At our firm, Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis (RITE Law), we often deal with matters that involve federally created workers’ compensation programs, such as the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, and the Defense Base Act. However, many workers in Florida are not covered by either of those programs and rather are covered by the State of Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law.
Without question, our attorneys at RITE Law have considerable experience helping clients in connection with the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law as well. Accordingly, in this article, we are going to cover the 4 basics that you need to know about Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law.
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 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.
The 4 Basics of the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law
With never-ending beaches, beautiful weather, and tons of attractions for all ages, Florida is a top tourist destination. It takes a lot of Floridians to work those jobs that keep Florida’s tourist industry humming along.
So, whether you will be spending your days welcoming guests in a magic kingdom or loading tankers at a Florida port, you need to be protected if an injury occurs. Florida’s workers’ compensation laws exist to give Florida workers that protection. However, it is not always an easy process to get the compensation you need or deserve.
1. No Need to Prove Fault, But Mental Health Is Still Not Normally Covered
Under Florida law, employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If you are injured, the insurance paid to you serves to replace the wages lost by your inability to work, as well as covering any medical and rehabilitation costs you incur.
The amount you receive in benefits depends upon the extent of your injury and how much your ability to work has been curtailed by the injury. Significantly, an injured employee does not need to prove that the employer was at fault for the injury. Accordingly, the only proof needed is that the injury occurred in the course of your job duties.
Virtually all accidental injuries and occupational diseases occurring during the course of your employment are covered. However, Florida’s workers’ compensation law does not normally cover mental illness or injury if the illness or injury is not the direct result of a physical injury.
2. Your Workers’ Comp Benefits Will Not = Normal Wages
Florida’s workers’ compensation law 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. In addition, you need to remember that, under Florida’s workers’ comp laws, disability benefits are paid in percentages based on your disability.
Thus, in addition to medical coverage for an injury, three types of workers’ compensation benefits are available:
Temporary total disability (TTD) – The TTD benefits available to you are equal to around 66% of your regular wage in most cases
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.
Impairment benefits – These benefits pay you for a permanent disability that flows from your injury.
3. Report Your Injury As Soon As Possible
Florida’s workers’ compensation law requires you to report a work injury to your employer within 30 days of the date of injury. With injuries that take a long time to discover (such as lung damage from long-term exposure to some type of pollutant), you have 30 days from the date of discovery of the injury to report it to your employer.
In addition, within two years of the date of the injury, or discovery of the injury, you must file a petition for benefits.
Remember, you should not wait to report an injury to your employer or to the State of Florida. If you do, you may lose the ability to obtain benefits entirely, even though you have a legitimate work-related injury.
4. Choice of Doctor? And Job Kept Open?
Unlike federal programs that tend to be more generous to workers, Florida workers’ compensation law puts some restrictive limits on injured employees. First, the workers’ compensation insurance company your employer chooses must authorize the person who will be your treating doctor. So, you may not be able to go to your regular doctor for medical treatment under Florida workers’ compensation law.
In addition, the State of Florida does not require your employer to keep your job open for you while you are out on disability. Your employer may do so for you, but it is not a requirement.
Get Help for Your Claim from Florida Workers’ Compensation 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 COVID-19 illness. 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 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.