Workers’ compensation is an essential insurance program to protect employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. It provides medical benefits, wage replacement, and other necessary assistance to injured workers.
When you are injured at work, it may be weeks, months, or longer. You should not have to suffer without pay. Workers’ compensation insurance is a no-fault insurance policy. You can receive benefits even if you are partly to blame.
While knowing your rights after a workplace injury is important, seeking legal guidance from an experienced workers’ compensation law firm in Florida is also wise. This is where Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. comes in. With years of service in the local area, you can count on our legal team to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation in Florida
Workers’ compensation laws in Florida are designed to provide coverage for employees who sustain injuries or illnesses. These laws ensure that injured workers receive proper medical treatment, rehabilitation services, and financial support during their recovery.
Key Coverage Areas
You will receive coverage for certain expenses and services when you are injured at work. These include the following:
Under Florida’s workers’ compensation system, injured workers are entitled to medical treatment for work-related injuries or illnesses. This includes doctor visits, hospitalization, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, and other medically necessary services.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
If an injured worker cannot work while recovering from a work-related injury, they may be eligible for temporary total disability benefits. These benefits typically provide wage replacement of up to 66 2/3% of the employee’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum limit set by law.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
When injured workers cannot return to any type of gainful employment, they may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits. These benefits provide ongoing wage replacement for the remainder of the injured worker’s life.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If injured workers sustain a permanent impairment but can still perform some type of work, they may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits. These benefits are determined based on the extent of the worker’s impairment and its impact on their ability to earn a living.
In the unfortunate event of a work-related fatality, Florida workers’ compensation laws provide death benefits to the deceased worker’s dependents. These benefits may include financial assistance for funeral expenses and ongoing support for dependents, such as the worker’s spouse and children.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Laws
Workers’ compensation laws in Florida are in place to safeguard the rights of employees and provide them with necessary benefits in the event of work-related injuries or illnesses. These laws outline the responsibilities of employers and the rights of injured workers, ensuring fair and just compensation.
Here, you can learn about the key aspects of Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, empowering you to navigate this crucial system confidently.
In Florida, most employers are legally required to provide workers’ compensation coverage. Employers with four or more employees, including corporate officers, must have workers’ compensation insurance.
Notice of Injury
To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers must promptly report their injuries to their employer. Generally, employees must report the injury within 30 days, but it is recommended to report it as soon as possible to avoid potential complications.
Statute of Limitations
In Florida, injured workers must file a workers’ compensation claim within a specific timeframe. The statute of limitations for filing a claim is generally two years from the accident date or two years from the date the injured worker knew or should have known that the injury was work-related.
Independent Medical Examination (IME)
Sometimes, the employer or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may require the injured worker to undergo an independent medical examination (IME). This examination is conducted by a doctor chosen by the employer or insurance carrier to evaluate the worker’s condition and treatment needs.
Florida provides a system for resolving disputes through the Division of Workers’ Compensation if there is a dispute regarding a workers’ compensation claim. This includes mediation, hearings before judges of compensation claims, and the potential for appeal.
What Is Not Covered by Florida Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation in Florida benefits employees who sustain work-related injuries or illnesses. However, it is crucial to understand that the state’s workers’ compensation system does not cover all injuries or situations. Let’s explore some of the key areas that are typically not covered.
Intentional Self-Inflicted Injuries
Workers’ compensation generally does not cover injuries that are intentionally self-inflicted. If an employee purposely harms themselves or engages in reckless behavior resulting in an injury, they may be ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Injuries Occurring Outside of Work
To be eligible for workers’ compensation, injuries must occur within the scope of employment. Injuries sustained while commuting to and from work are generally not covered. However, there may be exceptions for employees traveling for work-related purposes or using a company vehicle.
Injuries from Violating Company Policies
If an employee sustains an injury while violating company policies, such as engaging in prohibited activities or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Employers can deny claims if the injury results from an employee’s misconduct.
Workers’ compensation coverage typically extends to employees rather than independent contractors. Independent contractors are responsible for obtaining their insurance coverage. However, it’s essential to note that misclassification as an independent contractor when you should be classified as an employee may entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits.
Injuries from Personal Activities
Injuries that occur during personal activities, even if they happen at the workplace, are generally not covered. For example, if an employee is injured while playing a recreational sport during lunch break, it may not be covered by workers’ compensation.
Pre-existing conditions may not be covered unless they are directly aggravated or worsened by work-related activities. It can be challenging to determine the extent to which a pre-existing condition is eligible for coverage, and it often requires a thorough evaluation by medical professionals.
Understand Your Rights to Receive Workers; Compensation Benefits in Florida
Workers’ compensation in Florida is crucial in protecting employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Injured workers can receive the support they need to recover and return to work by providing medical benefits, wage replacement, and other necessary assistance.
Understanding the coverage areas and laws associated with workers’ compensation is essential for employers and employees in Florida, ensuring a fair and efficient process for all parties involved. If you have been injured at work and need legal assistance, we are here to help. Contact our legal team at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. at (561) 559-9830 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your claim.