Imagine that an individual begins a new job and, the very first day at the new company, the employee is operating a piece of machinery and the machinery malfunctions. As a result, the new employee sustains serious injuries that will require significant medical attention and likely time off from work. The employer informs the employee that, because he was only on his first day, he would not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits and the employer tries to convince him to not bother to try to file a claim.
If the employee believes the employer, he could miss out on substantially important benefits to which he would be entitled under the law. This is because an employee is covered by workers’ compensation insurance as soon as they begin working for an employer that is required to carry–and does carry–this type of insurance. Unfortunately, some employers will do anything to avoid having to report workers’ compensation claims to their insurance companies in order to keep their insurance rates as low as possible.
In reality, an individual has to meet a few basic criteria to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. These criteria include:
- Work for a company that is required to have workers’ compensation insurance;
- Be an employees of that company; and
- Sustain an injury or illness that happened on the job or that is otherwise related to their job.
Because some employers will try to convince employees that they do not yet qualify for benefits, it is imperative for every injured worker to consult with a skilled Florida workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after an injury. If an employer is willing to be untruthful, they may be willing to use other unethical tactics to try to limit their liability in workers’ compensation claims. When dealing with an employer like that, it is always wise to be represented by a lawyer who can fully protect the interests and rights of individuals who sustained serious injuries on the job.
Some good news is that an employee does not necessarily have to wait for an employer to be cooperative in order to make a claim for benefits under the workers’ compensation system. Any injured employee has the right to make their own claim and file a petition for benefits. The process can be intimidating though, especially for someone who is also dealing with the physical recovery from a serious injury. For this reason and more, injured victims should call an experienced attorney for help with their workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible. Furthermore, if an employer continues to be difficult and keeps trying to violate the rights of its workers, an attorney can help a worker appeal for benefits if necessary and can represent that injured workplace accident victim in court at hearings or at trial until the employee receives the fair result they deserve based on their injuries and other qualifications for benefits.