Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Get Help from Our Trusted Attorneys in Central Florida
One of the most urgent questions injured workers have about their claim is "what will my benefits cover?" This, of course, must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but when you choose Van Dingenen Law to represent your claim, you can rest assured that our knowledgeable and proven workers' comp lawyers in Orlando and Central Florida will diligently pursue the maximum benefits on your behalf. You may be able to secure benefits such as lost wages, medical coverage, death benefits if you lost a loved one, and no tax withholdings on your settlement. Interested in learning more about what we can do to assist you with your workers' comp claim? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for counsel.
What Are Death Benefits?
If your loved one was injured in a workplace accident and passed away from their injuries within one year of the date of the accident, or within five years of continuous disability, you may be able to secure benefits up to $150,000.
These benefits include:
- Funeral expenses up to $7,500
- Compensation to dependents, as defined by law
- Educational benefits to the surviving spouse
Florida’s law extends these benefits to spouses, children, and in certain cases, parents and siblings.
Lost Wages You Can Recover
Under workers’ comp, you may qualify for certain disability benefits depending on the nature of your injuries and how long you anticipate you’ll be out of work.
The available benefits for lost wages are as follows:
- Temporary Total disability (TT): These benefits are two-thirds of your weekly wage, up to a legal maximum that is readjusted each year. In 2020, the maximum is $971 a week. However, for more serious injuries like paralysis, the benefit rate may be even higher. You can access these benefits until your doctor says you can go back to work or your condition won’t improve, or if you’ve reached the maximum amount of time.
- Temporary Partial disability (TP): You can receive these benefits if your doctor says you can return to work, but under certain restrictions. You may be forbidden from lifting heavy objects or even using a keyboard for long periods of time. If you earn less with these restrictions, your benefits will be 80% of the difference between your current wages and 80% of your pre-injury wages.
- Impairment Benefits (IB): Once your medical treatment is complete, your doctor can assess your condition to determine whether you have any impairments as a result of your injury. If you can work, the amount of your weekly benefits will be 75% of your temporary total disability rate,
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD): If you’re left permanently unable to work, even after you’ve been treated, you may receive permanent total disability benefits. These can continue until you’re 75 years old, or for the rest of your life if you end up not qualifying for Social Security benefits.
Defining Medical Benefits
Florida’s workers’ comp pays for all medical expenses needed to treat your work-related injury or illness. However, your treatment must be prescribed by your treating doctor and authorized specifically by the insurance company. Workers’ comp can also cover the costs of traveling to and from doctor’s appointments.
Your medical benefits will cover:
- Doctor’s visits
- Physical therapy
- Medical tests
- Prescription drugs
- Attendant care
It’s important to remember that you can’t skip your doctor’s appointments, as missing an appointment may cause your benefits to stop.
When Will I Receive Workers' Compensation Benefits?
After you’ve sustained a serious work injury, it can be incredibly difficult to wait on your workers’ compensation benefits. Once your claim has been approved, it should only take 14 days to receive your first check, starting from the date your employer notified them of the injury. However, if it takes longer than that, or if your claim was denied outright, then you may need to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney.
At Van Dingenen Law, we’re on the side of workers — never the insurance companies. As seasoned workers’ compensation lawyers serving clients throughout Orlando, we can review the details of your claim and help you speed up the process if needed. You are legally entitled to receive your benefits promptly, and if your employer or the insurance company refuses to cooperate, we can help you push forward with confidence on your claim.
Timeline for Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits
Because Florida workers’ compensation laws hold insurers to strict guidelines for making a decision, they are required to decide on your claim within 14 days. Failing to do so will make them subject to fines and penalties, which motivates most insurers to decide in an efficient manner. However, like other insurance companies, workers’ compensation insurers are often reluctant to pay out benefits, which means that most workers’ compensation claims will be denied at first.
If your claim has been denied or delayed, here are the next steps you should consider taking:
- Negotiating with the insurer. Before starting the appeals process, you should try to informally negotiate with the insurer first, especially if there has simply been a delay in the process. It’s strongly recommended that you hire an attorney to negotiate on your behalf, as this often leads to better results.
- Filing an appeal. If the insurer refuses to change their decision or expedite your benefits, you may need to file a Petition for Benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC). This organization is responsible for handling workers’ comp appeals, and they can make a decision on your behalf. The deadline for filing an appeal is 2 years from your date of injury.
- Go through the appeals process. As soon as the OJCC makes a decision, your employer and the insurer will be notified, and required to either respond or pay your benefits within 14 days. If the insurer continues to contest your claim, you will need to attend a mediation hearing that will be scheduled within 130 days of your petition.
Do I Have to Pay Income Taxes?
An additional benefit of Florida’s workers’ comp system is that injured workers don’t have to pay income tax on their benefits. However, if you end up going back to work with limited duties, you may have to pay taxes on the wages you earn while working.
It’s important to hire a workers’ comp attorney to ensure that you’re not being wrongfully denied coverage. Our team is happy to sit down with you to help you understand which benefits apply to you and your unique case.
With over two decades of experience helping Florida workers, our attorneys can be trusted to get you the benefits you need to heal after a workplace injury. Call our team today at (407) 967-5377.
Q:Am I eligible for Social Security benefits while receiving workers’ comp?
A:Yes. In some cases, your workers’ comp may be reduced to account for your Social Security income, as the combined benefits should not exceed 80% of your average weekly wage before the injury occurred.
Q:When can I expect my first worker’s comp check to arrive?
A:Your check should arrive within 3 weeks (or 21 days) after you report the injury to your employer.
Q:How often can I expect to receive workers’ comp checks?
A:Workers’ compensation checks are paid on a bi-weekly basis, starting after you receive the first check.
Q:Will I get a lump-sum settlement for my claim?
A:Settlements on workers’ comp claims are completely voluntary, so there’s no guarantee that you will be able to settle your claim. While getting a settlement as a lump sum may be a good idea in your case, it’s important to review your circumstances with a qualified attorney first. You can settle either for your lost wages or for future medical treatments, or for both combined.
Q:I haven’t received my benefits. What can I do about it?
A:If your insurance provider is delaying benefits or has suspended your checks, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. You may also need to file a Petition for Benefits form with the help of legal counsel.
Q:How long will my temporary disability benefits last?
A:Temporary disability benefits, whether total or partial, will last no longer than 104 weeks. At that point, you may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits if you are still suffering because of your disability. These benefits can last until the age of 75.
Q:What benefits can I receive to help me find alternative work?
A:Your injury may prevent you from ever seeking meaningful work in your field again. To help you find new work, Florida offers reemployment services at no additional cost, which can include vocational counseling, job search assistance, skills analysis, and other helpful services.