Seeking Legal Assistance for Work-Related Injuries in Tampa

Some lines of work are more dangerous than others, but the fact is that injuries can happen in any workplace. Fortunately, if you suffer a work-related injury in Tampa, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But obtaining these benefits is not as easy as it may seem. That’s why you shouldn’t try to handle your claim alone—turn to our trusted workers’ compensation attorneys at Carlson Meissner & Hayslett for help.

Attorneys at Carlson Meissner Law Firm on Workers' Compensation

Attorney from Carlson, Meissner & Hayslett P.A.

What is a Workers’ Comp Accident?

When a worker gets hurt or develops an occupational illness, a workers’ compensation injury is typically considered eligible for a claim under your business insurance policy.

If the claim is accepted, the worker may receive medical coverage, replacement wages, and other benefits after a workers’ comp injury. However, to access these benefits, both the worker and employer must follow specific steps to ensure the injury is compensable.

The process of submitting a workers’ comp claim for a workplace injury or illness can be intricate due to the involvement of multiple parties: the worker, the employer, the insurance company, the healthcare provider, and the state’s workers’ comp board.

What Are the Most Common Types of Workplace Injuries?

Workers in Florida can suffer a wide range of injuries in the workplace. Many workers’ compensation claims involve:

  • Occupational disease
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken/fractured bones
  • Repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Back, neck, and shoulder strains
  • Eye injuries
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Burns

Our workers' comp lawyers in Tampa have helped farm workers, construction workers, truck drivers, roofers, restaurant workers, office staff, health care professionals and others get the benefits they deserve. If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury, don’t hesitate to seek legal representation from our team of attorneys. We have extensive experience trying cases in front of the judges of compensation claims, appealing adverse judicial decisions, and ultimately settling workers’ compensation claims.

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Workers’ Comp Insurance

Employers in Florida must purchase workers' compensation insurance, which provides benefits for work-related employee injuries, with some exceptions. Under this coverage, employees are compensated for injuries incurred on the job, regardless of fault, and it shields employers from certain employee injury lawsuits.

Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) oversees workers' compensation coverage. OIR regulates workers' compensation insurers' rates, forms, and financial stability to ensure a competitive market and protect insurance consumers.

In Florida, the Division of Workers' Compensation within the Department of Financial Services ensures that employees receive the appropriate benefits under this coverage, including medical expenses, disability, and death benefits.

When Should You File A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

It is in your best interest to initiate the workers’ compensation claim process as soon as possible after suffering a work-related injury. This is true even if the injury does not seem serious. You never really know how an injury could progress. What starts out as slight back pain or a simple bump to the head could develop into a more painful and serious condition over a short period of time. The law only gives you 30 days from the date of your accident or injury to notify your employer. Unfortunately, workers who wait to report their accidents or injuries until their condition gets worse, risk their claims being denied as it was not reported in a timely manner.

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What Are the Benefits of Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Employees who choose not to report an injury and instead use their health insurance benefits could end up with costly medical bills and lost wages from work. If you choose to use your own personal health insurance rather than file a workers’ compensation claim, there will likely be deductibles and co-pays which you will be required to pay out of your pocket. If your injury progresses to the point that you require continued medical care or even surgery, using your own health insurance could prove to be very expensive. But if you report a valid workers’ compensation injury, the insurance carrier has to pay 100% of all authorized and required medical care. This includes your medications, consultations, treatment, therapy, and all other medical expenses.

Also, if you end up having to miss time from work because of your injuries, your insurance company would not pay you for your lost wages. However, if you have a workers’ compensation claim and are taken out of work by your authorized doctor, the insurance carrier would be responsible for payment of wage loss benefits. This allows you to focus solely on your recovery instead of worrying about how you will make ends meet while you are out of work.

In order to protect yourself, your future earning potential, and your family, you should exercise your right to recover workers’ compensation benefits for a work-related injury.

Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits

Medical Benefits

Your employer is responsible for providing medical treatment through an insurance carrier. This includes access to an authorized primary doctor and specialist(s) when medically necessary, as well as all authorized medically necessary care and treatment related to your injury, such as:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical tests
  • Prescription drugs
  • Prostheses
  • Attendant care
  • Mileage reimbursement for travel to and from your authorized doctor and the pharmacy.

Lost Wages and Other Monetary Compensation

The workers’ compensation law outlines the compensation rate, amount, and duration for all disability types.

