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Employer denies responsibility for workplace accident

The personal life and the course of the employment of a worker in Florida can change in the blink of an eye. A workplace accident -- often caused by an unsafe work environment -- can jeopardize a worker's ability to take care of his or her family. Although benefits may be claimed through the workers' compensation insurance program, problems may arise if an employer denies that an injury is work-related.

Such was the case when a 46-year-old employee of a metal door manufacturer in Miami suffered a workplace injury in 2009. His employer authorized a visit to a designated health facility where he was diagnosed with shoulder, neck and head contusions. However, both the company and the insurance carrier refused to authorize a request by the physician to carry out medical treatment regarded as necessary, including x-rays, physical therapy and medications.

The injured victim then retained the services of legal counsel. He subsequently petitioned for temporary total or partial disability benefits along with legal costs and attorney's fees. The employer and its insurance carrier denied responsibility for compensation, claiming that the worker was responsible for his own injuries.

This reportedly turned out to be an extremely complicated case. After defeating as many as 12 of the company's defenses, the worker's attorney successfully secured compensability for the injuries the man suffered in the workplace accident and the attorney's fees. Some contention arose at this stage, because, in Florida, the compensation for legal fees are based upon a prescribed sliding scale schedule, and in this case, the awarded amount equaled less than $2.00 per hour, which was declared to be entirely unacceptable by all concerned.

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