Most companies in Florida are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover employees if they get injured on the job. Typically, workers’ compensation will pay all the employee’s medical bills and two-thirds of their average weekly wage in lost wages while they recuperate.
If you are injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you qualify and file the paperwork on time, and you are off of work, your first check should arrive 14 days after you had your accident. You will be paid for one week as the initial week is held back. After 21 days, you were are paid for all 21 days of lost time.
It is critical that you notify your employer, in writing, as soon as possible after the injury or illness so they can contact the insurance company and start the process. If you need medical care, you must specifically ask for it in writing. Don’t assume that it is obvious. This is even more important if you work remotely and cannot be seen at the jobsite. In Florida, you have 30 days to notify your employer of your injury or illness related to work. If you do not inform them within the 30-day time limit, you could jeopardize your eligibility to receive benefits.
If you are not completely off of work, per a treating authorized physician, you may still get temporary partial disability (TPD), depending on how much of your earnings you are losing. If you make less than 80% of your preaccident average weekly wage, you would get TPD. You won’t get 100% of that loss either, it will be paid at 80% of your preaccident average weekly wage less your earnings times 80%.
You don’t need to worry about paying any of your medical bills. Workers’ compensation benefits pay 100% of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses, including apparatus and attendant care providers. The authorized providers should bill the worker’s compensation provider. If you receive any bills, forward them to the provider as soon as possible.
Lost Wage Benefits
The lost wages portion is complicated as explained above. The amount of benefits to be paid depends on whether you can return to full duty work or if you are forced to work light duty and earn less than you were before the injury. If you have medical restrictions or limitations that don’t allow you to perform as you did before the injury, the benefits will be based on a percentage of how much less you are earning as explained above.
Florida law states that injured workers can begin earning lost wages on the Fourteenth (14th) day after their injury. That means you must be disabled and out of work for Fourteen(14) days before earning lost wages as of that date. At that time, you would receive one week of lost earnings. The initial week is held back and paid after you are out for 21 days.
If you are disabled and receiving lost wages benefits, you can receive these benefits for years at the current time. If you are unable to work for months or years. that is an appropriate time to seek legal help.
Your checks will stop when you reach the maximum medical improvement (MMI) for your injury. If you are assigned a permanent partial impairment, you will then be paid impairment income benefits for a limited period of time dependent on the rating given by the doctor (s).
If you are never able to return to work, you may be entitled to receive permanent total disability. If so, you would continue to receive the 2/3 payment for as long as you are unable to perform any work. These benefits may continue until age 75. You will also receive a small supplement (3%) on a yearly basis until you reach Social Security Retirement age at 62, assuming you are entitled to collect Social Security. However, these benefits may cease if you are found to be physically capable of employment within a 50-mile radius of your home. This means you are subject to appropriate vocational assessments at the carrier’s expense to determine your work status. This evaluation cannot be required more than 1x every year.
If you have questions about your checks and their duration, contact your workers’ compensation attorney.