After a workplace injury in Florida, you may wonder what to do or where to turn. Unfortunately, these situations can be complex.
A smart first step to take is to get medical attention. This is necessary to establish your injury and connect it to your employment. It’s also a good idea to get in touch with our legal team at Sternberg Forsythe, P.A., who can help you protect your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
Along with getting in touch with our legal team, it’s important to know about important deadlines you must meet to ensure your case doesn’t face delays or other issues.
Workers’ compensation benefits are considered no-fault in the state of Florida, which means it doesn’t matter why the accident occurred; however, you do have to meet the workers’ compensation deadlines and requirements to qualify for these benefits.
Important Workers’ Compensation Deadlines in Florida
As you start the process of protecting your right to workers’ compensation benefits, there are a few deadlines you can’t afford to overlook. These include:
You Have Just 30 Days to Report Your Injury to Your Employer
In Florida, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, an extension may be issued for the 30-day workers’ compensation reporting rule if any of the following circumstances apply to your situation:
- Your employer had knowledge of your injury
- The cause of your injury could not be determined without medical input, and you provided notice within 30 days of receiving medical input
- The employer failed to let you know about the 30-day reporting requirement by posting the information
- Exceptional circumstances are in place that justify why you did not report your injury within the set period
You Have Two Years to File a Petition to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits
This is a deadline that may be extended, too, if specific circumstances exist. One example of when you can have the two-year deadline extended is if you were injured while under the age of 18 (considered a minor) or if you were mentally incompetent.
It doesn’t matter if an exception applies or not; it’s important to report the injury you sustained and file your petition before the set deadline. Failure to meet these deadlines may result in you being unable to receive workers’ compensation benefits at all.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Can Receive in Florida
If you meet the above deadlines and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you may wonder what type of benefits you can receive. Based on Florida law, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits for the following:
- Medical costs: Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider will be responsible for all related medical care for your at-work injury. This includes doctor visits, surgery, time in the hospital, medications, physical therapy, travel expenses for your treatments, prosthesis, and any other expenses you have. To ensure your medical costs are covered, it’s important to go to an approved doctor. A list of options will be provided to you by the workers’ compensation insurance provider for your employer.
- Temporary total benefits: It’s possible for you to recover two different wage loss benefits based on your situation. The goal of this is to provide you partial reimbursement for your wages while you can’t work or while you recover from your workplace injury. You are entitled to receive two-thirds of your average weekly pay (there is a maximum weekly amount you cannot exceed).
- Temporary partial benefits: These types of benefits will be paid to you after your doctor has released you to return to work with certain restrictions and you have not reached MMI (maximum medical improvement). The pay you receive while working with certain job restrictions must be 80% or less of what you earned before you were injured. You will only receive partial or total benefits for a total of 104 weeks from the date you reach MMI, whichever one comes first.
- Permanent impairment benefits: If you suffered a functional, psychological, or physical impairment that still exists after you have reached MMI, then your doctor will assess a rating for the disability. This rating is used to determine your permanent, weekly benefits.
- Permanent total benefits: These are provided if your work-caused illness or injury causes you to be totally or permanently disabled. It’s necessary to meet set requirements to qualify for these.
- Death benefits: Family members of a worker who is killed in a work accident can receive payments for the funeral costs and dependency benefits for an amount of time allowed by the law.
Each of these benefits requires you to meet certain stipulations. Because you may not know what you are entitled to receive, we recommend getting in touch with your experienced workers’ comp legal team at Sternberg Forsythe, P.A.
Changes Coming to Florida Workers’ Compensation in 2022
Along with meeting important deadlines and knowing what you can recover as workers’ compensation benefits, it’s also important to note some of the changes coming to Florida workers’ compensation this year.
One change is that there will be a 4.9% decrease in workers’ compensation insurance rates for 2022, which is going to result in savings of around $119 million compared to the prior years. This is good news for business owners, as it will help reduce costs and allow easier access to financing options and funding.
While this change doesn’t necessarily impact employees, it does impact employers and helps ensure they can continue to provide this insurance coverage for their team (which is required by Florida law).
Contact Sternberg Forsythe, P.A. for Help with Your Florida Workers’ Compensation Questions
There’s no question that the Florida workers’ compensation system can be complicated. There’s no reason to struggle with the process alone. At Sternberg Forsythe, P.A., we can answer any other questions you have and provide legal representation when needed for your case. Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation. The first step is to get in touch with our legal team.