Work Place Injury
The laws surrounding work place injury, in Florida, fall under Chapter 440 of the Florida Statutes and the Workers’ Compensation laws. The first thing you need to do is report your injury to your employer and file a claim. Florida Law protects an employee from retaliation as a result of filing a claim. Your employer will then report your claim to his or her insurance carrier. Upon acceptance of the claim, normally, you will be entitled your medical expenses and lost wages. If your claim is denied, you will be well-advised to seek the advice of an attorney.
Once you report an injury, you are engaged in protected activity. This means, under the law, that the employment at-will relationship of the employment agreement is modified to the extent that the employer can not simply terminate you. Indeed, employer needs to be able to articulate a legitimate business reason for an adverse employment action. In other words, the employer must have a legitimate reason to say, terminate employee. If employer retaliates against employee for employee filing a workers compensation claim, then the employee may have a cause of action against his or her employer and recover damages which include unpaid wages, and in some circumstances, attorney fees, mental anguish, punitive damages. Additionally, the Circuit Court may impose employer to hire back employee and to enjoin employer from any further retaliatory conduct.
To answer the question posed directly, the employer does not get to choose which claims get paid and which claims do not get paid. Workers’ Comp claims are handled through a third party insurance or administrator. Your employer may provide light duty work, but it is not required to do so. Therefore, it is legally irrelevant what your employer wants to do or how he or she thinks your claim should be paid. The workers’ comp laws provide for payment, and your employers’ workers compensation policy pays for the employees wages, and not the employer.
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