  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD) - Unable to Work: If your doctor determines that you cannot work due to your work-related injury or illness, you should receive compensation equal to 66 2/3% of your regular wages at the time of the injury, subject to a statewide maximum reimbursement amount. You will not receive temporary disability benefits for the first seven days of disability unless you are disabled for more than 21 days due to the work-related injury as determined by the authorized doctor.
  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) - Released to Restricted Duty: When the doctor states that you can return to work with restrictions, you may be eligible for Temporary Partial Disability Benefits if you are unable to earn 80% of the wages you were earning at the time of your accident.
  • Impairment Income Benefits (IIB) - At Maximum Medical Improvement & Rating Assigned: When your doctor states that you are at Maximum Medical Improvement and assigns a permanent impairment rating, you may be eligible for impairment income benefits based on that rating.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD)— Unable to Work Again: If your injuries are so severe that you are permanently unable to work after reaching Maximum Medical Improvement, you may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits.
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Death Benefits

In the unfortunate event of a work-related death within one year of the accident date or five years of continuous disability, the following benefits may be due and payable up to a maximum of $150,000:

  • Funeral expenses up to $7,500
  • Compensation to dependents as defined by Florida law
  • Educational benefits to the surviving spouse

How We Can Help You Maximize Your Benefits

At Carlson, Meissner & Hayslett, our experienced team is dedicated to helping you maximize your workers' compensation benefits. We understand the complexities of the workers' comp system and use our expertise to ensure you receive the full range of benefits you're entitled to. Here's how we can help:

Comprehensive Assessment

We start by conducting a thorough assessment of your case. This includes reviewing medical records, assessing the extent of your injuries, and understanding the impact on your ability to work and your daily life.

Benefit Determination

Based on our assessment, we determine the benefits you may be eligible for, such as medical benefits, wage replacement, vocational rehabilitation, and more. We ensure that all potential benefits are pursued on your behalf.

Navigating Complexities

The workers' compensation system has various rules, deadlines, and procedures. Our team navigates these complexities for you, ensuring that all necessary forms are completed accurately and submitted on time.

Negotiation and Advocacy

We negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to secure fair and adequate benefits. Our goal is to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.

Appeals and Disputes

If your claim is denied or if there are disputes regarding benefits, we are prepared to represent you in appeals and hearings. We have a strong track record of successfully challenging unfair denials and advocating for our clients' rights.

Client-Centered Approach

Throughout the process, we prioritize communication and transparency. You are kept informed at every stage, and we are always available to address your questions and concerns. Our client-centered approach ensures that your needs are our top priority.

Experience and Expertise

With decades of experience in workers' compensation law, our attorneys have the knowledge and skills to navigate even the most complex cases. We stay updated on changes in laws and regulations to provide you with the best possible representation.

By choosing Carlson, Meissner & Hayslett for your workers' compensation case, you can trust that you have a dedicated team working tirelessly to maximize your benefits and support you throughout the process. Your well-being and financial security are our primary focus, and we are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for you.

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Process of Filing a Workers’ Comp Benefits Claim

You need to initiate the procedure by promptly informing your employer about your injury or illness within 30 days of becoming aware of the injury or upon receiving confirmation from your doctor about a work-related condition. Failing to report your injury or illness within this timeframe may lead to the denial of your claim.

Next, follow these steps:

Record the details of the event and collect any available evidence.

To build a strong case, you must prove that your injury is related to your work. Write down or record what happened so you have a clear memory of the details. If you're in an accident, like a work-related car crash, try taking pictures to get all the details. Also, make sure to get the name and contact information of anyone who saw the accident where you got hurt, especially if it happened while you were working but not in your usual place.

Receive medical treatment. If there is an emergency, seek immediate medical treatment.

Otherwise, wait until you have informed your employer about the injury or illness because you will need to visit a physician authorized by the insurance company. When you do visit a doctor, provide a comprehensive description of your symptoms and explain what you believe to be the work-related cause of the issue(s). Request the doctor to thoroughly document and include any pertinent details to help establish that your workplace accident directly led to your injury.

Notify your employer about your injury.

The next step is to promptly notify your employer of your injury in writing or orally, even if you have not taken any time off from work. Check if your employer has specific procedures and deadlines for reporting injuries.

If your employer fails to report the injury, you can report it directly to the insurer using the appropriate form on the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation website. Your employer should display information about the workers' compensation insurance carrier in the workplace.

You can contact the insurance carrier and report the claim if it is available. If your employer has not posted the insurance information, you can seek assistance from the Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office to obtain that information.

Follow through with the insurance company to verify that your claim was submitted.

Your employer should give you the First Report of Injury or Illness form to fill out and sign. You must send this form to the insurance company within seven days.

The First Report of Injury or Illness form is used to gather information about you, your employer, the accident, and your injury. When you fill out your workers’ comp claim forms, you'll need to provide details like:

  • The type of injury
  • Where you were hurt
  • When and where it happened
  • Information from any witnesses
  • How the accident happened
  • The medical treatment you received

This form has two main parts:

  • The first part asks about you and the accident
  • The second part asks about your employer and your wages

You must complete both parts before sending the form to the insurance company. If you have a severe or long-term injury lasting eight or more days, the insurance company will fill out the last part and send it to the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

If you qualify for benefits, you should get paid within 21 days of reporting your injury.

