Laws for worker’s compensation vary for each state. In Florida, employees who got injured at work are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits.
The state enforces a no-fault system. This means that you don’t have to prove that your employer is at fault. You only need to establish that the injury happened while you were doing your job.
Depending on their injury and disability, injured workers may receive:
- medical benefits,
- lost wages compensation
- job retraining (if necessary)
Survivors of employees who die from work-related injuries may also claim death benefits.
But how much workers comp benefits will you get in total? It depends on your case. The severity of your injury and the type of benefits you’re entitled to usually determines the total benefit amount.
Florida law provides that worker’s compensation should pay for all necessary medical treatments. This includes emergency treatment, medical supplies, hospital fees, and prostheses.
These benefits won’t be given to you in cash, though. An accredited medical provider will provide all the medical treatments necessary for your injury. The bill will then be sent to your employer or insurance company.
Seeking medical care from a non-accredited provider may give your employer grounds to deny your benefits.
It’s also important to get medical help as soon as possible. Any delay can decrease your chances of claiming benefits.
Lost Wages Compensation
If you lost time from work because of your injury, you are entitled to lost wages compensation. The same is also true if your injury causes you to earn less than what you were earning before.
But according to Florida law, you will not receive payment for the first seven days of your disability. Only if your disability extends to over 21 days will the first seven days be paid.
How much lost wages compensation you can expect depends on two factors:
- your average weekly wage from before the injury
- how the injury affected your ability to work
The average weekly wage (AWW) is computed using the wages you earned 13 weeks before the injury, but not counting the week you got injured.
Using this average wage, a percentage will be applied to come up with the wage replacement amount. The percentage depends on the classification of your disability.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
Temporary partial disability benefit is determined by multiplying the injured worker’s AWW by 64%. But it must not exceed the maximum compensation rate which changes every year. For 2019, the limit is $939.
For easier computation, you can also use the state’s online disability calculator. If you are earning income during your disability period, you are entitled to a TPD offset payment. You may contact the Bureau of Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office for a more accurate calculation of your TPD with the offset payment.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
PPD benefits are calculated using the injured worker’s AWW and impairment rating. This rating is given by an accredited medical provider depending on the extent of the worker’s injuries.
If you know your impairment rating, you can use this impairment income benefit calculator.
Temporary Total Disability
If your disability prevents you from doing any type of work for a certain amount of time, you can apply for a temporary total disability.
This benefit is equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage but not exceeding the maximum compensation rate. But some injuries like blindness and paralysis can receive up to 80% of the AWW for the first six months with no maximum.
You can use this online calculator to determine your temporary total disability benefits.
Permanent Total Disability
Injured workers who suffer from a disability that prevents them from doing any type of work permanently are entitled to permanent total disability benefits.
The amount is equivalent to the temporary total disability. But it will continue for the rest of the worker’s natural life or up to 75 years old if they qualify for Social Security benefits.
If you can’t return to your previous job, your employer is obliged to pay for your vocational rehabilitation. This may include placement services, vocational counseling, and job retraining.
Under Florida law, death benefits are payable to the dependents of a worker who died on the job. The amount depends on the number of dependents but must not exceed two-thirds of the worker’s AWW.
Employers also have to pay for the actual funeral expenses but not more than $7,500.
In addition, the surviving spouse may also receive payment for post-secondary student fees if he/she decides to enroll in any career center or community college.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer
For injured employees, worker’s compensation is a big help in getting through these trying times. Unfortunately, most employers and insurance companies don’t like paying for workers comp. They’ll do everything to invalidate your claim. Plus, they’ll surely have a team of legal experts on their side.
To level out the playing field, you need an experienced workers compensation lawyer like Victor Malca. He has been helping injured workers in Florida for over two decades. Talk to us now so we can help you fight for the benefits you rightfully deserve.