Anderson & Hart, P.A.
...because justice matters
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1584 Metropolitan Blvd., Tallahassee, FL. 32308
647 Jenks Avenue, Suite B-1, Panama City, Florida 32401

Frequently Asked Questions

Offices in Tallahassee, FL & Panama City, FL

What will it cost me to speak to an attorney at Anderson & Hart?
Anderson & Hart, P.A., offers prospective clients a free (no-cost, no obligation) initial consultation. We will sit with you, discuss your claim and provide you an initial assessment of your claims. All free of charge.

Why do I need an attorney to represent me?
Whether you have a personal injury claim or a workers' compensation claim, odds are you are not familiar with the insurance claims process. You probably don't know your rights. You probably don't know your legal obligations. Even if you are knowledgeable about insurance claims, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by seeking Anderson & Hart's advice. You can only benefit by having an experienced attorney evaluate your claim and discuss the legal options available to you. Hiring an attorney may be necessary to prove your claim, fully value your damages and negotiate your claim with the negligent party's insurance company. Statistics show that an injured person represented by a attorney is likely to recover a greater percentage of his or her losses than is an individual who is not represented by an attorney.

Do I need an attorney whose practice involves personal injury law, workers' compensation and disability law?
A significant percentage of personal injury claims are accompanied by disability or work related claims. Many work related accidents have a personal injury side to them or result in litigation against an employer for wrongful termination. If the law firm you hire on a personal injury claim or a workers' compensation claim does not truly practice in each related area of the law, you may find yourself trying to hire multiple law firms to handle related claims. Hiring multiple law firms can lead to problems in coordinating the claims and in your ultimate recovery. It raises the classic question of does the left hand know what the right hand is doing? Anderson & Hart's ability to represent clients on personal injury, workers' compensation and disability claims allows the claims to be handled in a coordinated fashion.

What is the first thing I should do if I am injured on the job?
REPORT THE ACCIDENT to your supervisor! Generally, you have 30 days to report your accident to your employer. Make sure that your report of the accident is documented in writing by either you or the employer. It is extremely important that you report the accident as soon as it occurs as it preserves your right to seek treatment or wage loss benefits at a later date. Also, we recommend that you seek treatment initially as it is helpful to any workers’ compensation case to have medical documentation of your injuries at or near the time of the accident. If your employer does not document the accident or is unwilling to authorize a medical doctor, you should consult with an attorney.

Can I choose my own doctor?
Generally, the answer is no. The Florida Workers’ Compensation law primarily gives your employer and their workers’ compensation carrier sole control over selection of your treating physician(s). The Employer/Carrier will select your initial treating physician and each time you are referred to a new physician for treatment, the Employer/Carrier has sole control to select the doctor. However, remember that this doctor must be within the same specialty as the referral indicates. The only chance you have to select a doctor is when you request a “one-time change” of physicians. If the employer/carrier fails to respond to your “one-time change” request in writing within five days, you will be permitted to select your doctor within the same specialty.

Who is responsible for payment of my medical bills?
The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier and/or your Employer are responsible for payment of all “authorized” medical treatment related to your on-the-job injuries. If you receive notices from any of your authorized providers for non-payment, you should consult with an attorney to assist you in getting the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to pay the bills. Please remember that you should not use your personal health insurance to pay for medical treatment related to your injuries. If you do use your personal health insurance to pay for treatment related to a work accident, the personal health insurance will most likely request repayment. If this happens, you should consult with an attorney to discuss your rights and options.

When will I receive my first wage-loss check?
Generally, you will receive your first check from the workers’ compensation company within 8 to 21 days following your accident. However, remember that a physician must have either placed you on a no-work restriction or given you work restrictions that limit your ability to return to work before your entitlement begins. Unfortunately, you will not be paid for the first seven days following your date of accident unless your disability/work restrictions persists for more than 21 days. If you do not receive any monies from the workers’ compensation carrier after three weeks, you should consult with Anderson and Hart, P.A. or another experienced workers’ compensation attorney to find out what can be done.

