Florida workers are injured every day on the job. If you find yourself in this situation, you may wonder if you can recover workers’ compensation benefits.
Besides knowing if you qualify for these benefits, you likely want to know how much you can receive. This begs the question – how do you determine workers’ comp benefits in Florida?
At Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., our legal team has decades of experience helping injured workers get the benefits they deserve. We can also help you better understand how workers’ compensation benefit amounts are determined.
You can contact us with specific questions and learn more about the basics of benefit calculations in Florida here.
Calculating Workers’ Compensation Wages in Florida
Several factors must be considered when determining the benefits you can receive.
TPD – Temporary Partial Disability
You may be told you have TPD. This designation means you can return to work, but certain restrictions will apply. It may be impossible for you to perform your usual job activities, and you may be told to avoid lifting heavy items or standing on your feet for extended periods.
In this situation, your employer can temporarily provide you with “light duty” tasks or reduced hours; however, some employers choose not to do this.
You will earn about 80% of your AWW (average weekly wage) if you are given a light-duty job. Your AWW is determined by dividing how much you earned for the prior 52 weeks by 52. If you are given AWW, you will not receive supplemental wages.
However, if you are earning under 80% of your usual wages while on light duty, you will be owed additional funds by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. These should account for about 80% of your lost income.
If your employer chooses not to accommodate your partial injury status and provide restricted duty, you can receive 64% of your AWW through their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
TDD – Temporary Total Disability
If your injury is more serious and requires a lengthy recovery time, it is possible to get 66% of your AWW while recovering. While this is true, there is a maximum wage benefit in Florida. If you experience a catastrophic injury, like the loss of sight, amputation, paralysis, etc., your benefit increases to 80% of your AWW (there is no maximum in this situation).
It is important to note that TDD wage benefits will not start until you miss seven workdays. However, if you are out of work for over 21 days, you can have the first week of lost wages covered. It is possible to continue receiving weekly benefits for 260 weeks. Usually, your workers’ compensation benefits will cease when the doctor states you have reached MMI (maximum medical improvement) or if you are released to go back to full duty at work.
In Florida, permanent wage benefits are 75% of what you receive while on temporary disability. When receiving PPD (permanent partial disability) payments, you will be paid based on the PIR (permanent impairment rating) you receive from your doctor.
If you are eligible for PPD, you may receive a lump sum payment (which can be negotiated). If you experience a catastrophic injury, you will also receive wage loss benefits (in many cases).
Other Types of Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Besides the benefits mentioned above, you may be eligible for others after being injured on the job. Examples of the other workers’ compensation benefits you may be eligible for include the following:
- Medical benefits. After you have been approved by your treating doctor and workers’ compensation insurance provider, all your medical costs will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. This includes the cost of traveling to your medical appointments and picking up any medications.
- Vocational benefits. If it is possible for you to go back to work, but you need a new job that requires education or training, vocational benefits will cover the costs of this.
- Death benefits. If a work-related illness or injury cases the worker’s death, then their spouse, children, or other relatives can receive death benefits. However, the maximum amount for these benefits is two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly pay.
Potential Downsides to Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Even though workers’ compensation benefits in Florida are designed to help anyone who experiences an illness or injury while working, there are some limits to this. First, it is impossible to receive the full wage you earned while you were working. You can only receive up to 66%.
It is also impossible to receive benefits for other negative aspects of the injury or illness. This includes pain and suffering, and emotional trauma.
The exception for this is with first responders. These individuals may be able to receive benefits for PTSD even if there is no related physical injury.
Accepting a Workers’ Compensation Settlement
You may believe that if you file a workers’ comp claim, you should accept the settlement offer you are made. This is not always the best option. You should never accept a settlement until you have talked to a workers’ compensation attorney. At Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., we can review the offer that has been made and help you determine if it is fair.
Our goal is to help you navigate the workers’ compensation laws in Florida and help you receive the best offer you can.
Options if Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied
There are situations where your workers’ compensation claim may be denied. If you discover you are in this situation, contact our office right away.
We can fight for you and your rights to help you receive the settlement you deserve.
If your claim is denied, it is a problem. However, you may also receive an unfair settlement offer. These are two examples of situations when you need our legal services.
Other situations that indicate you need a workers’ compensation attorney include the following:
- The settlement you are offered will not cover all your accident-related medical costs
- You have sustained a partial or a total disability
- The relationship you have with your employer or company becomes hostile
- Your injury was caused by negligence or misconduct
- You are or plan to receive Social Security
Having your workers’ compensation claim denied can seem like a devastating blow; however, with our help, we can fight the denial and help you recover the benefits you are entitled to.
Let Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help with Your Case
If you have been injured on the job, you may be unsure what to do or where to turn. At Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., we can help you with your claim. Not only will we work to protect your rights, but we are staunch advocates for injured workers. We will aggressively fight against insurance companies that may unfairly deny your deserved benefits.
The first step is to contact our legal team to set up a free consultation. We are here to help with your situation. Call us today to learn more.