Your best option at this point is not to worry about suing the employer and instead to worry about the medical opinions and care that you are(n't) getting through the W/C system. If you don't agree with the opinions of the authorized doctor as to MMI and whether you still have some healing to do, then you can have your attorney challenge that opinion by getting an IME, which is an expert medical witness selected and hired by you. You didn't say where the "another doctor" who gave you the "second opinion" came from. Perhaps that was an IME set up by your lawyer? If not, and you are within 15 days of the exam by that doctor, you might still be able to use that doctor as your IME (but you'll have to act quickly!!!). In short, you do have options, and you should have an experienced W/C attorney guiding you through this process. If you're not getting the help you need, you can always change attorneys. There are many in the Ft. Lauderdale area who will offer free consultations.
If you still have an attorney, I would direct you to him or her as they are most up to speed about your case. If you don't have one anymore, you really need to get one at this point. Depending on what happens with work, your age, education, relevant work history, etc., you may be entitled to more benefits under WC. As for suing your employer - they are immune from a suit based on negligence, generally speaking. If you can't find anyone down there, feel free to give me a call.
You will not be able to sue your employer. The workers compensation statute prohibits claims against your employer. You are limited against your employer to a claim for wages and medical expenses. in exchange for not being able to make claims against employers a worker does not have to prove the injury was the result of the negligence of the employer. The employer merely has to prove the injury occurred in the scope and course of employment. Suing your employer is not an option.
You do have an avenue for relief. If you are still hurt and cannot work, you would still be entitled to benefits. You need to see your own well qualified doctors who will confirm that you have not reached MMI. If you do not have an attorney, you need one. Retain a lawyer who handles these type of cases.
First, you should discuss these issues with your attorney. If he is not able to answer them, you should find another attorney more qualified. To answer your first question, only in very rare circumstances can you sue your employer outside of the workers' compensation system. If you are not happy with your treatment, you are entitled to 1 change in doctor per case. However, you should discuss the request for a change in doctor with your attorney first. If you are physically incapable of performing your job, and the company does not have any other jobs within your restrictions, I believe they are within their right to let you go, as unfair as that may be. However, if you are unable to work because of your injury, and you get an authorized doctor to say you are not at MMI, you would be eligible for temporary disability benefits from the workers' compensation carrier. Again, you need to sit down with your attorney to determine the best cause of action.
If you feel you are unable to work, you can apply for social security benefits. If you are approved, it would be difficult for your employer to argue that you are capable of working. Call us to discuss! 770-982-2252
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