According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida has had at least 200 reports of occupational incidents yearly since 2010. With the current projections, this figure can only increase with the times. As an employee in Florida, these statistics suggest that you are at risk simply from being at work.
In the event of an injury, employees can claim workers’ comp in Florida, and employers are bound by law to offer this compensation for injuries sustained at work. The amount entitled to employees is on a case-by-case basis, depending on factors like the injury and the degree to which an employee is disabled. The same applies to the length of time workers’ comp will pay injured employees.
If you have been injured on the job, you need to be aware of the amount you can recover. You also need information on how long you can benefit from it to plan your recovery and return to work appropriately. Read on to learn more about how workers’ compensation works in Florida.
Why Should You Seek Workers’ Comp if You Have Been Injured?
In the event of an injury at work, you will need immediate medical attention. As you seek treatment for your injuries, your employer may not pay on your behalf initially. Quite likely, you or your health insurance provider will have to shoulder the costs of your treatment.
In Florida, there is a coverage cap for how much most health insurance providers will pay for your treatment and recovery. The maximum treatment coverage stands at $10,000. While this may seem like you are insured for a large amount, there are a few things to consider.
First of all, statistics show there are a high number of severe occupational injuries, with some leading to death. $10,000 may be more than sufficient for a few stitches, a sling, or an emergency room visit. However, if you need surgery, your treatment and recovery will cost a lot more than what your insurance provider will pay. You may be covered for the first $10,000, but you would need to pay out of pocket for the excess. With surgery, you may be responsible for covering thousands of dollars out of your pocket.
The other reason is that health insurance does not shoulder wage losses. While you are recovering, you may not be receiving your wages. Right away and with the costs of treatment, you are in a difficult financial situation. To offset the financial burden, you need to be reimbursed for the time you were out on work restrictions. Workers’ compensation benefits also pays for wage-loss benefits. Hence, a successful claim will reimburse you for the weekly or monthly wages you were not able to earn.
How Much Does Workers’ Comp in Pay? And For How Long?
The exact amount varies, and so does the duration within which you can receive benefits. Usually, the basis for the amount you can recover depends on your injury and the level of impairment or disability.
- Temporary Disability
Imagine that you sustained an injury by lifting a heavy box. As you hauled the box, you noticed a clicking sensation on your left knee. After loading the box, you went to the doctor to learn that you sustained patellar inflammation as a result of the activity.
An inflamed kneecap may not be permanent. Nonetheless, it can put you on the sidelines temporarily. In this scenario, you sustained what is called a temporary disability. A temporary disability is the result of an injury from which recovery is possible, but only after time has passed.
A temporary disability rating is given to injuries that prevent you from working for at least 21 days. Between the injury and the time of recovery, you are entitled to a maximum of $970 for each week you are not able to work.
On this benefit, you can receive monetary benefits for up to two years. Of course, this stops once a physician declares your full recovery, at which point you can go back to work.
- Permanent Impairment
Permanent impairment means that your injuries are lasting, preventing you from working how you did before the injury. This rating is given by a physician after they have determined that you have reached maximum medical improvement.
Maximum medical improvement represents the point at which no further improvements can be made to the restoration of an injured part. A permanent impairment rating can be issued after you have sustained an injury that seemed temporary.
If your injuries lead to permanent impairment, you are entitled to receiving 75% of your weekly wages on temporary disability. Like being on temporary disability benefits, you can receive permanent impairment benefits for a maximum of two years.
- Permanent Total Disability
Permanent total disability means that your injuries are so severe that they keep you from working any job. On permanent disability benefits, you will receive your weekly wages until you are 75 years old. The exact amount is the same as the amount for temporary disability.
You will be entitled to this benefit regardless of your qualifications and eligibility for Social Security.
Are There Other Benefits Included in Workers’ Comp in Florida?
The answer to this question is yes! Besides wage-loss benefits and medical coverage, other benefits are part of workers’ comp in Florida.
- Rehabilitation and Retraining
Workers’ comp also pays for rehabilitation and retraining. Rehabilitation and retraining hasten the recovery of injuries. In the case of permanent injuries, retraining provides alternative skills a worker can use for other types of jobs.
- Death Benefits
In the event of death, workers’ comp will pay the deceased employee’s spouse, children, or other dependents. The amount payable is roughly 33% of the deceased employee’s total wages. Workers’ comp will also shoulder funeral costs of up to $7,500.
Getting workers’ compensation may be within your rights. However, the law in Florida can be tricky to navigate, and filing a claim on your own can lead to getting a settlement that is less than what you deserve and is not recommended. If you were involved in a workplace accident that left you injured temporarily or permanently, contact Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz right away to be put in touch directly with an actual attorney. All initial consultations are no-obligation, and our experienced team will do everything in our power to get you maximum compensation to which you are entitled.