If you are injured on the job, it is important for you to report the accident to your employer as soon as possible. Timely notification to the appropriate persons must occur within 30 days of the accident or your workers’ compensation claim will be denied. No later than seven days after your employer learns of your work-related injuries, he or she must in-turn notify the company’s work-comp insurance carrier of your job-related accident or illness. Should your employer fail to report your injury claim, you can notify the appropriate government agency and ask for free legal assistance. This would also be an opportune time for you to seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine the best legal actions for your case.
Under Florida’s workers compensation laws, an injured worker is generally entitled to one of two types of work compensation benefits. First, the injured worker can seek the recovery of payments for medically necessary remedial treatments, general care and attendance to include prescribed medications and any medical devices ordered by the work-comp doctor. The second category of workers’ compensation benefits includes payment of money and indemnity benefits for reparation of a work-related disability. Payments for workers’ compensation benefits do not include compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or similar personal damages.
The number of regulatory procedures to follow when filing a work-comp claim can intimidate any injured worker, just adding to his or her confusion. We’ve listed some of the standard employee actions to consider when faced with a claim for payment of work-comp benefits (or workers’ compensation disability):
Acting in a timely manner to report all injuries sustained in a work accident is very important when seeking recovery for medical expenses, on-going coverage or disability benefits. A workers’ compensation claim must be filed within two years from the date of the employee’s accidental injuries and one year from the date of the injured worker’s last payment for authorized medical treatments.
If an injured worker obtains a lump-sum settlement, the worker then assumes responsibility for all future medical expenses related to his or her job-related accident or illness.
Workers’ compensation lump-sum settlements are not mandatory but represent a voluntary agreement between the injured employee and the company’s work-comp insurance carrier. Additionally, there are no provisions under the work-comp laws that require your employer to hold your job until you are able to return to work. Existing workers’ compensation laws do, however, prevent your employer from firing you because you have filed or may be attempting to file a workers’ compensation claim for work-related injuries or illness.
When a workers’ compensation doctor determines that an injured employee cannot perform his or her duties at work (permanently or temporarily), then the employee may be entitled to Temporary Total Disability benefits (TTD). The TTD benefits are typically paid every two weeks for an amount equal to two-thirds of the worker’s pre-injury Average Weekly Wage (AWW). If an injured employee’s doctor determines that he or she can return to work, but with restrictions, then the worker may qualify for Temporary Partial Disability benefits (TPD) as long as he or she is earning less than 80% of his or her pre-injury average weekly wages. Like temporary total disability benefits, the work-comp payments for temporary partial disability cannot exceed 66.66% of the injured worker’s average weekly wage.
A worker’s combined compensation from temporary total disability and temporary partial disability payments are only paid to a maximum of 104 weeks after the work accident or until the work comp doctor determines the injured employee has reached maximum medical improvement. Under Florida’s workers compensation laws, you are not paid for the first seven days of either type of work-comp disability. However, when the employee’s temporary and/or partial disability extends beyond 21 days, the workers’ compensation insurance company will reimburse payments for the initial seven days following the work accident.
Once an injured employee has reached the limits for maximum medical improvement, he or she may qualify for Impairment Benefits (IB). When an employee’s work-related injuries are deemed permanent, the worker is entitled to receive IBs based on the permanent impairment rating assigned by the worker’s doctor. IBs are paid at the rate of 75% of the employee’s average weekly TTD benefits for the following periods: two weeks for each percentage point of impairment up to 10%; three weeks for each percentage point of impairment from 11% up to 15%; four weeks for each percentage point of impairment from 16% up to 20%; and six weeks for each percentage point of impairment from 21% and higher.
As you can see, workers’ compensation law can be very confusing. Call Harrell & Harrell, P.A., today at 904-251-1111 or 1-800-251-1111 to speak with one of our qualified workers’ compensation attorneys in Jacksonville about your case.
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