No matter where you work, the chances of getting hurt while on the job are often high. You are exposed to conditions that can result in slip and fall accidents, heavy equipment injuries, toxic exposure, and chemical burns, to mention but a few. Luckily, Florida is among the states that are setting the bar high when it comes to protecting workers’ rights. What that means for employees suffering workplace injuries is that they are entitled to get workers’ comp benefits, regardless of who is negligent or at-fault. Given the breadth of worker’s comp laws in Florida, collecting what you are owed when injured may not always be easy as your employer and their insurance carrier may be hesitant to pay injury claims, especially when you are not in a position to continue working. But you do not have to feel frustrated if you sustained injuries in the scope and course of your job. The guidelines discussed below can help you get fair workers’ compensation benefits regardless of where you are in Florida.
Establish Whether You Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Knowing your rights as an employee and understanding what legal protections are bestowed to you under Florida labor laws is the first step towards getting fair workers’ compensation benefits. If you have sustained any work-related injuries, you need to determine whether you qualify for the worker’s compensation benefits. Generally, workers’ comp laws in Florida have made it mandatory for employees injured while on the job to get workers’ compensation benefits as long their company has four or more part-time or full-time workers. Nevertheless, workers in the construction sector will qualify to get these benefits, regardless of their company’s number of employees. For those in the agricultural industry, eligibility to collect benefits will be determined by whether their employer has six regular employees or twelve seasonal workers working for at least 30 days.
Know the Time Limit for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In Florida, any injured employee who qualifies for these benefits should know that workers’ compensation will continue to cover some of their injury costs as long as they are unable to earn a living. Because every injury is unique, the duration an injured worker receives workers’ comp will vary from one employee to another. Generally, the kind of injuries sustained and their impact on your ability to work will determine how long you will be able to collect workers’ comp benefits. It is essential to keep in mind that you may receive benefits for a longer or shorter duration in case of:
Temporary disability – worker’s comp laws in Florida allow an injured employee to collect benefits for up to 104 weeks when he or she is temporarily disabled. During this time, the worker should remain on a no-work status as per § 440.15(2).
Permanent partial disability – once the temporary benefits expire and the worker is still not in a condition to resume work, they are entitled to collect impairment income benefits. This payment should be remitted until the time limit lapses for the specific type and degree of disability or until the worker dies (§ 440.15(3)).
Permanent total disability – § 440.15(1) – if an employee sustains a permanent total disability, they are entitled to at least 66.667% of their average weekly wages. These benefits should be paid for as long as the worker is not able to engage in any kind of work until he or she turns 75. However, if the employee can perform work-related duties within a 50-mile radius of his or her home, payment of these benefits may be discontinued.
Medical benefits – an injured worker is also entitled to receive “authorized” medical care at least once a year. The good thing is that medical benefits will remain valid if the need for the care is work-related.
You Will Need a Lawyer with Experience in Workers Compensation Laws in Florida
Sustaining workplace injuries can be quite overwhelming. Dealing with the pain, suffering, and the complicated Florida workers’ compensation laws can make life exceedingly difficult for you. Even worse, your situation could give your employer or their insurance company an excellent opportunity to shortchange you. The good news is that an experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you get what you deserve. The right lawyer will relentlessly work to determine how much your claim is worth, negotiate fair workers’ comp benefits on your behalf, and even take your case to trial if the need arises.
It Is Okay to Challenge Your Right to Receive Fair Workers’ Comp Benefits in Florida
After a workplace injury, it is not unusual for employers to discourage injury claims by denying that you are their employee. They will possibly misclassify you as an independent contractor and fail to pay the compensation benefits you are owed. The key to getting fair workers’ comp benefits lies in proving that you are indeed an employee. With the help of a capable workers’ compensation lawyer, you may be able to collect the benefits you deserve by showing that:
- You work for one employer on a regular basis or most of the time
- Your employer provides the tools you need to work
- You are a salaried or hourly worker
- The employer directly controls all your work.
Reach Out to Our Workers’ Compensation Law Experts Today
If you have sustained injuries from an accident on the job, the team at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates can help you obtain a fair workers’ compensation settlement. We will calculate the losses caused by your work injury, prove that your medical conditions are work-related, and do everything possible to ensure that you collect maximum payment from workers’ compensation. Feel free to contact us today so we can investigate your case.