Workers’ Compensation FAQs
You may have worked for years and years and never had to file a Florida Workers’ Compensation claim, so the process is likely completely unknown and alien to you. Nevertheless, there are certain steps that must be taken – some very quickly after the accident or injury – in order to secure your right to receive benefits from worker’s comp. Below are answers to questions our Pensacola workers’ compensation attorneys frequently encounter as we advise and represent workers who have been injured on the job. If you have suffered a workplace injury or illness, make sure you notify your employer promptly and seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. In Pensacola, Fort Walton/Destin, or Mobile, Alabama, contact Whibbs Stone Barnett for assistance.
How much can I receive in Wage Replacement benefits?
For a Temporarily Total Disability, you can receive two-thirds of your regular wages up to a maximum weekly limit while you are disabled from working. For certain severe injuries, you may be able to receive 80% of your regular wages for up to six months. If you have a Temporary Partial Disability and are assigned to light duty or a restricted work status at less than 80% of what you were earning before, you can receive TP benefits to offset the loss.
If your injury amounts to a Permanent Partial Disability or a Permanent Total Disability, you can be evaluated for a disability rating and receive Impairment Benefits or PT benefits according to the disability rating. If you are permanently unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability as well. Our workplace injury attorneys can help you claim your benefits from both systems when applicable.
How long do workers’ compensation benefits last?
Wage replacement benefits for a temporary disability last for the duration of the disability, up to a maximum of 104 weeks. Medical benefits are lifetime benefits that can be paid as long as necessary.
Wage replacement benefits begin on the eighth day following the injury or onset of an occupational illness. If the disability last more than 21 days, you can go back and receive benefits for the first seven days as well.
What do I do if I am injured on the job?
Of course, your first concern should be with your own health and medical care. Seek whatever treatment is appropriate, including emergency medical help if necessary. As soon as possible after your injury, you need to let your employer know about the accident or injury. This includes a work-related illness as well. You should definitely give notice of your claim within 30 days, or you may risk having your claim denied.
Your employer is required to create an injury report, so request a copy of it for your own records. You have up to two years to file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Call on an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after the accident to make sure you take all the right steps to secure your claim to benefits.
It is a good idea to notify your employer of any injury when it happens, even if you think it will not require a trip to the doctor or amount to anything. Some injuries take a while before symptoms appear and can then get worse over time. You want to have a clear record from the start and be sure you notified your employer within the required time frame.
Can the employer deny my workers’ comp claim?
Your employer may deny your claim or refuse to pay benefits for any number of reasons. For example, the employer may claim that your injury is not work-related or that it is exaggerated. If this happens, you can file a petition for an administrative hearing. You can also appeal to district court if necessary. Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney with you from the start will help ensure that your claim is accepted and paid at the earliest possible stage.
What if I am injured on the job, and my employer is uninsured?
Almost all employers in the state are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Uninsured employers face significant penalties from the state and can even be shut down and subject to criminal prosecution. Also, you may be able to sue the company in civil court for the damages caused by your illness or injury. Talk to an attorney to discuss your rights and options to recover compensation for your injuries from an uninsured employer.