How is the amount of my wage-loss benefits calculated?
The amount of wage-loss you will receive is based on your Average Weekly Wage (AWW). Generally, your AWW is calculated by averaging your gross pay (including any gratuities, bonuses or other income) for the 13 weeks preceding your work accident. If you did not work substantially the whole of the 13 weeks preceding the accident, the Employer/Carrier will most likely use your rate of pay on the date of hire (i.e. if you were hired full-time at $10.00 per hour your AWW would be $400.00 per week). The maximum compensation an injured worker may receive per week for 2016 is $863.00. This amount is adjusted annually.

How much will I receive in wage-loss benefits if I am injured on the job?
Injured workers may be entitled to five different types of wage loss benefits. These benefits are as follows:
1) Temporary Total Disability (TT) Benefits. If your doctor places you on a “no work” status, your entitlement to TT begins. You are entitled up to 260 weeks of these benefits. However, they will stop if one of the following occurs: a) the doctor places you at maximum medical improvement (MMI); b) the doctor subsequently releases you to full-duty work; or c) the doctor releases you to work with physical restrictions. While receiving TT benefits, you should be receiving 66% of your AWW.

2) Temporary Partial Disability (TP) Benefits. If your doctor places you on work restrictions, but your Employer has no position available for you within those restrictions, you are entitled to TP benefits. You are entitled to 260 weeks of these benefits. However, the 260 weeks of benefits are not in addition to the 260 weeks of TT benefits. You are entitled to a combined 260 weeks of temporary disability benefits. These benefits will stop if you reach maximum medical improvement, your doctor releases you back to work full-duty, or your Employer provides you a position earning at least 80% of your pre-accident income.

3) Impairment Benefits (IBs). Once your doctor places you at maximum medical improvement (MMI), he will assign you a permanent impairment rating if you have suffered a permanent injury. This impairment rating is based on the Uniform Permanent Impairment Guidelines. For each percentage point of the rating, you will receive two additional weeks of benefits regardless of whether you have returned back to work or not. However, the amount you will receive is calculated differently if you have returned to work.

4) Retraining Benefits - After achieving MMI, if your permanent restrictions keep you from returning to the field of work you have historically performed, you may be eligible for retraining through the State of Florida. If you are approved for retraining, you may be eligible to receive up to 52 weeks of wage loss benefits (66% of your AWW) while being retrained.

5) Permanent Total Disability Benefits - If you are unable to return to work in any capacity due to your physical restrictions, you may be entitled to receive permanent disability benefits (66% of your AWW) until age 70. If you become permanently disabled after age 65, you may be eligible for 5 years of wage loss benefits. If I am injured on the job, will I be able to keep my health insurance provided by my Employer?Generally, the answer is yes. However, if you pay a portion of your monthly premiums (or your employer deducts the premium from your paycheck each month), you are still required to continue to pay that premium to ensure no lapse in coverage if you are unable to return to employment.

If I am injured on the job, will I be able to keep my health insurance provided by my Employer?
Generally, the answer is yes. However, if you pay a portion of your monthly premiums (or your employer deducts the premium from your paycheck each month), you are still required to continue to pay that premium to ensure no lapse in coverage if you are unable to return to employment.

What should I do if I’ve been in an Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you were involved in a car accident, there are some helpful steps to take to ensure you do not inadvertently break the law and that you positively impact your insurance claim. Below are four steps to take:
1. Remain at the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident, even one you did not cause, is a criminal offense and you may find that you face criminal charges if you willfully leave the scene of an accident without exchanging driver and insurance information with the other parties involved.
2. Seek medical attention. Even if you feel that you may not be seriously injured, it is crucial that you are looked at by a doctor. At times car accident injuries may not present immediately.
3. Do not talk to anyone about what caused the accident. Do not give a statement to the insurance company or law enforcement regarding whether or not you may have caused the accident.
4. Contact an attorney as soon as possible. With proper legal representation from an experienced lawyer you can be sure that your interests are protected.

