Some employees are hurt at work, but they do not say anything about the injury because they assume that workers’ compensation will not help them. In the majority of circumstances, however, this is not true…
The Florida workers’ compensation system covers a wide variety of injuries, and employees should always report their injuries to their employers as soon as possible. If you are unsure, however, you can speak with a Florida workers’ compensation attorney for more information.
What Types of Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation in Florida includes any work accident. But what does the law consider an accident? Florida code defines accident as “an unexpected or unusual event or result that happens suddenly”. Generally speaking, any injury that you sustain as a result of a work “accident” will be covered under workers’ compensation.
You may also be surprised to realize that workers’ compensation also covers:
- Disability or death due to the aggravation or acceleration of a preexisting condition
- Any injuries related to mold or fungus exposure at work
- Aggravation or injury due to repeated exposure to certain conditions
- Injuries caused by repeated motions or actions
Specifically Contemplated Injuries
There are certain serious injuries that nearly always result in an award of permanent total disability and the highest workers’ compensation benefits available. These include:
- Spinal cord injury that results in paralysis
- Severe brain or closed-head injuries
- Amputation of an arm, hand, foot, or leg
- Second-degree or third-degree burns of 25 percent of the total body surface or third-degree burns of 5 percent or more to the face and hands
- Total or industrial blindness
Work Injuries that Result in Death
Workers’ compensation will also cover the work-related death of a loved one. If a loved one dies within one year of a work-related accident, and that death is caused by the injuries from the accident, then the employer must pay certain benefits to the family. These benefits include:
- Funeral expenses up to $7,500
- Death benefits based on a certain percentage of the employee’s wages (to the spouse, children, parents, or siblings)
- Funds for the surviving spouse to attend postsecondary education classes
These funds are available so that the surviving spouse or children are not completely left without a source of income if their loved one passes away due to a work accident. The law is designed to help the spouse and children transition into a one-bread-winner household if necessary.
Types of Injuries that Workers’ Compensation Will Not Cover
Florida workers compensation benefits will not extend to mental injuries due to stress or job dissatisfaction. Even if your job leaves lasting mental scars due to fright or excitement, workers’ compensation will not be involved.
Workers’ compensation will also not apply to situations where your job causes you to have negative thought or feelings toward a certain type of people because of their gender, race, nationality, religion, age, or handicap. Workers’ compensation also does not apply to aggravation of injuries that result from venereal diseases or the habitual use of alcohol, narcotics, or other controlled substances.
Reporting Your Injuries – When in Doubt, Report!
Even if you do not think workers’ compensation will apply to your particular situation, it is always a good idea to report your injury to your employer. Workers’ compensation law has certain reporting requirements that must be fulfilled to have a valid claim.
One of these requirements is to report the injury to your employer within seven days of your knowledge of the accident or injury. If you fail to meet this requirement, then your claim could be denied even if you did qualify for benefits.
You must also file a claim with the Division of Administrative Hearings within two years from the date of the accident. It is important to keep these deadlines in mind so your claim will not be summarily rejected as untimely.
Speak with an Experienced Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have further questions about your particular injury, speak with your employer and an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible at 561-687-5660.
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