Answering Common Questions About Negligence and Injuries Sustained in Florida

Come get your personal injury and accident questions answered on topics including motorcycle accidents, automobile accidents, disability insurance, and workers’ compensation matters. We handle cases throughout Florida concentrating on the greater Central and North Florida area, and we have the in-depth answers you need.

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  • Where is the nearest Social Security Administration office?

    man_and_woman_SS officeA few years ago, people applying for Social Security disability benefits would have to drive to the nearest office to complete an application in-person, and would likely make a trip back every time they needed to collect their checks.

    These days, you can apply for benefits and set up direct deposit online, making it much easier to access your benefits from home. However, there are still instances where applicants may need to visit their local Social Security office.

    How to Find the Social Security Administration Office Nearest You

    The Social Security Administration's website has an easy-to-use tool that gives you all the necessary information about your local Social Security Office:

    1. Go to www.ssa.gov and click “Menu” in the top right corner.
    2. In the menu on the left, click on the link that says “Contact Us.”
    3. On this page, click on the link that says "Find an Office." 
    4. Type in your zip code.

    The site should respond with the address, regular telephone number, toll free number, hours of operation, driving directions, and other useful information about the Social Security Office closest to you.

    Help for Social Security Disability Claimants Near Ormond Beach

    For the convenience of claimants filing for disability benefits in Ormond Beach, we've provided information below for the four nearest Social Security offices. All of these locations close early on Wednesdays, and aren't open on Saturday or Sunday.

    Port Orange

    • Address: 4990 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Port Orange, FL 32127
    • Phone: 1-866-210-8089
    • Driving Directions: Merge onto I-95 S and take exit 256 for FL-421 toward Port Orange. Use the left two lanes to turn left onto FL-421 E/Taylor Rd (signs for Williamson Blvd. S/Port Orange/Daytona Beach Shores). Turn right onto Clyde Morris Blvd. The office is on the right, behind Walgreens.

    DeLand

    • Address: 1629 S. Adelle Ave., DeLand, FL 32720
    • Phone: 1-866-964-7396
    • Driving Directions: Merge onto I-95 S and continue onto I-4 W. Take exit 116 from I-4 W and turn left onto Orange Camp Rd. Turn right onto S. Woodland Blvd., and use the left two lanes to turn left onto FL-15 (Taylor Rd). Turn left onto S. Adelle Ave. The best time to visit this office is on Tuesday or Friday.

    Lake Mary

    • Address: 101 Commerce St. (Ste. #2001), Lake Mary, FL 32746
    • Phone: 1-866-964-7379
    • Driving Directions: Merge onto I-95 S and continue onto I-4 W. Use the right two lanes to take exit 98 toward Lake Mary/Heathrow. Turn left onto W. Lake Mary Blvd., then turn right onto Lake Emma Rd. The office is on the corner of Lake Emma Rd. and Commerce St., directly across the street from Sun Lake Apartments.

    St. Augustine

    • Address: 2428 Old Moultrie Rd., St. Augustine, FL 32086
    • Phone: 1-877-405-5867
    • Driving Directions: From I-95 N, take exit 298 to merge onto US-1 N toward St. Augustine. Turn left onto Lewis Point Rd, then turn right onto Old Moultrie Rd. The office is on the right, directly across the street from Hideaway Lake Dr.

     

    If your benefits application has been denied, or you need help appealing your disability benefits decision, simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a consultation with our Social Security disability attorneys at no cost to you.

     

  • How long should I wait before applying for Social Security disability benefits?

    applying_for_ssIt can be difficult to know at what point you should attempt to claim disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn't provide short-term disability payments, so claimants are expected to be out of work for 12 months or longer to qualify for benefits.

    However, it's usually better for disabled workers to apply for Social Security disability benefits as soon as possible, even if they're not sure if their injury will last more than a year.

