Every seven seconds, an American worker sustains an injury on the job. Many of these incidents lead to serious injuries or even fatal outcomes. Sadly, injured workers and their family members are often unaware of their legal rights and don’t receive proper compensation.
What happens if you suffer a workplace injury? Who can expect to obtain workers’ compensation, and what does workers’ comp cover? Lyle B. Masnikoff, a leading workers’ comp lawyer in Florida, presents seven important facts about workers’ compensation in Florida.
1. If You Injured Yourself on the Job, In Most Cases, You Can Pursue a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Most workers who suffer from occupational illnesses and work-related injuries have legal grounds for pursuing workers’ comp claims. However, to maximize your chances of obtaining workers’ comp, you must follow certain protocols.
Florida’s statute of limitations declares that a worker should report an injury to their employer within 30 days and file a petition for benefits within two years. Though there are some exceptions, it is best to act early.
2. Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law Covers Any Type of Injury as Long as It Happened at Work While You Were on the Job
Florida’s workers’ comp laws generally cover all types of injuries, except for intentionally self-inflicted injuries or injuries caused by being intoxicated or on drugs. Injured workers are covered even if they did not follow company policies — for example, neglecting to wear proper safety gear despite receiving the necessary instructions.
Additionally, workers’ comp also covers employees while they travel on the job. For instance, an injury you sustain during a meeting with a client outside work premises still counts as a job injury.
3. Anybody Who Gets Injured While Working Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Florida
As an injured worker, you are eligible for workers’ comp whether you are a full- or part-time employee. All Florida businesses with four or more employees must carry workers’ comp insurance.
Generally, Florida’s workers’ comp laws don’t apply to independent contractors (self-employed workers who keep a separate business). However, there are many exceptions.
4. If You Suffer a Permanent Injury on the Job, You Are Entitled to a Settlement and Income Impairment Benefits
Unfortunately, some workplace injuries leave employees with long-term or permanent effects. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to permanent disability benefits.
The calculation of disability benefits depends on whether you suffer from partial or total disability, the projected loss of your future earning capacity, and other factors. A report by a workers’ comp doctor will influence the disability rating.
All employees are eligible to settle their workers’ compensation claims for a lump sum of money.
5. If an Insurance Company Doctor Treats You, You May or May Not Have a Right to Treatment from Your Own Doctor
Most injured workers would prefer to see the primary care physician they know and trust. However, your employer’s insurance provider may require you to visit a workers’ comp physician who works with the insurance company. This initial medical report by a workers’ comp doctor will play a vital role in the outcome of your workers’ comp claim.
If you disagree with the insurance company physician’s diagnosis, you may file for a change of doctor. A workers’ comp lawyer can help ensure you comply with all the requirements necessary for a worker’s comp claim.
6. The Types of Benefits That Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law Provides
As of January 1, 2022, disability benefits in Florida have a maximum weekly cap of $1,099. Further limitations may exist depending on the type of your disability – TTD (temporary total disability) or TPD (temporary partial disability).
TTD benefits are two-thirds or 66.67 percent of your average weekly wage just before the injury, up to the legal maximum that’s adjusted annually. TTD benefits will continue until the earlier of the following three events:
- Your doctor has cleared you to return to work;
- Your doctor says your condition isn’t going to get any better, even with more medical treatment (a stage known as “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI); or
- You’ve reached the end of your temporary disability benefits period.
Temporarily disabled workers cannot receive these benefits for more than five years, according to Florida law. They used to limit benefits to two years or 104 weeks. However, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the 104-week limit is unconstitutional when it’s used to cut off benefits for someone who has reached the limit but hasn’t reached MMI and is still totally disabled. The Supreme Court stated that in that case, the pre-1994 statute, which provided a 260-week limitation, should be applied (Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg, 194 So.3d 311 (Fla. 2016)).
For TPD benefits, according to Florida Statutes, Section 440.15(4), “compensation shall be equal to 80 percent of the difference between 80 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage and the salary, wages, and other remuneration the employee is able to earn postinjury, as compared weekly; however, weekly temporary partial disability benefits may not exceed an amount equal to two-thirds or 66.67 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage at the time of accident.” To better understand how benefits are calculated, contact a workers’ comp attorney to answer any questions you may have.
7. You Can Pursue a Lawsuit and a Workers’ Compensation Claim at the Same Time—With Certain Restrictions
In most cases, injured workers can only obtain compensation through the workers’ comp system. However, under certain circumstances, you may also file a personal injury lawsuit. If someone else caused the accident, the injured workers may have two claims. We work with several personal injury attorneys to make sure both claims are protected.
Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates, P.A. – Your Workers’ Comp Attorneys in Florida
Did you suffer an injury on the job? Let us help you. Our workers’ compensation lawyers have a stellar track record of fighting for the rights of injured workers. Most importantly, you will pay no workers’ comp attorney fee unless we win. At Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A., our team of workers’ comp lawyers will bring decades of legal experience to promote your workers’ compensation claim. Our firm’s clients can be sure of assertive representation, a results-driven approach, and efficient legal strategies.
To schedule your free consultation with a workers’ comp lawyer, call us at (877) 817-4127 today. Our multilingual staff welcomes Spanish- and Creole-speaking clients. We have offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Ft. Pierce, Orlando, and Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Copyright© 2022. Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (post) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.