FAQ: Florida Workers’ Comp Benefits
Two Decades of Experience Fighting for Workers
Whether you’ve recently been approved for workers’ compensation or you’re just getting started with the claims process, you may have a lot of questions about your benefits. Because workers’ comp is the only area of law that we practice here at Van Dingenen Law, we can answer all of these questions and more for Florida residents. Bringing over 25 years of experience to the table, we’ll aim to set your mind at ease after your workplace accident – and secure fair compensation for your painful injuries.
Below, we’ve detailed the 25 most frequently asked questions we receive from clients regarding their Florida workers’ comp claims. If you need additional assistance or answers to a specific claim question, please contact our team as soon as possible.
Give us a call at (407) 967-5377 to get started!
25 Frequently Asked Questions for Workers’ Compensation
1. How much time do I have to report my workplace injuries?
You only have 30 days within the date of your work injury to report it to your employer. Report your injuries as soon as possible to avoid any delays or errors on your claim.
2. How much will I be paid for workers’ comp?
Once your workers’ comp claim has been approved, you will receive 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage on a bi-weekly basis. The average weekly wage will be determined by calculating your wages from 91 days prior to your injury date, and if your injuries occurred before October 1, 2003, it will be calculated using the 13 weeks prior to your injury date.
3. Can my employer block me from receiving workers’ compensation?
No. Your employer is required to report all injuries reported in a timely fashion. While they can dispute the terms of your claim with the insurance company, your employer is not permitted to retaliate against you or block you from receiving benefits. If your employer fails to report your injuries quickly enough, they may be subject to penalties and fines.
4. How long does my employer have to report a workplace injury?
Your employer is legally obligated to report your workplace injuries to their insurance provider as soon as possible, and within at least 7 days after you report the injury. You should also receive an explanatory brochure from the workers’ comp insurance company within 3 days after the insurers receive notice from your employer.
5. Is there a statute of limitations on my workers’ comp benefits?
Under Florida law, you have 2 years to file a workers’ compensation claim for on-the-job injuries. If your condition was cumulative over a long period of time, you will have 2 years from the date you knew (or should have known) that your job caused your injuries.
After your claim is approved, you’ll also have to receive treatment for it at least once every 365 days with the authorized physician in order to continue receiving benefits. If you’re receiving disability benefits and your benefits are terminated, you have 1 year to reinstate them.
6. Does workers’ comp cover my lost wages?
While your first seven days of wages lost to injury will not be reimbursed under workers’ comp, your benefits should include a portion of your lost wages on the 8th day after missing work. If the injury will take longer than 21 days to heal, you may be entitled to lost wages for the first seven days as well.
7. Can I use my own physician to treat workplace injuries?
In order for your medical treatments and visits to be covered, you will need to visit an authorized doctor. Although you may be able to see your own personal doctor, you will not receive any reimbursement unless it is explicitly covered by the insurer or by your employer.
8. Am I eligible for Social Security benefits while receiving workers’ comp?
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.
9. When can I expect my first worker’s comp check to arrive?
Your check should arrive within three weeks (or 21 days) after you report the injury to your employer.
10.How often can I expect to receive workers’ comp checks?
Workers’ compensation checks are paid on a bi-weekly basis, starting after you receive the first check.
11. Will I get a lump-sum settlement for my claim?
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.
12. I haven’t received my benefits. What can I do about it?
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.
13. How long will my temporary disability benefits last?
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, and these benefits can last until the age of 75.
14. Do I have to pay taxes on workers’ comp?
No. You only have to pay income taxes if you are sent back to work for “light duty” while you are still seeing an authorized doctor.
15. Do I need to cover any medical expenses on my own?
No. Any authorized medical bills related to your treatment can and should be submitted to your insurance provider once the claim is approved.
16. Will I still have to pay co-pays on medical treatments and visits?
No, you will not need to pay your usual co-payments for doctor’s visits and treatments related to your work injury. Once your doctor determines that you reach “maximum medical improvement,” your additional treatments will carry a $10.00 co-pay.
17. Is my transportation to the doctor covered under workers’ comp?
Yes, your transportation to and from the doctor’s office should be covered under the workers’ compensation program. Either your employer or the insurance provider should take responsibility for helping you arrange and cover transportation to your appointments.
18. What medical treatments are covered under workers’ compensation insurance?
Any medical treatments that are deemed necessary for your specific injury should be covered, as long as your authorized doctor has approved them.
19. What can I do about issues with my pharmacy for workers’ comp prescriptions?
Under Florida law, you’re permitted to pick your own pharmacy or pharmacist for filling workers’ comp prescriptions. Unfortunately, not all pharmacies will fill a prescription for the workers’ compensation program. If that happens, you should choose a different one.
20.What if my employer doesn’t have “light duty” or “modified duty” work for me?
When your doctor releases you for modified or light job duties, your employer has an obligation to meet that requirement. If they can’t provide you with “light work” and meet your physical needs, you may be entitled to temporary partial benefits until you return to full duty again.
21. Will my employer hold my job for me after a workplace injury?
No. Your employer is not required to reserve your job while you’re out on a workplace injury for an extended period of time.
22. What happens if my employer fires me over workers’ compensation?
While your employer doesn’t have to hold your job over an indefinite leave of absence, they cannot retaliate against you just for filing a claim or receiving benefits. If you believe you’ve been unfairly terminated, you may have legal recourse in the civil courts.
23. What benefits can I receive to help me find alternative work?
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.
24. Does workers’ compensation cover retraining and educational costs?
If you are permanently unable to return to your original job, workers’ compensation may cover the costs of your retraining programs and on-the-job-training costs. These services and all other reemployment services are overseen by the Department of Financial Services.
25. Will I receive reemployment assistance at the same time as workers’ comp?
In most cases, no. You will only be eligible for reemployment assistance once you reach maximum medical improvement as defined by your doctor.
Do you have additional questions about your benefits? Contact us online todayfor a prompt response.