It’s human nature, especially when we’re young, to think that we are invincible, or that we will not be the one to get into an accident at work. Of course, our optimistic nature is not always the best gauge of reality, and accidents happen.
When an accident at work happens, you may not have the first idea as to what to do to make sure that your medical costs are covered. You need to know that employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to ensure that if you are hurt on the job, you will have all of your medical expenses, and other expenses, paid for while you recover.
Workers’ compensation coverage, however, can get a little complicated. As the injured worker, there are deadlines that you need to meet, notice that you need to provide to your employer, and claims that you need to file. Further, the workers’ compensation insurance company may push back and state that you were not injured on the job, and therefore you are not covered.
In this article, we will talk about five things that you need to remember about making a workers’ compensation claim under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act. Indeed, if your occupation is not otherwise covered by a federal workers’ compensation program like the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, then your employer most likely has coverage based on Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
If, after reading this article, you have additional questions pertaining to your own personal circumstances, then we invite you to contact the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act lawyers in Jacksonville, FL – RITE Law. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. Remember, we provide a free case evaluation, so call today.
Five Things to Remember About Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law
1. Report Your Injury As Soon As Possible
Workers’ compensation coverage is a marvelous tool to ensure that your medical bills are covered without you having to prove that someone was negligent or at fault. You just need to make sure that you indicate that you were injured while doing your job. However, you cannot wait a long time to report your injury. Under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, you need to report a work injury to your employer within 30 days of the date of injury. If there is a condition at work (too much noise for example) that takes a long time for you to realize that you are injured because of that condition (like hearing loss), then you 30 days from the date of discovery of the injury to report it to your employer.
In addition to alerting your employer, you must ultimately file what is called a “petition for benefits,” which is akin to a formal workers’ compensation claim. That needs to be complete within two years of the date of the injury, or discovery of the injury.
In sum, do not wait to report your injury to your employer and to the State of Florida. Waiting may result in you not being able to obtain benefits at all, despite the fact that your injury was truly work-related.
2. Mental Health Issues Are Not Covered Unless Tied to a Physical Injury
It is important to keep in mind that workers’ compensation coverage has certain restrictions under Florida’s law. While physical injury related to work is covered. Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Act, unlike some other workers’ compensation programs, does not cover mental illness or injury. Even though our society is getting better at appreciating the notion that mental injury is as severe, or sometimes more severe, than physical injury, Florida’s law still does not cover it.
However, if you have a mental illness that was directly caused by your work-related physical injury, then you will be able to get workers’ comp coverage.
3. Your Employer Cannot Retaliate Against You for Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Sadly, employers do not always behave appropriately. There are many cases in which employers will seek revenge on a worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim by firing the worker. That is prohibited under Florida’s law.
Specifically, Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Statute provides that:
No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any employee by reason of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law.
4. Expect Your Benefits to Be Less Than Your Normal Wage
You are able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits to cover your other living expenses, other than medical bills, while you are out of work recovering from your injuries. However, those benefits will likely not be equal to your normal weekly wage.
Three types of workers’ compensation benefits are available beyond the coverage for medical expenses, and they are:
1. Temporary total disability (TTD) – The TTD benefits available to you are equal to around 66% of your regular wage in most cases
2. Temporary partial disability (TPD) – If you are not totally disabled but cannot do the job that you were doing prior to the injury, the TPD benefits will pay you 80% of the difference between 80% of your wages before the injury and what you are currently able to earn.
3. Impairment benefits – These benefits pay you for a permanent disability that flows from your injury.
Florida’s workers’ compensation law also limits disability compensation to 100% of the statewide average weekly wage. That means that the maximum benefit you could receive is somewhere around $863 per week.
5. Keeping Your Job Open
Unfortunately, the State of Florida does not require your employer to keep your job open for you while you are out on disability. You can certainly work with your employer so that they do not hire someone else for your job while you are out of the workplace, recovering from your injuries. However, your employer is not required by law to do so.
Get Help for Your Claim from Florida Workers’ Compensation Act Lawyers in Jacksonville
Our RITE Law attorneys focus on a workers’ compensation practice. That experience can be invaluable if you make a claim under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law, particularly in a new area such as illness from the coronavirus. At RITE Law, we started the firm for one reason – to help those in Florida and elsewhere have the resources of a firm that was “big enough to fight but small enough to care.” At Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis (RITE law), we have the resources and experience to go to trial when it is necessary, and we have the wisdom to advise you appropriately.
Without help from the RITE Law Florida Workers’ Compensation Act lawyers in Jacksonville, making workers’ compensation claims can be very difficult. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure that every detail of your claim is addressed. Call us for help. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so feel free to call us today.