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Workers’ Compensation Laws in Deland, FL
With any luck, you’ll never need to know the details of Florida workers’ compensation statutes. But if you are reading this, you probably haven’t been that lucky. Nobody wants to rely on workers’ compensation. But if you are in a situation where you need to, the following information will help you keep afloat during these trying times.
Workers’ compensation laws in Deland are complicated, but you don’t need to understand them completely to benefit from them. If you qualify for workers’ compensation, then only the parts of the law that affect you will matter.
The best way to understand workers’ compensation laws in Deland is to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer. But until you do, the following information will give you a good head start.
Are you looking for an experienced lawyer to explain your rights regarding workers’ compensation? Contact Morgan and Morgan today to schedule a free case evaluation using our contact form.
What Workers’ Compensation Does
Workers’ compensation benefits provide income for people after they have been temporarily disabled while working in a way that limits or prevents their ability to work.
Temporarily disabled workers receive compensation that is roughly similar to what their income was before they were disabled. The benefits end when the worker recovers from the temporary disability.
Types of Disabilities
There are two types of disabilities covered by workers’ compensation: temporary total disability (TTD) and temporary partial disability (TPD). TTD means that your disability completely prevents you from working. TPD means that you can perform some work but receive reduced income because you can’t perform all of your normal duties.
Value of Benefits
When you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you will not receive benefits equal to your income before the disability. Workers’ compensation benefits are a percentage of your previous income and have a maximum value.
If you are gaining TTD benefits, you will be paid 66.6% of your average weekly wages unless you suffered a critical injury. If you suffered a critical injury, you would receive 80% of your previous weekly wages. Critical injuries are defined as:
- The loss of a limb
- Being rendered paraplegic or quadriplegic
- Complete loss of vision
Usually, these injuries would result in permanent disability. Permanent disabilities are not covered by workers’ compensation but by Social Security disability benefits. But if they are temporary or only lead to temporary disability, then you will receive a higher rate of compensation while affected or limited by them.
If you are gaining TPD benefits, the compensation rate is a little more complicated to calculate. In simplest terms, the math works out to be 64% of the difference between your wages before the disability and your wages after the disability.
Both TTD and TPD benefits are limited to a maximum value under Florida law. This maximum value is the statewide average of all workers and is evaluated every year. Florida publishes a rate table that lets you look up the maximum compensation rate for every year.
Start and End of Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits begin after you report your injury to your employer. If the disability only prevents you from working for 21 days or fewer, payments only start on the eighth day of your disability. If the disability lasts longer, benefits begin on the first day of your disability.
You will continue to receive benefits until you can work again or until you have received two years of benefits. Workers’ compensation laws in Deland allow some exceptions to the two-year limit. If you think you might need more than two years of benefits, speak to a Morgan and Morgan attorney to learn more about your options.
Reporting Your Injury
You can only receive workers’ compensation after you have reported your injury to your workplace. As a matter of company policy, and in some cases as a matter of law, you should report any injuries you suffer on the job immediately.
It doesn’t matter if you were at your workplace when you were injured. If you were working while you were injured, you should report the injury.
Workers’ compensation laws in Deland require that you report the injury no more than 30 days after it occurred. While you have 30 days to report, it is generally best to report it as soon as it occurs. This will speed up the timeline for getting workers’ compensation benefits.
Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
There is only one good reason to delay reporting an injury to your employer. You should generally wait to report your injury until you have hired a workers’ compensation attorney to represent your case.
Workers’ compensation laws in Deland allow you to have legal representation when making a workers’ compensation claim. And your employer can’t fire you for hiring a lawyer. This is important because some employers will attempt to deny your benefits or illegally fire you after you report an injury.
Additionally, workers’ compensation claims are paid by an insurance company. The insurance company gets to choose what doctor evaluates and treats you. This power can be used to restrict or deny your claim. Workers’ compensation attorneys can fight against an unfair evaluation to get you the money you deserve.
Florida law makes it uncomfortably easy for insurance companies to misdiagnose you, incorrectly calculate your compensation, or outright deny your claim. The attorneys at Morgan and Morgan can fight these mistakes in and out of court to ensure you get every dollar you deserve.
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Do I Need to Prove My Employer Was Responsible for My Injury?