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Helpful Tips to Navigate Florida’s Workers’ Comp

  • If your accident results in emergency treatment, inform the emergency room staff that it occurred at work and provide them with the contact information of your insurance carrier or employer
  • Do not seek treatment from your private doctor without authorization from the insurance carrier
  • If your employer or insurance carrier does not respond to your request for medical treatment, you can contact the Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office for assistance
  • Maintain thorough records of your injury details, medical records, and related costs like parking fees, medications, and travel expenses
  • Keep copies of all accident and injury-related forms and paperwork, as this documentation serves as evidence of your injuries and can support your claim for maximum compensation
  • Be careful when talking to the insurance company seeking information to dispute your disability or ability to work; remember, you are not obligated to provide a recorded statement about your injuries or their cause, even if requested
  • Inform the insurer that you will consult with your workers’ comp attorney first and allow your attorney to manage the situation

If disputes with your employer and insurer persist, your next step is filing a Petition. The Petition should include contact information for you, your employer, and its workers’ compensation carrier, along with:

  • Summary of job responsibilities and activities at the time of injury
  • Detailed accident description and injured body parts
  • List of claimed medical, lost-wage, and other benefits with rates and dates of denied coverage
  • Claim for interest/penalties on unpaid benefits and attorney fees and costs

You have two years from the injury date to file the Petition with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC) Clerk’s Office. Your attorney can file it electronically or in person.

How to Appeal if Your Claim is Denied

Employers and their insurance providers may seek to reject claims, but it is essential to maintain hope. You can challenge the denial by having your lawyer file an appeal for the court to review your original claim, which could result in you receiving the entitled benefits.

If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, a specific process follows the denial.

Notification Of Denial

Following the report of your accident, your workers’ compensation insurance provider should contact you, typically by mail, within a few days. The provider will investigate the claim and is expected to render a decision within 30 days. Rest assured that many claims are initially turned down, so if your claim is denied, it’s not necessarily the end of the road.

Appealing A Denied Claim

Injured workers can request a review from the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC) to contest a denied claim. You have a two-year window from the incident date to submit a Petition of Benefits, which will be sent to the insurance provider. The provider may then agree to provide benefits or submit a response justifying the denial of the claim. However, it’s important to note that an initial agreement by the provider to pay benefits does not guarantee that the claim will not be denied again in the future.


Mediation is arranged to settle any disagreements, after which a judge makes a decision. If there is no resolution or unfavorable outcome, it can be challenged in an administrative hearing before a Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC). The hearing resembles a trial, during which your lawyer presents evidence and testimony regarding the circumstances of your injury, the nature and severity of the injury, and how it has impacted your ability to work to support your claim.

The judge issues a decision within 30 days of the final hearing. Even this "final" decision can be appealed to the First District Court of Appeals. The appellate court may uphold the JCC’s decision, reverse it, or remand it to the JCC for further proceedings.

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Will You Face Consequences For Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim?

You should not be afraid to file a workers' compensation claim if you are hurt at work. Under Florida law, it’s illegal for an employer to retaliate against you in any way for choosing to file a workers’ compensation claim. An employer who fires you or punishes you in any way for filing a claim may be opening the door for a wrongful termination or retaliation lawsuit.

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Schedule A Free Consultation With Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Tampa Now

Have you suffered a work-related injury? If so, let the workers' compensation attorneys in Tampa fight for the benefits you deserve. For decades, we have guided injured clients in Tampa through the process of applying for workers’ compensation benefits. Let us help you resolve disputes with your employer’s insurance company so you can obtain the benefits you are entitled to by law. Learn more about how we can help during a free consultation with our team. To schedule a free consultation regarding your case, call 813-473-6132.

Workers' Compensation FAQ

What is maximum medical improvement?

What does a workers’ comp lawyer cost in Tampa?

What’s the difference between personal injury and workers’ comp claims?

Can I lose my health insurance while on workers’ comp?

After filing a claim, will I have to go to court?

What is maximum medical improvement?

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is a term used in workers' compensation cases to indicate that a worker's medical condition has stabilized to the point where further significant medical improvement is unlikely. It doesn't necessarily mean the worker has fully recovered but suggests that they have reached a plateau in their medical treatment.

What does a workers’ comp lawyer cost in Tampa?

The cost of hiring a workers' comp lawyer in Tampa can vary depending on the law firm and the complexity of your case. Many workers' comp attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they successfully obtain benefits for you. The fee is typically a percentage of the benefits obtained, often around 20-25%.

What’s the difference between personal injury and workers’ comp claims?

Personal injury claims and workers' compensation claims are different in several ways:

  • Personal injury claims result from accidents or injuries caused by someone else's negligence, such as car accidents or slip-and-fall incidents. They involve proving fault and seeking compensation for damages like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • Workers' compensation claims are for injuries or illnesses that occur in the workplace or are work-related. They provide benefits regardless of fault, covering medical expenses, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and other related costs.
  • Can I lose my health insurance while on workers’ comp?

    Generally, your health insurance coverage should continue while you're on workers' comp. Workers' compensation benefits are separate from health insurance, and your employer or their insurance carrier is responsible for covering your medical expenses related to the work injury.

    After filing a claim, will I have to go to court?

    Not necessarily. Many workers' comp cases are resolved through negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company, and sometimes mediation or arbitration. However, if a settlement cannot be reached or if disputes cannot be resolved informally, your case may proceed to a workers' comp hearing before a judge.

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