According to Florida law, your insurance carrier should start paying workers comp benefits within 21 days after you’ve reported your injury to your employer. This means that you can expect to receive your first workers’ comp check within three weeks of reporting your injury.
The above timeline, however, is only applicable if your claim is approved immediately. More often than not, your insurance carrier will find any reason to deny your claim.
When this happens, you’ll have to go through the appeals process and may even have to bring your case before a judge. This can significantly delay your workers’ comp payment.
On average, appealing a workers comp can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Some cases can even take years. This means that instead of 21 days, you may have to wait for years before you can receive your first workers comp check.
So when does workers comp start paying, really? To answer this, you need to understand how workers comp works in Florida.
Workers Comp Timeline in Florida
The first step to getting your workers comp benefits is to report your injury to your employer. In Florida, you must report your injury within 30 days after it happened or after you’ve known of it. Otherwise, your claim can get denied.
After reporting your injury, your employer has 7 days to inform your insurance carrier about it. Your insurance carrier will then verify your claim. If they have no objections, they’ll start paying you your workers’ comp benefits.
For disabilities that are immediate and continuous for at least 8 days, the first benefit check should arrive no later than 14 days after you’ve reported your injury. But if the first seven days of your injury are delayed or nonconsecutive, you should receive your check on the 6th day after the first 8 calendar days of disability.
But, if your claim is denied, you can file an appeal for it. You and your insurance carrier will then be brought together for mediation. If that doesn’t work, your case will be brought before a workers comp judge. As I’ve said, workers comp cases that make it to court can take months or years to get approved or denied.
In some cases, your insurance carrier may need to investigate your claim further. If the investigation extends beyond the time limit set by the law, they may still pay your benefits even before judgment is rendered.
However, they should issue an approval or denial within 120 days after issuing your first check. If they fail to do so, they can’t deny your claim anymore. Unless they can produce material evidence that would have been impossible to get within 120 days.
How Often Does Workers Comp Pay?
Workers comp benefit checks in Florida are paid bi-weekly. Though the amount will be based on your average weekly wage from before the injury.
For instance, let’s say you’re earning $1,000 a week before you got injured. In most cases, your benefit check will be 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage. This means that your weekly benefits are $666.67. Since your checks are paid bi-weekly, you can expect to receive $1,333.34 every two weeks.
What’s Included in Your Workers Comp Check?
There are two types of workers comp benefits: medical benefits and lost wages compensation. But your workers comp check will most likely contain only your lost wages compensation. That’s because your medical benefits are usually paid directly to your health care provider.
What If My Workers Comp Check is Late?
There are a lot of reasons why a workers comp check gets delayed. It could be that there was a clerical error on the part of your insurance provider. Or maybe, you moved and didn’t inform them of your new mailing address. It’s also possible that your check got lost in the mail.
If your workers comp check is delayed, the first thing you need to do is check with your workers comp claims adjuster. They can help you track where your check is and resolve whatever it is that’s preventing you from getting hold of your check.
However, if the delay is intentional, you should talk to your lawyer. Florida law imposes penalties and fees for insurance carriers who fail to issue benefit checks within the legally-mandated timeframe.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.