    The Benefits of Applying for Social Security Disability Early

    Social Security disability claims can take several months or even a year to process, forcing disabled claimants to live on an extremely tight budget while they wait for a decision. The good news is that if benefits are approved, the SSA will issue a payment for each month you're disabled—including many of the months you were waiting for a decision. The SSA provides up to 12 months of past-due disability benefits, also known as back pay, in one lump sum payment.

    The amount of disability back pay you can receive depends on many different factors, including:

    • Date of application. Applicants are eligible to receive benefits back to their date of application, or even in the year prior to application if they were disabled for 12 months before claiming benefits.
    • Medical onset date. Some applicants will have a different established onset date (EOD) than the day they actually became disabled, known as the medical onset date (MOD). The medical onset date is the date your impairment first met the medical criteria for the SSA’s definition of disability.
    • Established onset date. The EOD is the date that the SSA acknowledges as the beginning date of your disability. Generally, it's the date determined after considering all of the medical and non-medical factors surrounding your disability. If your EOD is before your application date or before your approval for benefits was issued, you should be eligible to receive back pay.
    • Mandatory waiting period. The SSA has an automatic five full month waiting period after your EOD on all benefit applications. If you're approved, you'll receive benefits back to your eligible disability date, minus the waiting period. So for example, if your EOD is February 12, your benefits will start after the waiting period on August 1.

    If you're unable to work and have paid into Social Security during your past employment, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a consultation with our Social Security attorneys at no cost to you.

     

  • How much does workers’ compensation pay while I am out of work?

    work comp claimOne of the most common concerns after a work injury is the amount of money an employee will receive in workers' compensation.

    However, wage payments are just one of many types of workers' compensation benefits that can offset the cost of an injury on the job.

    Payments Available Under
    the Florida Workers’ Compensation System

    The most important benefit offered under workers' compensation is full payment for all necessary medical bills related to the work injury.

    As long as the treatment is reasonable, the employer’s insurer should cover the full cost of doctor visits, lab testing, diagnostic testing, prescription medications, and rehabilitative therapies.

    Injured employees can also be reimbursed for out-of-pocket costs related to medical treatment, including mileage incurred while traveling to and from appointments, public transportation, and parking fees.

    In addition to medical coverage, workers' compensation provides payment for:

    • Wage replacement. Employees who are temporarily unable to work after an injury are eligible for weekly income replacement. The amount of these benefits is based on the employee’s average weekly wage (AWW), or your average earnings in the 13 weeks before your injury occurred.

      If you're completely unable to work, workers' compensation will pay you 66.67 percent of your AWW. If you're under a doctor’s work restrictions that your employer cannot accommodate, workers' compensation pays you 64 percent of your average weekly wage. These benefits are paid on a bi-weekly basis.
       
    • Disability benefits. If your injury reaches a point where it's no longer expected to improve and you're still limited in the work that you can do, workers' compensation may continue to provide partial or total disability payments indefinitely.
       
    • Vocational rehabilitation. If you cannot return to the job you used to do, workers’ compensation may pay for your vocational retraining, allowing you to transition into another career path without incurring extra costs.

    Our experienced legal team can calculate the losses caused by your work injury, allowing you to get maximum payment from workers' compensation. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a consultation with our work injury attorneys at no cost to you.

     

  • Can I choose my own doctor to treat my workers’ compensation injury?

    Since your employer is required to pay your medical bills if you're injured on the job in Florida, the employer’s insurance company determines the doctor who treats your injuries. If you don't like the doctor the insurance company chooses, you may be allowed to change physicians—but this must be done extremely carefully.workers'_comp_doctor

    Changing Workers’ Compensation Doctors in Florida

    After you report your injury, your employer’s insurance provider will give you the name of a primary care physician who you must see for treatment of your work-related injury.

    If the physician refers you to a specialist, such as a skin cancer surgeon for melanoma on the job, that specialist must also be authorized by the employer’s insurance carrier before treatment with him or her begins.

