Frequently Asked Questions

What to expect in our first meeting?

Meeting with a workers’ compensation attorney shouldn’t be an intimidating experience.

Rather it should be useful. In our office, we collect information about your case and help clients to be well informed and comfortable when they come in for an initial consultation. We share important information in at least two ways and develop your case to best handle it for your unique situation.

When you first walk into our office, we’ll sit down and go over the reason for your visit. You will discuss your case with one of our attorneys. If you speak Spanish, you will discuss your case with a Spanish-speaking attorney. One of our staff members will collect information about you and your situation. We will ask you specific questions about your background, your employment, and your injury. Our interview will be extensive and in detail, to obtain the most complete information about your situation. When we are well informed, it allows us to better prepare your case. At the close of the meetings, we may have some tasks for you to do and help us follow up after our meeting, and we will also be running a series of processes after our meeting to start your case as soon as possible.

How much is my case worth?

Every workers’ compensation case is unique. The value will be based on the degree of your injuries, whether they will lead to future challenges, affect your ability to earn a living, require ongoing medical care, and many other factors. To determine the value of your claim will require reviewing your medical condition, valuing the financial losses you have experienced and will experience, and the work restrictions associated with your injuries.

Do I need a lawyer?

While a minor injury could be resolved without an attorney, any case that involves serious injury, catastrophic injury, or loss of life should be managed by a skilled personal injury lawyer.

How much will it cost to hire our law firm and when do you pay?

Our firm charges nothing unless we recover benefits for you. In a workers’ compensation case, you pay 30% or less when there is a recovery. The amount is often less because we often recover a portion of our attorney’s fees from the insurance company, sometimes 100%, thereby reducing or eliminating your responsibility for attorney’s fees. In a personal injury case, you pay 33% if the case settles before the defendant files an answer in a lawsuit, or 40% if the case does not settle before the defendant files an answer in a lawsuit.  Costs work the same way, whereby our costs are paid only if we recover benefits for you.  In workers’ compensation cases, we often recover part of our costs, sometimes 100%, thereby reducing or eliminating your responsibility for costs. You pay nothing unless and until we recover benefits for you.

What damages will be paid in my personal injury claim?

Your personal injury claim involves several types of damages, called “economic damages,” which are the financial losses you experienced, and “non-economic damages,” which are more personal and include pain and suffering and loss of quality of life.

Do I have a case?

You may be unsure if you have a right to seek compensation. Take advantage of our free case consultation to find out if your case has merit.

I was hit by a drunk driver who did not have insurance – what do I do?

Unfortunately, many drivers are operating vehicles without auto insurance. If the drunk driver has no insurance or is under-insured, a claim can be filed with your own auto insurance provider. Although a lawsuit could be filed to attempt to seek compensation by another method, these negligent drivers often do not have assets that make this approach successful.

Will my case go to court?

The vast majority of cases are settled without the need to take it to trial. However, you do want to ensure your workers’ compensation lawyer has trial skills, as this skill set is also needed to prepare a compelling case, present it in mediation or negotiations, and at trial if this is in your best interests. 

What if I was partially at fault?

Florida is what is termed a “comparative negligence” state. If you were partially responsible for what occurred, the amount of compensation you are paid would be reduced by the percentage that you are believed to be responsible for.

How long before I get my settlement?

You have the right to reject an offer of settlement that is too low, and our legal team at Panzer Law is here to guide you through this process and will do everything possible to expedite the process.

I filed for workers’ compensation benefits but was denied. What do I do?

It is not uncommon for a workers’ comp claim to be denied. If you received a “Notice of Denial,” it can be a shocking and worrying situation – you need the benefits you are entitled to under the law. If you were denied, our workers’ comp attorneys at Panzer Law can take your case in hand and file a Petition for Benefits.  This initiates the process and typically will lead to what is termed a “mediation conference” to attempt to resolve the dispute, and thereafter a trial before a judge if the dispute is unresolved.  Our legal team can take action on your behalf in this situation.

How much will I be paid in benefits after a work-related injury?

The benefits paid by the workers’ compensation system in Florida allow you between 64 percent and 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage, paid every two weeks.

What if my employer tries to stop me from seeking benefits?

Your employer must report your injuries, and if he or she fails to do so, could be subject to fines and penalties. While the employer has the right to dispute your claim once filed, they cannot stop you from filing a claim.

How long do I have to report a workplace injury?

You must report the injury or illness to your employer within 30 days of your knowledge of the injury, but with certain exceptions.

How long can I receive workers’ compensation benefits?

Disability benefits remain while you are recovering from your injury.  Thereafter additional disability benefits are available, and the duration depends on the extent of your injuries.  Medical benefits can be maintained indefinitely with the right strategy. 

What should you bring to our first meeting with a workers’ compensation lawyer?

You do not need to bring anything to the meeting. However, it is helpful to bring documentation relevant to your situation. For example:

  • A copy of a document showing the exact name and address of your employer (this allows us to clearly identify the employer involved).
  • Medical records or reports related to your injury (this allows us to identify who diagnosed you and details that may not have been mentioned compared to the information you provided at the meeting).
  • Documents about your salary or other records related to current employment income (these documents are very important in determining the size of each disability check you may receive under workers’ compensation).
  • Information or documentation from your employer’s insurance company (your employer’s insurance company pays your benefits and we file your claim against that insurance company).
  • Identifying information and statements of witnesses who were present at the time of the injury (if there is a dispute about the accident, the witnesses can help us win your case).
  • A list of questions that you have prepared (the attorney will answer your questions at the end of your meeting with the attorney).

Again, you may not have this information when we first meet. We will work with you to find out how to obtain this information if you need it. Due to our extensive experience, our attorneys routinely obtain important documents and materials relevant to your case.

Do I have to file a lawsuit against the employer?

Workers’ compensation cases are filed with the State of Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims.  Your employer at the time of accident will be named as a party, but virtually all employers we file against have workers’ compensation insurance, and the insurance company will be paying your benefits, not your employer.

What should I do if have an accident while on the job?

If you have a work accident…

  • Notify your employer right away.
  • Ask your employer to send you to a doctor.
  • Even if your employer does not send you to a doctor, see a doctor right away to make sure that you are diagnosed and treated, and to ensure that your complaints are documented.
  • Keep records of the expenses you incur as a result of the accident and copies of all paperwork.
  • Speak to an attorney as soon as possible to ascertain your legal rights.
  • Avoid giving an interview to the insurance company adjuster without first speaking to an attorney.

What benefits are paid after a work-related death?

If you lost a loved one due to fatal injuries sustained at work, you have the right to compensation under Florida’s workers’ compensation law. The benefits paid include funeral expenses up to $7,500 and a percentage of the average weekly wages your loved one earned. These are often complicated cases, and we urge you to speak with our workers’ comp lawyer at Panzer Law at once if your loved one has passed away after suffering a work-related accident. We will fight to ensure your right to compensation is protected.

What industries have the highest number of work accidents?

Construction is one of the most dangerous of all industries in America. People who work in this industry face many risks every day. Some of the most common workplace accidents in the construction industry include being hit by falling tools or debris, falls, electrocutions, explosions, burns, machinery accidents, trapped in or between, trench collapses, rollovers, and vehicle accidents, among others.

What are the most common types of work-related injuries?

An injury can occur in any work environment. Some of the most common types of injuries include slips and falls, strains, lacerations, burns, hearing damage, toxic exposure, vehicle accidents, eye injuries, broken bones, neck, shoulder, or back injuries.