Lawyers for Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Fighting for Your Right to Compensation after an On-the-Job Injury in Tampa, Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, and Crestview
Florida workers’ compensation law allows injured workers and the families of those killed on the job to recover certain benefits. There are several different types of benefits you may recover. Compensation in your case will depend greatly on the unique circumstances and factors involved, including the extent and nature of your injuries.
Read on to learn more about workers’ compensation benefits in Florida, or call Michles & Booth at (800) 848-6168 for a free consultation with one of our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers.
Workers’ compensation covers the cost of seeing an authorized primary doctor and specialist(s) when medically necessary.
It also covers all authorized, medically necessary care and treatment related to your injury such as:
- Doctors' visits
- Physical therapy
- Medical tests
- Prescription drugs
- Mileage reimbursement for travel to and from your authorized doctor and the pharmacy
Lost Wages & Other Monetary Compensation
The rate, amount, and the duration of compensation for all disability benefits are detailed in the workers’ compensation law at Florida Statutes §440.14 and §440.15.
Temporary Disability Benefits in Florida
There are two types of temporary disability benefits that you may be entitled to during your recovery to make up for some of your lost wages; temporary total disability and temporary partial disability.
Temporary total disability:
If your doctor says you cannot work because of your work-related injury or illness, pursuant to §440.15(2) you should receive money equaling 66 2/3 percent of your regular wages at the time you were hurt, subject to a statewide maximum reimbursement amount.
- You will not receive temporary disability benefits for the first 7 days of disability unless you are disabled more than 21 days due to the work-related injury as determined by the authorized doctor.
- Certain severe injuries may entitle you to 80 percent of your regular wages for up to 6 months after the accident.
Temporary partial disability:
- According to §440.15(4), when the doctor states you can return to work with restrictions, you may be eligible to receive temporary partial disability benefits if you are unable to earn 80 percent of the wages you were earning at the time of your accident.
- These benefits will be offset against your reduced earnings or will be 64 percent of your regular wages at the time you were hurt if your employer does not have any light-duty work available.
You can receive up to a total of 260 weeks of temporary disability benefits.
When your doctor states you are at Maximum Medical Improvement, this means your condition is not expected to improve significantly. At this point, your doctor will have you evaluated for possible permanent work restrictions and an impairment rating. If you receive a permanent impairment rating greater than zero percent, you will receive money based on that rating.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If you suffer a catastrophic injury, you may be presumed permanently and totally disabled.
Catastrophic injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries involving paralysis of an arm, a leg, or the trunk
- Amputation of an arm, a hand, a foot, or a leg involving the effective loss of use of that appendage
- Severe brain or closed-head injuries with associated severe sensory or motor disturbances, communication disturbances, complex integrated disturbances of cerebral function, and/or episodic neurological disorders
- Second-degree or third-degree burns of 25 percent or more of the total body surface
- Third-degree burns of 5 percent or more to the face and hands
- Total or industrial blindness
Alternatively, if after reaching Maximum Medical Improvement, your injuries are so severe (as defined by law) that you are left permanently unable to engage in at least a sedentary level job within a 50-mile radius of your residence, you may receive permanent total disability benefits.
If a work-related death occurs within one year of the date of accident or five years of continuous disability, funeral benefits up to $7,500 and wages may be due and payable up to a maximum total of $150,000 for surviving spouses and/or dependents.
How You Can Lose Your Rights to Workers Comp Benefits
Over the past two decades the insurance industry has become much more aggressive in attempting to deny benefits based on alleged misrepresentation pursuant to section 440.105(4)(b)(2) Fla. Stat, which makes it unlawful for any injured worker “To present or cause to be presented any written or oral statement as part of, or in support of, a claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to any provision of this chapter, knowing that such statement contains any false, incomplete, or misleading information concerning any fact or thing material to such claim.”
In other words, it’s unlawful for you to provide any important information that you know is false, incomplete, or misleading in a workers compensation case. Violation can lead to the denial of benefits and criminal punishment up to a first degree felony. The legal ability to deny benefits has led to insurance companies spending extraordinary amounts of money hiring private investigators.
How to Avoid Losing Your Benefits
Every single statement to a physician or to the adjuster is at risk of being found inconsistent. Adjusters hope that photos or video can be obtained of the injured worker engaged in activity that contradicts the reported activity level of the injured worker. This makes it critical that the injured worker be honest about limitations and abilities. Don’t fall into the trap of over-exaggerating symptoms or impact. Many times the injured worker does this in an effort to be heard by the doctor. However, it ultimately results in the opposite effect and the termination of benefits.
Another area the insurance carrier focuses on is prior conditions or treatment. If the injured worker denies any prior treatment or injury to the affected body part the carrier will deny all future benefits on the basis that the injured worker intentionally misrepresented their medical history in an effort to secure benefits. It is essential that when filling out medical history forms or discussing your history with a doctor that you are accurate. Don’t leave out treatment from the past that resolved. Don’t fail to mention something that you don’t feel is relevant. Even though these things ultimately wouldn’t impact the physician’s opinions the argument is that precluded the doctor from the opportunity to even assess them.
If you are worried about losing your benefits, get a free consultation with a lawyer.
The workers’ compensation system is riddled with landmines that can compromise an injured workers’ right to benefits. The last thing that you want to do is to say or do something that compromises your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
Schedule a free initial consultation with a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer at Michles & Booth to learn more about workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive. Contact us online or by phone at (800) 848-6168.
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