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Florida Workers’ Compensation FAQs

Helpful Answers to Common Workers’ Compensation Questions

Do you have questions about your Florida workers’ compensation claim? We have answers! Browse our workers’ compensation FAQ for helpful information from our attorneys, or contact us directly for a free consultation regarding your claim. We have offices in Pensacola, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, and Tampa and serve clients throughout the state.

Call our office at (800) 848-6168 or submit an online contact form to get started with your free initial consultation today.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is an accident insurance program paid by your employer that is designed to provide you with medical, rehabilitation, and income benefits if you are injured on the job. These benefits are provided to help you return to work. Workers’ compensation also provides benefits to the surviving dependents of an individual who dies as a result of a job-related injury.

How long do I have to work at a job to be covered by workers’ compensation?

You are covered from the first day you are on the job.

How long after an accident do I have to report the incident to my employer?

You should report it as soon as possible but no later than 30 days, or your claim may be denied.

When should my employer report the injury to their insurance company?

Your employer should report the injury as soon as possible but no later than seven days after they become aware of the injury/condition. The insurance company must send you an informational brochure within three days after receiving notice from your employer. The brochure will explain your rights and responsibilities, as well as provide additional information about workers’ compensation law.

My employer will not report my injury to the insurance company. What can I do?

You have the right to report the injury to their insurance company. However, if you need assistance, contact the Employee Assistance Office (EAO) at (800) 342-1741 or e-mail wceao@fldfs.com. You can also contact Michles & Booth for a free consultation with a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer at our firm.

What kind of medical treatment can I get?

The medical provider, authorized by your employer or the insurance company, will provide the necessary medical care, treatment, and prescriptions related to your injury.

Do I have to pay any of my medical bills?

No, all authorized medical bills should be submitted by the medical provider to your employer’s insurance company for payment.

Will I be paid if I lose time from work?

Under Florida law, you are not paid for the first seven days of disability. However, if you lose time because your disability extends to over 21 days, you may be paid for the first seven days by the insurance company.

How much will I be paid?

In most cases, your benefit check, which is paid biweekly, will be 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage. If you were injured before October 1, 2003, this amount is calculated by using wages earned during the 91-day period immediately preceding the date of your injury, not to exceed the state limit. If you worked less than 90 percent of the 91-day period, the wages of a similar employee in the same employment who has worked the whole of the 91-day period or your full-time weekly wage may be used. If you were injured on or after October 1, 2003, your average weekly wage is calculated using wages earned 13 weeks prior to your injury, not counting the week in which you were injured. In addition, if you worked less than 75 percent of the 13-week period, a similar employee in the same employment who has worked 75 percent of the 13-week period or your full time weekly wage shall be used.

Do I have to pay income tax on this money?

No; however, if you go back to work on light or limited duty and are still under the care of the authorized doctor, you will pay taxes on any wages earned while working. For additional information on income tax, you may want to visit the Internal Revenue Service website at: www.irs.gov.

When will I get my first check?

You should receive the first check within 21 days after reporting your injury to your employer.

If I’m only temporarily disabled, how long can I get these checks?

You can receive temporary total disability benefits, temporary partial disability payments, or a combination of the two benefits during the continuance of your disability for no more than a maximum of 104 weeks.

Can I receive Social Security disability benefits and workers’ compensation at the same time?

Yes. However, an offset, or reduction, in your workers’ compensation check may be applied because the law states that the two combined may not exceed 80 percent of your average weekly wage earned prior to your injury. For further information on Social Security, you may contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov.

Can I receive unemployment compensation and workers’ compensation at the same time?

No, not if you are receiving temporary total or permanent total disability benefits as you must be medically able and available for work to qualify for unemployment. For additional information on unemployment compensation, you may want to utilize the unemployment compensation website at: www.floridajobs.org.

What can I do if I am not receiving my benefit check?

Call the insurance company and ask for the adjuster or claims representative. If you still have questions and don’t understand why the checks have stopped, call the EAO at (800) 342-1741 or e-mail wceao@fldfs.com.

If I am unable to return to work until my doctor releases me, does my employer have to hold my job for me?

No, there is no provision in the law that requires your employer to hold the job open for you.

Can my employer fire me if I am unable to work because of an injury and I am receiving workers’ compensation benefits?

No, it is against the law to fire you because you have filed or attempted to file a workers’ compensation claim.

If I am unable to return to the type of work I did before I was injured, what can I do?

The law provides, at no cost to you, reemployment services to help you return to work. Services include vocational counseling, transferable skills analysis, job-seeking skills, job placement, on-the-job training, and formal retraining. To find out more about this program, you may contact the Department of Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Bureau of Rehabilitation and Reemployment Services at (850) 245-3470.

My employer and the insurance company have denied my claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Do I need legal representation to get my benefits? What should I do?

It is your decision whether or not to hire an attorney. However, the EAO can assist you and attempt to resolve the dispute. If unable to resolve the issue, the EAO can further assist you in completing and filing a Petition for Benefits. This service is provided at no cost to you. For assistance call: (800) 342-1741 or e-mail wceao@fldfs.com.

What is the time limit for filing a Petition for Benefits?

In general, there is a two-year period to file this petition. However, it depends on the type of issue in dispute. You may call the EAO at (800) 342-1741 or e-mail wceao@fldfs.com for specific information.

Is there a period of time after which my claim is no longer open?

If you were injured on or after January 1, 1994, the claim is closed one year from the date of your last medical treatment or payment of compensation. This period of time is referred to as the Statute of Limitations. If you were injured before January 1, 1994, the period is two years.

Can I get a settlement from my claim?

Settlements may be made under certain circumstances and are voluntary - not automatic or mandatory.

If I settle my claim for medical benefits with the insurance company and my condition gets worse later, who pays for my future medical care, surgeries, etc.?

You are responsible for your future medical needs after your claim for medical benefits is settled.

What can I do when it is difficult to get a prescription filled or I am having problems with the pharmacy where I get my workers’ compensation medication?

In Florida, an injured worker has the right to select a pharmacy or pharmacist. Florida law prohibits interference with your right to choose a pharmacy or pharmacist. However, a pharmacy is not required to participate in the workers’ compensation program. If at any time, you become dissatisfied with your pharmacy or pharmacist’s services, you can seek another pharmacy to fill your prescriptions.

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