How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in Florida?
As an employee working for a Florida company, you have some reassurance if you are injured or contract an illness at work because workers’ compensation often covers you.
The State of Florida requires employers to not only purchase workers’ compensation and keep up with their benefit payments, but they must provide these benefits to their workers when they suffer an on-the-job illness or injury.
The area of workers’ compensation is vast, and it can be confusing for someone who has recently suffered an injury at work. If you are unsure of what to do next or you want to explore your rights, it is best to consult a Florida work injury attorney.
The Basics of Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage for Sunrise, Florida Employees
Workers’ compensation is an insurance program, which means it covers what you would expect insurance to cover – similar to your insurance for an automobile accident. However, the compensation is limited to areas like:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Prescription medication expenses
- Prescribed medical equipment
- Income replacement for the loss of earning capacity
The length of time you can receive benefits and the amount you will receive depend on whether you were partially disabled, not disabled, or permanently disabled from your work-related injury or illness.
Not All Injuries Are Covered
For the most part, you can receive compensation even if you were at fault for your work-related accident or injury. However, there are certain instances where you may be excluded from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. These instances include:
- You intentionally caused the accident to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
- You were intoxicated by drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
- You intentionally inflicted the injuries with an intent to commit suicide.
If you fall into the exclusion categories, you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits. Furthermore, you will be unable to sue your employer for your injuries.
A Few Basic Facts to Know
Workers’ compensation coverage is something your employer pays for, and it is at no cost to you during employment or while you receive benefits.
However, you must report the injury to a supervisor immediately after it happens or after it is discovered. Failure to do so could result in a denial of your claim.
Your employer has the right to select the doctor that treats you, and they typically pick doctors based on the recommendation of their insurance carrier.
What Benefits Can You Receive as an Injured Employee?
Workers’ compensation pays for injuries and lost wages associated with your work-related accident. The benefits can be limited in some cases, depending on the severity of the injury and whether you will return to work as you did before the accident.
The most significant benefit offered through workers’ compensation is medical expenses. All reasonable, necessary medical expenses are covered through workers’ compensation, including:
- Doctor’s visits
- Nursing services
- Dental care
- Prescription drug coverage
- Braces, crutches, and medical equipment
- Medical supplies prescribed by your physician
Before you can seek treatment, you need approval through workers’ compensation. You will not be required to pay the medical expenses as long as the insurance provider approves the physician you see. If you see a doctor without the insurance company’s permission, they may reject that payment request and then you would be responsible to pay out-of-pocket.
Lost Wage Benefits
Another workers’ compensation benefit you are entitled to is lost wages. When you are unable to work or your earnings decrease because of a work-related injury, you may receive indemnity benefits for the lost income. You must miss seven calendar days of work before you can receive these benefits, and an authorized physician must state that one of the following is true:
- You are unable to work because of the accident.
- You can work, but your ability to work results in your wages being less than 80 percent of what you earned before the injury.
- Alternatively, your doctor states you have a permanent loss of bodily function (permanent impairment).
You are paid for your first seven days of missed work if you will be disabled for more than 21 days.
Can You File a Lawsuit against Your Employer?
Workers’ compensation does cover your medical costs and lost wages and certainly a lawsuit may be filed to help obtain these benefits.. In addition, you may receive compensation for pain and suffering. if a third party was involved in the accident.
Third parties who are responsible for your injuries can be sued privately for additional compensation. For example, a third party that maintains safety equipment allowed defective equipment back on the job site and you suffered an injury.
In this case, you would hire a work injury attorney to file a lawsuit against that third party and seek additional damages.
The Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A., can investigate potential third parties who are responsible for your injuries and pursue them for additional damages.
Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
While the process of receiving benefits seems straightforward, most employees are focused on recovering from their injury and do not have the time to familiarize themselves with work injury laws or the process of receiving workers’ compensation. An attorney can ensure that the insurance company fulfills their duty to injured employees and also help find potential resources for compensation outside of workers’ compensation.
If you were injured at work, there is no risk for contacting the Law Offices of Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A, to explore your options and understand your rights.
We meet with you during a free case evaluation to discuss your work-related injury and options for ensuring you do not pay for the costs of your accident and we may be able to help you obtain a lump sum settlement.