    Workers' compensation law allows employees to change doctors one time during the course of injury treatment. However, there are some risks involved with changing workers’ compensation physicians, such as:

    • Your insurer picks the doctor. When you make a request to change doctors, you still cannot pick the physician you'll see. The insurance company has a duty to respond to your written request and select another authorized provider within five days. If the insurance representative doesn't respond within five days, you may select whatever doctor you want, and the workers' compensation insurer will have to pay the bills.
    • You may have the same problems with a new doctor. Since you don't have control over which doctor you'll see, there's always a chance that you'll not like the new professional any more than the previous one.
    • You cannot change back. Since you can only change doctors once for any work accident, you're not allowed to change back to your original doctor if you don't like the second physician chosen for you.

    Insurance providers have reasons for choosing the physicians they allow to treat work injuries, none of which cater to the injured employee. If you're having trouble getting the treatment you need after an injury on the job, we can help. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a consultation with our workers' compensation attorneys at no cost to you.

     

  • How long can I receive Florida workers' compensation benefits?

    Many employees take consolation in knowing that their employers will pay for medical treatment and lost wages after an accident on the job. However, some employees will still be unable to work months or even years after the injury occurs.

    If you're one of these employees, you should know that workers’ compensation will continue to cover some of your injury costs as long as you're unable to earn a living.

    time limitDuration of Workers' Compensation Benefits for Florida Employees

    Since every injury is different, the amount of time an employee can collect workers’ compensation varies from person to person. In general, the time limit for workers’ compensation benefits depends on kind of injury you suffered and how much it
    affects your ability to work.

    There are also different time limits for each type of workers’ compensation benefit. For example, you may see a longer or shorter window of benefit payment when collecting:

    • Temporary disability. Florida workers' compensation law allows an injured worker to receive up to a maximum of 104 weeks of temporary compensation. The employee must remain on a "no work" status—or under limitations which an employer cannot accommodate—in order for benefits to be claimed for the week.
    • Medical benefits. Medical benefits don't expire as long as the need for the care is related to the industrial accident. However, you must receive "authorized" medical care at least once every 12 months for workers' compensation to cover the costs.
    • Permanent partial disability. If an employee is still unable to work after temporary benefits have expired, or the patient has reached maximum medical improvement, he or she is entitled to impairment income benefits. Payment may continue until the specific time limit established for the degree and type of disability or until the death of the employee.
    • Permanent total disability. If the injury results in total lifelong disability, an employee can collect 66.67 percent of his or her average weekly wages as long as he or she is unable to perform any kind of work. Payment of these benefits may continue until the employee reaches age 75. Payments will be discontinued if it's discovered the employee is physically capable of performing employment within a 50-mile radius of his or her home.

    If you've suffered permanent effects from an accident on the job, we can help you obtain a fair workers' compensation settlement. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a consultation with our work injury attorneys at no cost to you.

     

  • How soon after a crash should I talk to a motorcycle accident attorney?

    client_and_lawyerMany people don't even consider hiring a motorcycle accident attorney until several weeks after the crash occurs. Some need help getting the insurance company to approve the claim or get sufficient compensation, while others can't fight on their own behalf due to the severity of their injuries.

    Regardless of the circumstances involved with your accident, it's always best to consult with an attorney who you trust as soon as possible—
    and it likely won't cost you anything to do so.

    Advantages of Speaking with a Lawyer Soon After Your Motorcycle Crash

    The truth is, even if you don't need an attorney to handle your case, there are always benefits to consulting with a lawyer sooner rather than later. By taking action quickly, you're giving your legal team a greater chance to be able to:

    • Gather evidence and witnesses. Almost 70 percent of motorcycle accidents involving multiple vehicles are caused by drivers who violate a motorcyclist's right of way. Evidence is often discarded in the days following a crash, and witnesses disappear after the accident scene is cleared. These factors make the investigation more difficult with each passing day.
    • Investigate road conditions. Uneven pavement, sharp turns, steep grades, and gaping potholes cause a motorcyclist to lose control of the bike. We can identify road conditions that may have been contributing factors the crash, including roadway design, construction, maintenance, and functionality of signs and traffic signals.
    • Inspect motorcycle and safety gear. You may need an inspection of your motorcycle and riding gear to determine whether the accident was caused by mechanical failure or whether your safety gear didn't comply with government standards.
    • Negotiate with insurance companies. Insurance company adjusters are well aware of the stress an accident places on a victim, and they might use this as leverage to get an individual to settle as quickly as possible. An attorney can step in and handle negotiations on your behalf, getting you fair payment while you take the time needed to heal.

