Just like in any other state, you can claim workers’ compensation benefits if you got hurt at work in Florida. Provided, however, that you meet the other requirements set by the state. The amount will depend on your injury and how long your recovery period will be.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the things you need to know when applying for workers comp benefits in the sunshine state.
Who Are Eligible for Workers Comp Benefits in Florida?
In theory, you should be able to get workers’ comp benefits if you got injured at work. But unlike most states, Florida doesn’t offer state-funded workers’ comp insurance. Instead, businesses have to secure a policy from commercial or private insurers. If you don’t have workers comp coverage, you won’t be eligible for workers comp benefits.
Florida’s workers’ comp laws require certain businesses to provide workers comp insurance for their employees. This includes:
- Businesses in the construction industry with one or more employees. This includes the owners of the business who are corporate officers of limited liability company (LLC) members
- Businesses in the non-construction industry with four or more employees. This includes the owners of the business who are corporate officers or LLC members.
- Businesses in the agricultural industry with 6 regular employees and/or 12 seasonal workers. They must have worked more than 30 days during a season but no more than 45 days in a calendar year.
If your employer didn’t provide workers comp coverage when they should have, you can report them to the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
How to Apply for Workers Comp Benefits in Florida
A workers comp benefits application starts with informing your employer about your injury. They will then report it to the insurance company who will, in turn, evaluate your claim.
In Florida, you need to report your injury to your employer within 30 days. Your employer must also report it to your insurance provider within 7 days after they’ve known about your injury. Failure to do so will give them a reason to deny your benefits.
When filing a workers comp claim, you need to include evidence to support your claim. This usually includes medical records, accident reports, and employment records among others.
Your insurance company will evaluate your claim based on the evidence you submitted. If they deem it satisfactory, they’ll approve your claim. Otherwise, you may have to go to court to get your benefits.
Types of Workers Compensation Benefits in Florida
There are three types of workers comp benefits you can get in Florida: wage loss benefits, medical benefits, and any additional benefits.
Wage Loss Benefits
If your injury makes you unable to work, you can receive lost wages benefits in Florida. However, under the state’s law, you won’t be paid for the first seven days of your disability. It’s only if your disability extends to 21 days that you’ll get paid for the first seven days.
How much you’ll receive will depend on whether the disabilities are total, partial, temporary, or permanent.
Temporary total disability (TTD)
As the name suggests, temporary total disability is when your injury prevents you from doing any type of work but recovery is expected.
In Florida, you can get TTD benefits equal to 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage before your injury. Some types of severe injuries may also entitle you up to 80% of your wage for up to 6 months after the accident.
Once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), your temporary disability benefits will end.
Temporary partial disability (TPD)
This type of disability benefit is for those who can return to work but with restrictions. To qualify for TPD, you must not be earning more than 80% of your income before your injury.
TPD benefits are 80% of the difference between 80% of your pre-injury average weekly wage and the amount you’re earning now.
For example, you were earning $1,000 before you got disabled. Now, you’re only earning $600 because of the work restrictions. 80% of $1,000 is $800. The difference between that and your current earnings is $200 ($800 – $600). Your TPD benefits will be 80% of $200 which is $160.
Permanent total disability (PTD)
You’ll qualify for PTD benefits if your injury is so severe that you are left permanently unable to work. However, you can only start receiving PTD benefits once you’ve reached MMI. Once awarded, this benefit will continue up to the age of 75 or until death. The amount of PTD benefits will depend on the impairment rating assigned by your doctor. To get an idea of how much you’ll get, you can use the Florida Division of Workers Compensation impairment benefit calculator.
Permanent partial disability (PPD)
This type of wage loss benefit is for those who are permanently disabled but can still do some type of work. Just like PTD, permanent partial disability benefits will depend on your impairment rating.
In Florida, you don’t need to pay for medical treatment if you suffer from a work-related injury. Your workers’ comp covers all your medical expenses, like doctor visits and medications. Even emergency care and rehabilitation should be covered as per Florida law.
If you’ve already paid for emergency care, you can request reimbursement from your insurance provider.
However, you can’t choose your treating doctor. You can only receive treatment from an authorized health care provider. Doing otherwise can get your benefits denied.
Aside from wage loss and medical benefits, workers compensation in Florida also entitles you to the following additional benefits:
If you die because of work-related injuries, your eligible surviving family member will receive a death benefit. But this is only available for workers who died a year after the accident or five years after a continuous disability.
Under Florida law, you can receive funeral expenses of up to $7,500. Your dependents may also receive compensation as defined by law. Depending on your circumstances, your surviving spouse may also be entitled to educational benefits.
Depending on your age, education, or work history, you may avail of Florida’s reemployment services. This program is designed to assist injured workers so they can get back to work faster. It includes:
- transferable skills analysis
- job-seeking skills training
- vocational counseling
- selective job placement
- training and education
- other services as may be necessary
Getting injured can be stressful, especially if it might affect your ability to work. That’s why knowing your rights is essential, so you know what to do if something happens to you.
VICTOR MALCA LAW – A TRUSTED NAME IN FLORIDA
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success in fighting for his clients puts among the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.
Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida. Book a free consultation today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.