What Benefits Are Florida Workers Eligible for Through Workers Compensation?
While many people think of the Sunshine State as a vacation and retirement destination, Florida residents know there’s a sizable workforce keeping things running. Whether you spend your days in character at Disney World, sitting behind a desk, or building new attractions, the reality is, workplace injuries can happen anywhere. When they do, Morgan & Morgan is here to help. Our workers’ compensation attorneys protect the rights of workplace injury victims by helping them collect the benefits they deserve. Here’s what you should know about workers’ compensation laws in Florida.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
In Florida, most employers are legally required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. This coverage provides partial wage replacement and other benefits to workers who suffer an occupational injury or illness. The benefits you receive will depend on the severity of your ailment and how much it has affected your ability to work. As an employee, you’re not required to prove that your employer was at fault for your injury. Rather, you simply have to demonstrate that it took place on the job.
What Are Disability Benefits?
If you require time away from your place of employment for a work-related injury, you may be eligible for disability benefits such as:
- Temporary Total Disability: Temporary total disability (TTD) covers two-thirds of the wages you were earning at the time of the injury up to a maximum amount that’s adjusted annually ($939 per week as of 2019). For severe injuries such as paralysis, the rate increases to 80% for the first six months, with no maximum. Benefits continue until one of the following occurs:
- You can return to work.
- Your doctor concludes that your condition won’t get any better, regardless of medical treatment (called maximum medical improvement, or MMI).
- The time allowed for TTD expires.
- Temporary Partial Disability: If your doctor says you can return to work with certain restrictions — such as limited hours — temporary partial disability (TPD) will pay 80% of the difference between what you’re currently earning and 80% of what you earned prior to the injury. If you earned $1,000 a week before getting hurt and now earn $500, you would receive $240 a week in TPD (subtract $500 from 80% of $1,000 to get $300, then take 80% of $300).
- Permanent Total Disability: If your doctor finds you have a permanent disability that prevents you from working at all, permanent total disability (PTD) provides benefits at an equal rate to your TTD benefits. PTD benefits continue until age 75 or in perpetuity if you don’t qualify for Social Security benefits.
- Permanent Impairment Benefits: After your treatment is finished, your doctor will see if you have any lasting medical conditions or loss of function. If you’re able to work in some capacity, they will assign an impairment rating, or percentage, to calculate the duration of your impairment benefits. The weekly benefits amount to three-quarters of your TTD. However, that amount is reduced by half if you earn as much or more than you did before your injury.
What Else Is Covered?
Under Florida law, workers are provided additional benefits including:
- Medical care such as doctors’ visits, prescription drugs, medical treatments, and physical therapy
- Vocational rehabilitation if you can no longer do your old job
- Death benefits for the spouse, children, and other dependent relatives of an employee who died due to a work-related injury or illness
What if My Benefits Are Denied?
Workers’ compensation laws might seem clear-cut, but employers and their insurance companies have demonstrated time and again that they’ll do anything in their power to reduce their costs. This may include denying benefits by, for example, claiming your injury wasn’t work-related. If your benefits are denied, a Morgan & Morgan attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Contact Morgan & Morgan
It’s essential that you thoroughly understand your rights and how workers’ compensation laws apply to you. At Morgan & Morgan, our Florida attorneys have helped workers just like you recover the benefits they deserve. To get started, fill out a free case evaluation.