Under Florida law, most employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees in the event of occupational injuries and diseases. Workers’ compensation benefits compensate the injured employee for his or her medical bills and two-thirds of their lost wages due to the work-related injury or illness.
An employee who sustained a work-related injury or illness and is rendered unable to work relies heavily on workers’ comp benefits. Therefore, the second question after, “Do I qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?” is always, “When will I receive my first workers’ compensation check?”
In today’s blog post, we will discuss when injured workers in Florida should expect their first workers’ compensation check after an injury or illness.
‘When Do I Have to Report My Work-Related Injury?’
You can speed up the workers’ compensation claims process by reporting your injury or illness to your employer immediately after the workplace accident or after discovering the link between your disease and your job.
In Florida, injured employees must report their occupational injury or illness to their employer within 30 days. Failure to notify your employer of your injury within the 30-day deadline may prevent you from obtaining workers’ compensation benefits because your claim would be denied.
When Will My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Start in Florida?’
The date when your workers’ compensation benefits will start depends on:
- The type of your disability; and
- The type of workers’ comp benefits.
Typically, workers’ compensation benefits are comprised of:
- Medical benefits; and
- Lost wages, also known as wage replacement benefits.
Fortunately, you can get reimbursed for all your medical expenses related to your workplace injury or occupational disease immediately. In other words, you will not have to wait to get your medical benefits approved.
Lost wage benefits, on the other hand, are more complicated. If your injury or illness rendering you unable to return to work or you are earning substantially less than you did before your injury or disease, your workers’ compensation benefits will include lost wages. Your wage replacement benefits depend on whether you can work with restrictions or are unable to work at all.
- If you cannot work at all, your lost wages will be determined as two-thirds (66%) of your pre-injury average weekly earnings, but no more than Florida’s weekly benefit amount limit ($971.00 in 2020).
- If you can work with restrictions but are not able to earn as much as you did before your injury or illness, your wage replacement benefits will equal to a certain percentage of the difference between your pre- and post-injury average weekly earnings.
‘When Will I Get My First Workers’ Compensation Check?’
If you qualify for workers’ compensation, you are probably wondering when to expect your first workers’ comp check. In Florida, injured workers are entitled to receive wage replacement benefits on the eighth day of their disability.
Under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, a worker cannot receive lost wage benefits for the first seven days of their disability if they are not disabled for a total of 21 days or more. Thus, if you are disabled for more than 21 days, you will receive your loss of income benefits for the first week of your disability.
Although you can begin earning lost wage benefits on the eighth day of your disability, workers usually receive their first workers’ compensation check within 21 days from the date they reported their occupational injury or illness to their employer.
After your first workers’ comp check arrives within 21 days, you will receive workers’ compensation benefits every two weeks until you are deemed no longer eligible to receive these benefits.
Schedule a consultation with our workers’ compensation attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., to determine your eligibility for benefits and calculate how long you will have to wait for your first workers’ comp check. Our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers will also help you determine how long you will receive your benefits after your claim is approved. Call at 561-687-5660 for a case review.