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Areas of Practice

Benjamin A. Winter, P.A.

-Workers Compensation

Even in the best of situations, the Florida Workers Compensation Law is complicated and difficult to manage.  The workers compensation law requires that an employer provide medical care and lost wages for an injured employee.  It supposed to be a “self-executing system”.  However, the Florida legislature has also made it difficult for an employee to obtain these same lost wages and medical treatment, requiring an injured worker to navigate a number of procedural hurdles as part of the claim.  If you have been injured on the job, it is important to have an experienced professional available to answer questions and guide you through this difficult process

The first hurdle after a work-related accident is that the accident must be “timely reported.”  This does not mean it must be reported immediately, instead you must tell your employer about the injury within thirty (30) days of the accident.  It is important that an injured worker request that a Notice of Injury be completed by the employer.  Despite this 30 day grace period, the earlier the injury is reported, the smoother the claim is likely to go.


workers compensation st Petersburg
 

 Once an injury is reported, an employer is supposed to provide medical care to the injured worker.  This medical care is supposed to be provided as long as it is medically necessary and the major contributing cause of the need for that treatment is the injury.  However, the employer is generally able to choose the doctor the injured worker may see.  That doctor is the “authorized” doctor.  In order for the treatment to be paid for, the injured worker must generally see the “authorized” doctor offered by the employer.  As the injured employee, you do have the right to a one-time change in doctor, but again that doctor will likely be chosen by the employer.  

In addition to medical treatment, an injured worker who is not able to work, or is given a restriction on his or her ability to work, may be eligible for indemnity (or money) benefits.  These benefits are meant as a partial replacement for the employees lost wages and are generally paid at 60% or 66 2/3% of the workers wages depending on the restrictions given by your treating authorized doctor. 

The key words in the above paragraph are “should” and “may”.  If you feel that you have not been provided with medical or money benefits, or if you have questions about this process, the advice of a professional is vital in navigating the workers compensation process.  This is especially true when the insurance company has denied benefits to you, the injured worker. Contact us for a free workers’ compensation consultation.

-Personal Injury

The time following an injury can be emotional and confusing.  In addition to dealing with an injury and damage to you property, you may be pressured by the insurance company to settle or release them from any further claims.  However, if you are injured due to another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to additional compensation for your injuries and payment of your medical bills.  

Under Florida Law, all drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance.  This provides for payment of medical bills (at an 80% rate) and lost wages due to an automobile accident up to a $10,000 limit.  In order to compensate you for damages above $10,000, including lost wages, medical expenses and your pain and suffering, an injured driver must generally satisfy a Limitation on Lawsuit Threshold.  This threshold requires either: 1) death; 2) dismemberment; 3) significant disfigurement or scarring; or 4) a “permanent injury”.  “Permanent injury” is defined as a body part or organ that has not healed to normal function and will not heal to normal function with further medical care.  This determination can generally only be made by a licensed medical professional.  Furthermore, the Florida legislature recently passed a law which places requirements on an injured party to claim benefits within two-weeks of the injury.  Failure to do so may result in a denial of benefits. 

The insurance company has experienced people working for them in their handling of the claim.  It only makes sense that you would also have an experienced guide through this difficult time.  If you don’t recover any financial award, we do not collect any attorney’s fees.  Ben strives to maximize your recovery, and looks forward to hearing from you.  Contact us for a free personal injury consultation. 

-Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits are designed as a safety net for those who are no longer able to work because of a disability.  Despite the goal of providing that safety net, the Social Security Disability benefit process is often long and complicated.  The Social Security Administration utilizes a five (5) step process to determine whether a person is disabled.  This process includes many potential issues and lots of confusing terminology.  There are many factors which may play a part in whether you qualify for disability.  These factors include your medical diagnosis, age, education and work history.  Of these factors, the most important is your medical condition/diagnosis and the limitations it causes you.  As a result, if you are receiving treatment for your injury or illness, it is important that you tell your doctor how the condition is limiting you, as the information they place in their medical records is the heart of your disability claim.      

The Social Security Disability process can (literally) take years.  The vast majority of applicants are not accepted on their initial application.  As a result, an initial denial does not mean that you will not eventually be recognized as disabled.  An initial denial simply means that your claim will have to proceed beyond that initial step.  After that initial denial, you have the opportunity to appeal by filing a Request for Reconsideration.  A large number of applicants are denied at the second stage as well.  At that time, you have the opportunity to appeal again and request a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.  It is important to have a professional helping you to navigate this long, confusing process.  Ben looks forward to hearing from you and helping you in this process.   Contact us for a free Social Security consultation.

-Real Estate

Buyer or Seller Representation
The purchase of real property is the largest single purchase most people will ever make.   Whether it is the purchase of a primary residence, second home, investment property or commercial property, the advice of an attorney can be invaluable in steering you through potential issues and protecting your interests from contract to closing during this process.  

Real Estate Closings
Ben serves as a closing agent and is an agent of Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, allowing him to issue Title Insurance as part of your real estate closing.  Ben looks forward to handling your real estate closing.

Real Estate Litigation
Of course, real estate is not only buying or selling property.  There are a number of other potential real estate issues including partition issues, boundary disputes and landlord/tenant issues.  Ben looks forward to serving property owners regarding your issues.

Finally, despite the recovering economy, many people are still being faced with foreclosure and the accompanying difficult decisions about their home.  The Tampa Bay area has been especially hard hit by foreclosures.  However, there are potential options for a home-owner who is in danger of losing their home.  There are loss-mitigation programs provided by lenders as well as government sponsored programs such as which may provide assistance, including mortgage modification, short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure.  A professional can help guide you through these options in this most difficult of times. Ben looks forward to hearing from you regarding your real estate questions and legal needs.

-Business Law

Formation and Incorporation of a Business
Why do I need to incorporate my business?  What is the best business entity for my business (LLC, Corporation, LLP or Partnership)? Properly setting up your business can help avoid, or at least lessen, many potential problems for you and your business.  Significantly, choosing the correct entity type can help to limit your personal liability and allow you to most advantageously manage tax exposure.  Ben looks forward to meeting with you to discuss formation of your business.
           
Contract Drafting and Review
Once you are established as a business owner, nearly every day involves a contract or agreement with customers, vendors or other businesses.  In making these agreements, it is important to understand the meaning and consequences of each of the terms of a contract.  The help of an attorney can be invaluable in reaching the most advantageous agreement and in avoiding problems down the road.  Ben can advise you from the initial purchase of a business to the sale of your business, and all points in between. 

Business Litigation
Of course, it is nearly inevitable that your business will be involved in a legal dispute.    When a dispute arises, it is necessary to have aggressive, quality representation for your business.  Whether it is a breach of contract issue, lease issue or Ben strives to provide proactive solutions to help avoid, and when necessary, efficiently bring to a close, any dispute that may arise.

-Mediation

Ben is a Certified Circuit Civil Mediator who is available for mediation in all Civil and Workers Compensation matters.  In addition, Ben is a trained Residential Foreclosure mediator and is available to serve as a Mediator in cases involving real estate and/or foreclosure issues.

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask me to send you free written information about my qualifications and experience.

 

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