One of the rare ways that Florida workers’ compensation laws do not side with employers is that you don’t need to prove your employer was responsible for your injury to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
As long as you were injured while working, that is enough to qualify. Additionally, many activities may be considered work activities, even if they don’t happen at the workplace. Your Morgan and Morgan attorney will help you evaluate whether your injury qualifies during your initial free case evaluation.
What Happens if I Recover Enough to Partially Work?
Workers’ compensation can be adjusted if your medical situation changes. Assuming you started on TTD, if you recover enough to work part-time or perform some of your duties, your compensation will be adjusted.
However, a doctor must evaluate your ability to work, and you can’t be forced to work in ways that go against the doctor's instructions.
Similarly, if you receive TPD benefits and your condition worsens, you could qualify for TTD benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits can both increase and decrease depending on changes in your medical condition.
Is My Job Protected While I Am on Workers’ Compensation?
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation laws in Deland do not protect your job while you are receiving workers’ compensation. When you finally recover to full health, you may discover that your job no longer exists or has been given to another person.
You can file for unemployment benefits if this happens, but you won’t be able to insist on getting your job back, even if the injury was your employer's fault.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, your workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to provide you with options if your employer doesn’t offer you your job back after suffering an injury on the job.
If I Am Limited in My Work but Still Paid My Full Income, Can I Receive Compensation?
You can't receive workers' compensation if you are being paid the same amount you received before your injury. This is even true if you are not working at all. Your employer can decide to pay your full wages or salary even if you are working fewer hours, doing less work, or not working at all.
However, what your employer can’t do is insist that you perform work that is restricted by your disability. For example, if your doctor says that you can’t work more than four hours a day, your employer can’t insist that you work five hours a day to receive your full payment.
In short, your employer can be more generous than the law requires but can’t be more strict than the law allows.
What Can I Do if the Assigned Doctor Misdiagnoses Me?
Doctors who evaluate and treat patients for workers’ compensation claims are supposed to be independent.
However, they are paid by the insurance companies, and they know that they aren’t likely to get more work if they don’t give evaluations that benefit the insurance companies. Thus, some less scrupulous doctors misdiagnose their patients.
If you have reason to believe you have been misdiagnosed, tell your workers’ compensation attorney. They can get you a diagnosis from a trustworthy doctor who isn’t on the insurance company's payroll.
That diagnosis can be used as evidence to counter the evaluation of the original doctor and hopefully get your benefits increased and your workload decreased while you are recovering from your injuries.
Can I Sue My Employer if the Injury Was the Fault of My Employer?
Just because you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits doesn’t prevent you from also filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
If any negligence or recklessness in the workplace resulted in your injury, you are eligible to receive additional compensation beyond workers’ compensation. Your workers’ compensation lawyer will discuss options with you during the initial evaluation of your case.
Can I Receive Benefits for Psychiatric Care?
Workers’ compensation benefits provide extremely limited compensation for psychiatric care that results from your injury. The psychiatric care must stem directly from a physical injury you received while working, and you can only receive compensation for up to six months of care.
Any additional compensation will either have to be paid for by your own insurance or through a settlement in a personal injury case.
What Should I Do if My Supervisor Instructs Me Not to Report an Injury?
It is illegal for your employer to prevent you from reporting an injury received on the job. If anyone in your workplace orders you not to report an injury, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Deland immediately.
Your employer is likely attempting to deny your rights, and you need to protect yourself as quickly as possible. Your attorney will tell you what you should do and how to best collect and preserve evidence for your case.
Can I Ignore the Doctor’s Instructions and Start Working Again?
This is the worst decision you can make. By ignoring the doctor's instructions, you could aggravate your injury and make it even worse than before.
Additionally, by ignoring the instructions of the physician, you will probably have surrendered your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Even a very good lawyer will find it very difficult to get you appropriate compensation after doing this.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Deland, FL
If you have been injured while working in Deland, FL, you are entitled to workers’ compensation for your injury. Insurance companies have a financial motive to deny your claim or limit your compensation.
Protect yourself and your rights by retaining a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as you are injured. Let us fight for you. Fill out the contact form on the Morgan and Morgan website today to schedule a free evaluation for your workers’ compensation case.