    At Johnson & Gilbert, P.A., we make it as easy as possible for victims to get injury compensation without paying any costs up front. We offer free case evaluations to advise you of your rights at no cost, and we take motorcycle accident cases on a contingency-fee basis, so you don't have to pay us anything unless we make a recovery for you. Simply fill out the form on this page today to speak with one of our injury attorneys.

     

  • What are the simplest ways to protect myself from a motorcycle accident?

    motorcyclistWhile consistent on-the-road practice and visual hazard identification techniques for motorcyclists greatly help riders avoid an accident, they should also ride as if a crash was imminent—and be prepared for what happens afterward.

    Motorcyclists often invest in top-of-the-line safety gear and bike upgrades, and these are helpful. But few bikers invest in the most important protections, leaving themselves and their loved ones struggling after an accident.

    Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from the Deadly Effects of a Motorcycle Crash

    The absolute easiest way for motorcyclists to protect themselves is to wear a DOT-approved helmet. It's your best defense against serious or fatal head trauma—including facial injuries, road rash, brain damage, and paralysis—and should be worn for every ride.

    Three more simple things all motorcycle riders can do to protect themselves and their families include:

    • Get extra coverage. Make sure you have adequate insurance to cover all kinds of accident scenarios. Although Florida doesn't require motorcyclists to carry personal injury protection (PIP), riders should have as much coverage as they can afford to offset the costs of a crash. A strong PIP policy includes liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and comprehensive coverage for bike repair. Life insurance is also highly recommended for motorcyclists, especially if they have partners or children who rely on their support and income.
    • Carry a medical card. First responders to an accident scene know nothing about the victims, and cannot ask unconscious people vital questions about their health conditions. You should always carry a card with your identification to let paramedics know what medication you take, your blood type, any allergies you have, your health complications, emergency contacts, and other aspects that might affect your treatment.
    • Plan for the worst. Nobody likes to think about what will happen if they suffer a fatal injury on a bike ride. However, having directives in place help your family know what to do next if you're incapacitated or killed in an accident. You can prevent further losses by designating a financial and healthcare power of attorney to make decisions on your behalf. Also create a last will and testament so your final wishes are followed.

    Our Florida injury attorneys take motorcycle accident cases on a contingency-fee basis and provide free initial case evaluations, making it as easy as possible for victims to get injury compensation at no cost to them. Simply fill out the form on this page today to speak to a member of our team.

     

  • Can I file a work injury lawsuit and still get workers’ compensation?

    lawsuit_formIt depends. Under Florida law, employees are granted workers’ compensation in exchange for the right to sue employers after a work injury.

    If an employee is covered by workers’ compensation, he cannot bring an injury lawsuit against his employer, supervisor, or coworkers.

    However, if a third party is responsible for causing the work accident, an employee can sue the negligent party in addition to filing a workers' compensation claim.

    Possible Third Parties in Work Injury Claims

    A “third party” in a work injury case is a person or company not related to the employer. Third parties aren't covered by workers’ compensation laws, and can be sued for negligence if their actions contributed to your injury.

    Potential third parties in a Florida injury case include:

    • Contractors. Many employers outsource portions of their business operations to other companies. Any entities such as loading companies, building contractors, inspectors, or cleaning services may be liable for negligence.
    • Product manufacturers. If an injury was caused by poor design or manufacturing defects that caused a product to fail, the maker of the product can be held liable.
    • At-fault drivers. If you were in a car accident on the job, the driver who struck you can be sued in a personal injury claim.
    • Property owners. If you were injured while visiting a residence or business as part of your job, owners of these premises can be sued for negligence.

    It's important to note that if your third party injury claim is successful, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may attempt to get some or all of its money back. The insurer can file a subrogation interest in your claim, essentially asking that the at-fault party pay for the total cost of injuries in your case.

    Although you may have to repay these benefits, it's still worth filing a workers’ compensation claim first, because these benefits are paid to employees immediately after an injury. Suing for damages can take a year or more.

    If you're recovering from an injury on the job, our Florida workers’ compensation attorneys can help you understand your legal options and negotiate the maximum amount you deserve for your suffering. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a free consultation.

  • How can I tell if the insurance company is offering enough to settle my workers' compensation case?

    settlementInsurance companies may prefer to offer a settlement in some workers’ compensation claims rather than pay for ongoing benefits.

    When deciding whether or not to settle a case, it's crucial to understand what you're giving up in exchange for an up-front payment.

     

    When You Accept a Workers' Comp Settlement, Here's What Changes

    Settling may seem like an easy option for both a claimant and a workers’ compensation insurer, since all of the money owed in your claim is paid immediately. Accepting a workers' compensation settlement provides a large lump-sum payment from the insurer, but it also means the loss of your:

    • Weekly benefits. All weekly payments, including wage loss benefits, are terminated after settling a workers’ compensation case. Individuals may also lose their vocational rehabilitation benefits if they're transitioning to different employment.
    • Medical payments. The majority of Florida workers’ compensation settlements prevent claimants from filing any future claims for injuries suffered while working for the employer, including those that haven't been identified at the time of settlement.
    • Right to future payment. Settling means giving up the right to future workers’ compensation benefits for your injury, so it's vital that your settlement is enough to last for the rest of your life. Unlike personal injury settlements, workers’ compensation settlements don't offer payment for pain and suffering, resulting in lower overall damages. Additionally, the judge in your case cannot require the insurance company to pay more to settle a case, nor force either party to accept a settlement.

    You should consider the amount of your workers’ compensation settlement extremely carefully before you accept an offer.

    Our Florida work injury attorneys can help you calculate the full amount of your potential benefits in order to get maximum compensation for your on-the-job injury. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a consultation at no cost to you.

     

  • Who's supposed to pay for my medical bills after a car accident?

    medical_billsWhile filing a personal injury lawsuit will help you recover the costs of your crash, you may have to wait several months—or even a year—before your damages are awarded.

    So who's expected to pay for accident-related medical bills in the weeks after your injury? This article explores the most common sources of payment for medical bills incurred by a car accident.

    Entities That May Be Liable for Your Medical Bills

    The first place to turn for accident payment is your no-fault insurance. Florida requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance in order to drive legally. Under Florida's personal injury laws, your PIP insurance pays for 80 percent of your bills and 60 percent of lost wages, regardless of who's at fault for a crash.

    If medical costs exceed your no-fault insurance policy limits, you may be able to file additional claims through:

    • Your optional car insurance. Although they're not required by Florida law, additional forms of car insurance coverage such as bodily injury liability and uninsured motorist coverage will pay for crash-related injuries. If you purchased these policies, they might benefit you in the long run.
    • Your health insurance provider. If your medical bills exceed the limits of your PIP coverage, your health insurance provider may pay for the remainder of the costs. This includes insurance provided by an employer, Medicare, or a state-run Medicaid insurance program.
    • Workers’ compensation. If your accident occurred in the course of your employment, your workers’ compensation insurer is responsible for all of your medical costs. You don't have to exhaust your PIP, pay any copays or deductibles, or pay for travel expenses to and from doctors’ appointments.
    • The at-fault driver’s insurer. If your insurance is exhausted, you may be able to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance carrier.

    If you're having trouble paying your medical bills after a car accident, we can help. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule your free case evaluation and have our attorneys explain your options.