In Florida, almost all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you are injured at work, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits to offset any lost wages and medical expenses that you may incur. Florida Workers’ Compensation Law states that workers’ compensation benefits will be provided to the employee regardless of who is at fault for the injury.
As an injured employee, you have a time limit of thirty (30) days to report the injury. This time limit is allowed because some work related injuries are not as obvious as others, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and illnesses that are related to chemicals. Once you are aware that your illness or injury is in relation to your job, a report will need to be filed with your employer. In addition to reporting the illness or injury, it is important to also request medical care from the employer. Sometimes, an employer will assume that medical care is not needed if it is not requested. It is also important to put your injury report and request for medical care in writing so that you have documentation if it is needed in the future.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Law entitles each injured employee to receive two thirds (2/3) of their gross wages, up to the statutory maximum, until that employee reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once maximum medical improvement (MMI) is reached, the employee can then receive impairment income benefits, which are based on the permanent impairment rating from the employee’s treating physician. In addition, all authorized medical bills and prescriptions will be paid by the employer’s insurance carrier.
Under Florida law, employers are required to provide a safe working environment for all staff members. However, it is inevitable that injuries may occur from slipping and falling, improper safety equipment, improper maintenance or carelessness of fellow employees. It is important to understand that workers’ compensation benefits are provided to the employee regardless of who is at fault for the injury as long as the injury occurred during the course and scope of the employee’s job.
While it is required that each employer have insurance coverage and that they maintain a safe working environment, the insurance company has little incentive to act on your behalf. The insurance company has adjusters, investigators and attorneys on staff all working to minimize the payments on your injury claim. Many insurance companies deny claims or deny that the injuries were related to an accident at the workplace leaving the injured employee without medical care.
The employer’s workers’ compensation insurer has the following duties and responsibilities to the injured employee:
- Timely provision of medical treatment
- Timely payment of wage replacement
- Timely payment of medical bills
- Timely reporting of the claim to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation
In addition to the above duties, your employer cannot terminate your employment due to a workers’ compensation claim being filed on your behalf. However, the employer also does not have to hold your position open for an undetermined amount of time while you are recovering from your injuries or illness as this may create a hardship on the employer.
Having an experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer is critical in ensuring that you receive the workers’ compensation benefits that you need and that you deserve. Our workers’ compensation attorneys do not receive any payment unless they are successful in negotiating your claims for benefits. In order to understand your rights as an injured employee and to make sure that your claims are not denied, contact Wittmer | Linehan at (941) 365-2296.
For additional information on Florida Workers’ Compensation Laws, please visit the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation.