The state of Florida requires employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If you get hurt on the job or you end up suffering from a work-related illness, you have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. While the extent of your benefits will depend on your injury, many people can expect to see financial assistance when it comes to things like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Medical equipment
- Prescription medications
- Income replacement
To help you better understand workers’ compensation, let’s think of a real-life scenario. Let’s say you work at a Fortune-500 company, and your accountant Judy, slips and falls on the job because someone left a banana peel in the hallway. Judy ends up breaking her arm in three places and has to be rushed to the emergency room for immediate surgery. Will Judy have to pay for her medical bills? Thanks to workers’ comp, she won’t!
Prohibitions on Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits
In order for someone to quality for workers’ comp benefits in the state of Florida, at least 50% of the injury must have occured on the job. For example, if you went skiing over the weekend and fell and injured your arm, then exacerbated the injury at work by lifting a heavy box, you will likely not be eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits. You also may not receive these benefits under the following circumstances:
- The employee ignored or refused to follow safety rules or use readily available safety equipment.
- The injury occured when the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The injury was intentionally self-inflicted.
Pain & Suffering Benefits
As we briefly touched on above, Florida’s workers’ compensation benefits will cover medical bills and lost wages after you have been injured on the job. Unlike other states, Florida does not compensate an injured employee for pain and suffering (as you might expect with a personal injury that is not work-related).
Lost Wage Benefits
When you’ve been injured at the workplace, it’s not always easy to hop back on the saddle and get back to your usual routine. Many injured employees and sick workers face a loss of income, which can be devastating for families. If your medical condition has kept you from being able to work for a prolonged period of time, you may have the right to file a claim for lost wages with a workers’ comp attorney.
The type of lost wage benefits you receive will ultimately depend on the nature of your injury or illness. These will usually fall within three categories:
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
If your injury or illness prevents you from working for a certain amount of time, you may be able to receive temporary total disability benefits (until you go back to work). You cannot receive these benefits for more than 104 weeks.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
If you can go back to work after your injury but you are subject to restrictions and you cannot perform the duties you once could, you may be eligible for temporary partial disability benefits.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If you continue to suffer from your illness or injury after having reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI), you may be able to receive permanent total disability benefits. The amount you receive will depend on the impairment rating that will be assigned to you by your medical practitioner.
Funeral & Death Benefits
In the unfortunate event that an employee dies from a worksite injury or illness, Florida’s workers’ compensation benefits allows his or her relatives or other dependents to recover death benefits to help compensate for the loss of earning capacity. Death benefits are available up to $150,000, and relatives may be able to receive reimbursement for funeral costs up to $7,500.
When To Report An Injury
In the state of Florida, you must report a work-related injury within 30 days of the date or initial manifestation of the injury. Failure to do so may result in your becoming ineligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you do not file your claim within two years of the injury or illness, you may risk losing income replacement benefits and healthcare benefits. If your benefits have been denied, a workers’ comp attorney will be able to help you file a lawsuit against the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Florida
If you live in Florida and you or someone you know has been injured or become ill on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. At the Law Offices of Mario Trespalacios P.A., we specialize in workers’ compensation and personal injury law, and we have been defending the rights of Miami, Dade, Broward, and Monroe county residents for over 25 years. We also specialize in wage and hour disputes and workers’ comp retaliation law. Schedule your consultation today!