Do I have to receive medical treatment for my injuries? What if I don’t have the time or money to see a doctor?
The value of your case is determined by the nature and extent of your injuries. If you do not receive any medical treatment, it is unlikely that your personal injury attorney can prove damages to the insurance company and your case will have very little value, if any. Anderson & Hart can help you find experienced physicians that provide quality care at a time convenient to you. If you don’t have health insurance and can’t afford expensive medical treatment, we know physicians who provide medical care and bill directly against your personal injury case.

I’ve been injured in an accident. Do I need an attorney?
If you are able to prove that you have been injured physically or emotionally, or have incurred some sort of financial damage due to a personal injury accident, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. An attorney can determine whether or not your claims are valid. Most importantly, your lawyer can protect you from signing any sort of insurance settlement or release which may limit or bar you from getting additional compensation. In serious personal injury cases such as car accidents or slip and falls, retaining an attorney significantly increases your chances of recovering your full damages. If you have been injured, the only person who can represent your rights and interests in court is an experienced personal injury attorney.

Are there time limits to when I can file a personal injury case?Florida person injury laws contain statute of limitations - or a time restraint - for personal injury claims. Depending on the type of case, the time limitations within which you can file can range anywhere between one and five years. Failing to file a claim in the specified time restraints can bar a victim of personal injury from seeking compensation forever. As lawyers who seek the best possible resolution for our clients, we suggest pursuing legal action with an experienced attorney as quickly as possible to help guarantee that you achieve the results that you want.

What if the insurance company offers me a settlement?Many insurance companies will try to offer you a nominal settlement for your damages. If you receive a settlement offer from an insurance company directly, you should assume that it is nowhere near the actual amount you are entitled to. You may need an experienced attorney to negotiate and fight for on your behalf to obtain the damages you deserve!

If I hire Anderson & Hart, how do I pay for their services?
Anderson & Hart represents individuals on personal injury, wrongful death and wrongful termination claims on a contingency basis. This means the client is not charged a fee unless a recovery is made. We extend this principle to litigation costs and expenses. The firm bears the expense of litigation and trial costs unless a recovery is made.

When should I ask a Social Security Disability attorney for help?
The best approach is to contact the attorneys at Anderson & Hart, P.A., at the beginning of the claim process. Anderson & Hart, P.A. offers free consultations by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. The information you receive during the consultation could result in substantial back benefits in the event your claim is denied.

How long must I wait to file an application for Social Security Disability?
Although Social Security defines disability as an impairment that lasts a year or more, you do not have to wait until a year passes to file your claim. However, your doctor must document that your disability will prevent you from working for more than 12 consecutive months.

Who is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available to workers who have met the eligibility requirements for SSDI. Typically, if you have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years, you will have earned enough quarters of credit to be covered if you otherwise qualify.

Remember, you must have a medical condition that has prevented you, or will prevent you, from substantial gainful work activity for at 12 consecutive months.Those with less than the required credited social security pay may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a needs-based program administered by Social Security Administration but financed through general taxes.

If my initial claim is denied, am I ineligible for benefits?
No, you are not necessarily ineligible for benefits. An initial finding of ineligibility may be appealed. It is not unusual for an initial claim to be denied. Having the help of an experienced Social Security disability may help overturn the denial of your initial application. Remember, do not be surprised if your disability claim is denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA) — unfortunately, this commonly happens. Once you have been denied, you can ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge to receive benefits. Your appeal must happen within 60 days of the date on your denial letter. It is best for you to let an experienced social security disability attorney file the appeal to the administrative law judge and represent you at your hearing.

What Is a Severe Impairment?

A severe impairment is a severe medical condition that significantly interferes with the performing of normal daily functions or activities at a work site. A severe impairment does not necessarily have to be a disability, but it does have to have more than a minimal impact on the ability of a person to do his or her job. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes a variety of impairments as possible grounds for approving claims, including chronic pain, mental illness, cancer, heart disease and lung disease, digestive disorders, degenerative and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, spine injuries or other spine conditions, diabetes and epilepsy.

How do I pay for my lawyer?
Anderson & Hart, P.A. offers free first-time consultations for social security disability clients. If you hire Anderson & Hart, P.A., and you win your case, the firm receives 25% of your past-due benefits. Future benefits are not subject to a fee.