Workplace accidents can happen to anyone, even to the most cautious of employees. When they do, the resulting medical bills and lost wages can create a significant financial burden. That’s where the Florida Workers’ Compensation program steps in, offering a vital financial lifeline to employees who face work-related injuries or illnesses. In this context, a common question arises: “How long will my Florida workers’ compensation last?” The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
In this blog, we’ll delve into the various factors that influence the duration of workers’ compensation benefits, providing you with a clearer understanding of what to expect during your recovery journey.
For guidance and help with your claim, reach out to Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates at (866) 519-3831 for a free consultation. We are committed to going the extra mile in supporting your case.
Understanding Maximum Medical Improvement
According to Florida workers’ compensation law, the duration of your workers’ compensation benefits will depend on various factors, including the nature and severity of your injury, your treatment plan, and your medical progress. Typically, the length of your benefits will last for as long as you need medical care and until your doctor determines that you have achieved maximum medical improvement (MMI).
MMI means that you have recovered as much as possible from your injury and any additional treatment won’t significantly improve your condition. At this point, your workers’ compensation benefits will usually end.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits in Florida are available to employees who can’t work due to a work-related injury or illness. These benefits provide a portion of your lost wages and are typically available for up to 104 weeks or until you reach MMI, whichever occurs first.
- Benefit Amount: You will receive 66.67% of your average weekly wages during this period.
- Special Circumstances for Increased Benefits: In cases of severe injuries like the loss of a limb or paralysis, the benefits can increase to 80% of your average weekly wages for the first 6 months following the injury.
- Continuation Beyond 104 Weeks: While the standard limit for TTD benefits is 104 weeks, in cases where MMI is not reached within this period, the Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg ruling allows these benefits to potentially extend up to 260 weeks (approximately five years).
- Reporting Requirements: It’s important to report any earned income, including social security income, while receiving TTD benefits, as failure to do so can lead to the suspension of these benefits.
TTD benefits in Florida are a key component of workers’ compensation, providing financial support while you’re unable to work due to a work-related injury.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits in Florida cater to workers who return to work at a reduced capacity due to their injury:
- Benefit Calculation: The benefits are calculated as 80% of the difference between 80% of your pre-injury average weekly wage and your earnings after the injury. However, these benefits cannot exceed 66.67% of your average weekly wage at the time of the accident.
- Duration of Benefits: TPD benefits are available for up to 104 weeks or until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), whichever comes first. However, following the Westphal v. City of St. Petersburg decision, if MMI has not been achieved by the end of the 104-week period, these benefits could extend up to 260 weeks, offering extended support for longer recovery periods.
- Eligibility Conditions: To remain eligible for TPD benefits, there are specific requirements related to your work status and ongoing medical care that must be met.
These provisions ensure that workers who are partially disabled but still capable of working receive financial support that reflects their reduced earning capacity.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits in Florida are provided to workers who have sustained severe injuries, making them unable to work in any capacity. These benefits include several key aspects:
- Benefit Amount and Conditions: PTD benefits are calculated at 66.67% of your average weekly wage. However, you will not receive these benefits if you are engaged in, or physically capable of engaging in, any form of sedentary employment.
- Presumptions of PTD: For certain severe injuries, such as spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, severe brain injuries, significant amputations, major burns, or total blindness, you are presumed to be permanently and totally disabled. In other cases, you must demonstrate that you cannot perform any sedentary work within a 50-mile radius of your residence.
- Duration of Payments: These benefits generally continue until you reach the age of 75. However, payments may stop earlier if there is evidence that you have become capable of returning to work. If your injury occurred after you turned 70, the benefits will last for up to 5 years after the determination of PTD.
PTD benefits are designed to support workers who have suffered the most severe injuries, impacting their ability to earn a living.
Medical benefits cover necessary treatments related to work injuries, continuing as long as your disability requires. To maintain these benefits, authorized medical treatment is required at least once every 12 months.
Impact of Settlements on Future Benefits
Your workers’ compensation benefits may also be affected by settlements. Sometimes, employers or their insurance companies offer settlements to resolve workers’ compensation cases. A settlement is a one-time payment that you accept in lieu of future medical and wage benefits.
If you accept a settlement, you will typically forfeit your rights to future workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, it’s essential to have a FL workers’ comp attorney review the settlement offer and ensure that it is fair and reasonable before accepting it.
Legal Challenges in Workers’ Compensation
Finally, your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits can be complicated by various legal issues, such as missed filing deadlines, denied claims, or employer retaliation. If you suffer a work-related injury, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from a qualified and experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer. They can guide you through the claims process, protect your rights and ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to receive.
As you can see, the duration of your Florida workers’ compensation benefits will depend on many factors, including the nature and severity of your injury, your treatment plan, and your medical progress. While there’s no definitive answer to how long your benefits will last, these are the general guidelines and rules to follow.
If you’re unsure about your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits or the duration of your benefits, your best course of action is to speak with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney who can provide sound legal advice and representation.
Confused About When Your Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits End? Get Clarification Today
Understanding the duration of your workers’ compensation benefits in Florida can be complex and confusing. If you’re grappling with questions and uncertainties about your benefits following a workplace injury, it’s crucial to have the right legal team on your side.
At Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, we focus on unraveling the complexities of workers’ compensation claims. Our experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer team is dedicated to ensuring that you fully understand the extent and duration of the benefits you’re entitled to and that you receive them without unnecessary delay or dispute.
Don’t navigate this process alone. Reach out to us at (866) 519-3831 for a FREE, no-obligation consultation, or get in touch through our online form. Our commitment is to go the extra mile for you, providing the support, guidance, and advocacy you need to secure your benefits and focus on what matters most – your recovery.
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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.