Florida workers’ comp lawyers at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. have years of experience helping victims of workplace accidents. If you are injured on the job, you may be in pain and stressed about not earning an income to support yourself and your family.
Understanding how Florida’s workers’ compensation system works will help you know what benefits you qualify for and what you must do to protect your rights to these benefits.
Our law firm wants to ensure our clients understand the process and why hiring us is beneficial. Some of the most common questions we get from injured workers include:
- Do I qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?
- How much will I receive from workers’ compensation?
- What can I do if my workers’ compensation benefits claim is denied?
Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and others that we hear from our clients regularly.
What to Know About Florida Workers’ Compensation Law
Based on Florida law, employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance for employees. If you experience an injury at work, the insurance compensation you receive is designed to replace your lost wages caused by your at-work injury. These benefits are also paid to cover all medical and rehabilitation costs related to the accident and injury.
Now, to answer the first question, “Do I qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?,” the answer is usually.
Florida workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means it’s not necessary to prove fault in the situation. Even if you are to blame for the accident and injury you suffered, you could recover benefits if the incident occurred at work.
While this is true, benefits are not provided if you intentionally injured yourself on the job.
Benefit Amounts for On-the-Job Injuries
The benefit amount you receive depends on the seriousness of your injuries and whether you will be able to return to work or deal with a permanent disability for the rest of your life.
This means the answer to the second question, “How much will I receive from workers’ compensation?” is it depends.
One of the most important things to realize is that the benefits you receive from workers’ comp will not equal your normal wages.
The workers’ compensation law in Florida limits disability to 100% of the average weekly wage in the state. This means that the maximum amount you can receive each week is $1,099.39. You also need to understand that with Florida’s workers’ compensation system, disability benefits are paid out in percentages that are based on your total disability.
Along with receiving benefits for medical costs related to your workplace injury, you may be eligible for three other types of workers’ compensation. These include:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): The TTD benefits you may be eligible for will be about 66% of your total regular wage (in most situations).
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): If you aren’t completely disabled but cannot do the job you had before you were injured, your TPD benefits pay 80% of the difference between your old job and your new position.
- Impairment Benefits: Benefits that pay you for a permanent disability that is caused by your at-work injury.
Protecting Your Rights to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In some situations, your employer or the company they used for workers’ compensation insurance will attempt to deny your claim. This brings us to our third question,
“What can I do if my workers’ compensation benefits claim is denied?”
One of the best things you can do is to take steps to prevent this from happening. Some of the tips that will help you prevent denial of benefits include:
Report the Injury Immediately
Florida’s workers’ compensation law requires that you report a workplace accident within 30 days of when it occurred. If you experienced an injury in Florida that did not appear immediately, for example, lung damage caused by long-term exposure to a pollutant or hazardous chemical, you would have 30 days from when the injury was discovered to report it to your employer.
Also, you are required to file a petition to receive benefits within two years of the date the injury occurred or discovery of the injury. You should not wait to report the injury to your employer in Florida. You may completely lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you do. This is true even if you have a legitimate work-related injury
Go to a Workers’ Compensation Approved Doctor
Unlike federal programs that are often more flexible regarding workers’ benefits and rights, Florida’s workers’ compensation system has restrictive limits on what you can and can’t do. For example, the insurance company must authorize the doctor that treats you. This means you probably won’t be able to see your regular doctor for treatment after a workplace injury.
Also, the state of Florida doesn’t require your employer to hold your job for you if you are out on disability. While they may decide to do this for a while, it isn’t a requirement.
Follow Through with the Prescribed Treatment Plan
It’s important to make sure that you follow through with the treatment plan that your doctor provides. If you don’t complete the treatment, the insurance company may claim that your injury was not real or that severe. This may also give them grounds to deny your benefits. Also, completing the treatment the doctor has prescribed ensures you can reach MMI – maximum medical improvement for your injury.
Potential Delays in Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation insurance companies and even your employer may deny or delay your claim. They can do this by “sitting” on paperwork, denying a valid claim, or requesting a second medical opinion.
You have rights if you believe your case has been denied or if it is being delayed intentionally. Our legal team can work to speed up the process and ensure that the insurance company acts quickly to help you get the benefits you deserve. Many people who don’t seek legal representation struggle for months or even years before their claim is approved.
Fighting a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim
You may be frustrated if your claim for workers’ compensation benefits in Florida is denied. It can be difficult to figure out how to make ends meet if you can’t return to work. At Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., we can help fight for your rights and help you recover the benefits you are entitled to.
In most situations, we will need to collect evidence related to the case to prove that the injury occurred at work and during work-related tasks. Some of the evidence we will use include photos from the scene, testimony from witnesses, doctor’s reports, video camera footage of the incident, the original incident report, and your testimony of what happened.
If your claim is denied, it’s important to contact us immediately. The longer you wait to appeal this decision, the more “ammunition” the insurance company will have to deny your claim. They may claim that your injury isn’t that serious, which is why you waited so long to appeal the decision.
You can avoid this situation by getting in touch with us right away. Our team will get to work to help you receive approval for the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.
Don’t Wait to Contact Our Florida Workers’ Comp Lawyers for Assistance
When you contact workers’ compensation attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., you can feel confident that we will work tirelessly to help you get the benefits you deserve. Our team has years of experience handling workers’ compensation claims and understands the legal process.
We also know the tactics used by insurance companies to try to deny or reduce the benefits you receive. We will ensure you get what you deserve to help you recover from your at-work injury.
The first step is to contact our office to schedule an initial appointment. The first meeting is free, and we will find out more about your situation and create a plan of action regarding how we can help. You can count on us to help you receive the compensation deserved for your workplace injury.