If you suffer an injury on the job, report your injury to your employer immediately. Most employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. You may be able to get your medical expenses paid and receive part of your wages while you are not able to work. If you suffer a permanent injury, you may also be entitled to permanent disability benefits.
If you were injured on the job or developed a medical condition caused by your employment, a workers’ compensation lawyer in Jupiter, FL, may be able to help. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 today for a free consultation.
How the Workers’ Compensation System Works
Injuries you sustain at work are not treated the same as those suffered in a car crash or other accident outside of work. Here are some things you need to know about workers’ compensation in Florida:
- You do not have to prove your employer was at fault for your accident.
- Your fault does not affect your recovery.
- After you miss seven days of work because of your injury, you receive temporary disability benefits immediately.
- Your medical bills are paid quickly.
- You do not choose your doctor.
- You only receive a portion of your wages.
- You do not receive any compensation for your pain and suffering.
Getting Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Florida for Your Work Injury
When you suffer an injury on the job, you must give notice to your employer within 30 days. Let your supervisor know about your injury and how it happened right away.
If you did not know your work caused your injury or condition, give notice as soon as your doctor makes the connection. Your employer will provide a doctor for you to see. Be honest and explain your symptoms to your doctor. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier will consider your medical records when reviewing your claim.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary total disability benefits start once you miss seven days of work due to your injury. If you miss more than 21 days of work, you get paid for the first seven days as well.
You are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum cap that is set by the state of Florida each year. For example, the maximum is $917 per week for an injury occurring in 2018 and $939 per week for an injury occurring in 2019. For a serious injury, such as paralysis, you are entitled to 80% of your average weekly wage for six months, with no maximum.
Your employer may offer you light-duty work. For example, you may be able to return to work within certain medical restrictions, such as a limit on how much you can lift. You are entitled to 80 percent of the difference between 80 percent of your average weekly wage and what you earn in your light-duty position.
Your temporary disability benefits end when one of three things happen:
- You return to work.
- You reach maximum medical improvement. That means your condition is as good as your doctor says it will get.
- You reach the maximum allowed by the state for temporary disability benefits. Florida law sets the maximum at 104 weeks, though the Florida Supreme Court says that limit is unconstitutional if it cuts off temporary disability benefits for a worker who has not reached maximum medical improvement.
A workers’ compensation lawyer in Jupiter, FL, can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process of pursuing the compensation you deserve.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Once you reach maximum medical improvement, a doctor will determine if you have a permanent impairment. If so, the doctor will assign an impairment rating, for example, a 20 percent impairment rating. The percentage determines the duration of your benefits.
If a doctor determines you are not able to work at any job within 50 miles of your residence, you may qualify for total permanent disability benefits. Total permanent disability benefits continue until you are 75 years old. If the injury keeps you from qualifying for Social Security, you can get total permanent disability benefits for life.
Denial of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
An employer may attempt to deny your workers’ compensation claim in the following situations:
- You failed to give timely notice of your injury.
- Your work did not cause your injury.
- You are an independent contractor rather than an employee.
- A drug test revealed drugs in your system at the time of the accident.
If your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim, you must file a petition for benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC). You must file the petition within two years of the date you knew or should have known of your injury or within one year of your last benefit or medical payment, whichever occurs last.
What to Expect When You File a Petition for Review
Once you have filed your petition for benefits with the OJCC, the following chain of events takes place:
- The OJCC notifies your employer that you filed a petition.
- Your employer will either respond or agree to pay the claim.
- Mediation will take place. This is an effort to resolve the matter before trial.
- There will be a pretrial hearing, followed by a trial if no resolution is reached.
- You can appeal the OJCC judge’s decision to the First District Court of Appeals.
If your employer denied your workers’ compensation claim, a workers’ compensation lawyer in Jupiter, FL, can help you filed your petition and represent you to the conclusion of your claim.
Settling Your Workers’ Compensation Claim for Your Work Injury
You can settle your workers’ compensation claim. An attorney can help ensure your settlement provides for your future medical needs and can explain the benefits of taking the settlement in a lump sum or receiving payments over a period of time.
If you suffered an injury on the job or a medical condition arising out of your employment, we may be able to help. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 today for a free consultation.