Daniel DeCiccio and Wayne Johnson are board certified in workers’ compensation law by the Florida Bar. This is the highest degree of specialization recognized by the Florida Bar. We at DeCiccio & Johnson have handled and tried hundreds of workers’ compensation cases throughout Florida on behalf or injured workers and employers. Workers’ compensation is an area of the law that is constantly changing. Mr. Johnson and Mr. DeCiccio are Board Certified in the field and can help you navigate through this confusing system that is not always friendly to the injured worker.
Some cases are straightforward like a worker who ruptures a disc in his or her back from lifting a heavy box at work. Other cases can be more complicated like cases from mold exposure at work. Repeated physical injury cases ("repeated trauma") such as carpel tunnel syndrome from doing a lot of typing are labeled as "exposure cases." These exposure or occupational cases have special rules and are more difficult to win. We handle them.
Injured workers are sometimes afraid to hire a lawyer and assert their legal rights for fear of being fired. The Florida Workers’ Compensation Act expressly forbids firing someone for filing a legitimate workers’ compensation claim or petition for benefits. Claims are decided by a Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC), an individual with a lot of experience in handling workers’ compensation cases as a lawyer who is later appointed as a JCC. Cases are decided at adversarial evidentiary hearings, like trials but without a jury, based on admissible evidence governed by the Florida Evidence Code.
Workers’ compensation cases can involve multiple other claims. Depending on the facts, a person injured on the job may have a civil law suit against the wrongdoer or third party; he or she may have other insurance benefits available such as personal injury protection (PIP) benefits or uninsured motorist (UM) benefits. We handle these other types of cases and will review your case to make sure we pursue all claims available to you under the law.
Workers’ compensation has its own terms and abbreviations: MMI or maximum medical improvement; TTD or temporary total disability benefits; MCC or major contributing cause and, PTD or permanent total disability. We at DeCiccio & Johnson can make these terms understandable in the context of your case.
Basically, there are two categories of benefits: medical benefits and compensation (money) or indemnity benefits. Generally, the insurance company selects the doctor and the injured workers may see only an authorized doctor or health care facility. The injured worker can choose his or her pharmacy.
You get to collect benefits if the injury by accident arises out of and within the course and scope of employment. Medical benefits include attendant care, doctor visits, medicine, x-rays, MRI’s, hospitalization, and medical mileage. Compensation benefits include temporary benefits up to 260 weeks, PTD benefits up to age 75 and permanent impairment benefits which are scheduled compensation benefits.
Special rules apply for cases covered by a managed care arrangement versus cases not covered by managed care. The injured worker has a right to a one-time change of physician during the life of the claim, an independent medical examination and, depending on the facts, a $2,000 lump sum advance.
If you are injured on the job, be sure to immediately report your injury to your boss or supervisor or you may lose the right to collect benefits. While exceptions apply, generally you must report your accident timely which means within 30 days from when it occurred.
Workers’ compensation fraud in Florida is a very serious matter. Not only is it a felony, fraud can result in all workers’ compensation benefits being discontinued forever—even if the accident and injury happened on the job and the injury is serious. An injured worker should never misrepresent facts to the adjuster, doctor or employer. Honesty is the best—and only—policy in workers’ compensation.
Benefits are payable if an employee’s employment is the major contributing cause of the disability or need for medical treatment. Carriers oftentimes use nurse case managers not only to manage the medical care for the injured worker, but also, to question the doctor if the employment is and remains the major cause for the need for medical care and compensation payments. If the authorized doctor says “no” then compensation benefits and medical care can be suspended.
Workers’ compensation cases can be very serious such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, severe burns, amputations, and herniated discs in the spine requiring multiple surgeries. Some injures qualify for permanent total disability where the injured worker cannot return to gainful employment.
Insurance companies generally want to settle most claims. Open claims are liabilities or risks. Adjusters will often say, “The best claim is a settled claim.” Before you settle, however, it is important to assess claim value and make sure you obtain the settlement you deserve based on the facts of the case and the applicable law which changes frequently.
We at DeCiccio & Johnson have the experience and knowledge to handle your workers’ compensation claim from the beginning, through trial and settlement. Contact us at DeCiccio & Johnson about your workers’ compensation claim.