefits for your injury. However, you may have the right to other benefits against a third party that may be responsible for your injury. Contact the Law Offices of Nicole Hessen, P.A. for a free consultation.
- What is a workers’ compensation claim?
What is a workers’ compensation claim?
When an employee is injured while working for the employer, the injured worker has a workers’ compensation claim. Of course there are many dynamics surrounding this issue. Sometimes an individual is called an independent contractor but legally he/she will be declared an employee. Sometimes the injury occurs just before or just after clocking out. Sometimes the injury occurs while the employee is on a break. Some individuals don’t have an accident but suffer injuries from doing the same thing over and over again. In all of these scenarios, the injured person is oftentimes entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Nicole Hessen, P.A., are experienced to address all of these issues.
- What type of medical benefits do I get from an on the job injury
What type of medical benefits do I get from an on the job injury
ANSWER: Any and all medically necessary benefits as recommended by a workers’ compensation doctor. In workers’ compensation, the insurance company has a duty to provide you with medical care as the result of an on-the-job injury. This means, the insurance may have to provide transportation and translation for each of your medical appointments. If you drive to and from the doctor, the insurance company must reimburse you for mileage. If your workers’ compensation doctor recommends treatment or wants to recommend treatment, get a copy of the recommendation in writing so you can request the benefit or your attorney can file for the benefit. Medical benefits can be as simple as medications, physical therapy, diagnostic studies or surgery. But, medical benefits can also include gym membership, aid and attendant care benefits (a paid professional or family member is paid to care for your basic needs if your injury is severe), modifications to your home (if your injury is severe and you require special physical needs), psychological care, and other non-obvious benefits necessary to address your physical injury.When is the insurance company required to pay me for being out of work?
When is the insurance company required to pay me for being out of work?
The issue of lost wages is very tricky in workers’ compensation. You may be entitled to lost wages under a number of scenarios including but not limited to: the workers’ compensation doctor has you on a �?no work’ status; the workers’ compensation doctor has given you restrictions and the employer can’t or won’t accommodate them; the workers’ compensation doctor has given you restrictions and you are unable to find a subsequent job within those restrictions. Insurance companies deny lost wages very often. There are several legal defenses they rely on to deny lost wages. You need experienced and aggressive legal counsel to pursue your rights.
Call Ganon & Hessen in West Palm Beach after a Catastrophic Florida Workplace Injury
Our West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyers represent injured workers all along the Treasure Coast, throughout south Florida and statewide. Call 561-246-6666 for a free consultation, and let us help you on the road to recovery.