Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Does Your Employer Have It?

Most accidental workplace injuries, illnesses, or death are covered under the Florida workers’ compensation law. If you have suffered injuries at work in Florida,  you should reach out to workers’ compensation attorneys in Orlando.

The workers’ compensation system in Florida is a no-fault one. This means that workers do not need to prove their negligence to be compensated. However, the employee must notify their employer of a work injury within 30 days of the incident. After the initial injury report, the employee has two years to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available to Florida Employees

The workers’ compensation system covers an injured employee’s medical treatment and expenses. It also covers the replacement of lost wages during the injury period without proving negligence.

If you cannot work for more than seven days, you may be eligible for benefits. However, your weekly reward can never exceed the maximum compensation rate for the year in which your illness or work-related accident happened.

Some of the benefits available in the workers’ compensation law are:

  • Total Disability Benefits

You are entitled to total disability benefits if your doctor says you can’t work for a while because of work-related injuries or illness. However, the payment only replaces a part of your lost income.

It begins on the eighth day of missing work after the injury, and you receive two-thirds of your regular wage. If you are out of work for more than 21 days, your employer pays you for the first seven days of missing work, but at a reduced rate.

If an employee suffered a fatal injury, their legal beneficiaries would receive 80% of their regular pay for six months following the death.

  • Partial Disability Benefits

Suppose you can return to work but cannot make the same wages you had before the accident, no problem. You may be eligible for payments equivalent to 80% of the difference between what you earned before your injury and what you are earning after the injury. Temporary total or partial disability benefits are available for 104 weeks (two years).

  • Impairment Benefits

You may also be eligible for impairment benefits if your doctor says you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. Your doctor will assess you for potential permanent job restrictions and a permanent impairment rating. If you receive a permanent disability rating, you will be eligible for monetary benefits.

Florida law defines permanent impairment as “any anatomic or functional abnormality or loss determined as a percentage of the body as a whole, existing after the date of maximum medical improvement, which results from the injury.”

  • Permanent Total Disability Benefits

Even after attaining maximum medical improvement in most extreme situations, a doctor may find that your injuries are so severe that you are permanently unable to work. In such instances, you may be eligible for permanent total disability benefits.

  • Medical Treatment

Your employer is responsible for providing medical treatment as long as you follow the required procedures. You must get medical help as soon as possible and go to a doctor recommended by the insurance company rather than your own.

Medical treatment includes (but is not limited to) an authorized doctor and all necessary medical care and treatment. It also covers hospital visits, hospitalization, medical tests such as x-rays and MRIs, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and medical equipment.

The latter includes crutches or wheelchairs, and the payment also extends to all medically necessary care and treatment authorized by a medical professional. Employers are also responsible for providing mileage compensation for trips to licensed medical practitioners.

If your insurance carrier does not supply you with a list of approved medical providers, you should inquire with the adjuster.

  • Reemployment Benefits

Suppose you cannot return to your previous job due to permanent work restrictions imposed due to your on-the-job injury. In that case, you may be eligible for reemployment compensation.

The reemployment service includes vocational counseling, job, and transferable skills analysis, job-seeking skills training, and selective job placement.

  • Death Benefits

Death benefits may be payable if a work-related death occurs within one year of the accident or after five years of continuous incapacity. The settlement is up to a maximum of $150,000. In addition, employers could be liable for $7,500 in funeral costs, educational benefits for the surviving children, and compensation for the surviving dependents.

Orlando workers' compensation lawyer

Employers That Are Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Orlando, Florida

The following are employers who must have workers’ compensation insurance in Orlando, Florida:

  • Non-construction industry employer with four or more full-time or part-time employees
  •  Construction industry employer with one or more employees
  • All state and local government employees
  • Farmers with more than five regular employees or twelve or more seasonal workers who work more than 30 days a season

Exempted corporate officers are not counted when calculating whether or not someone is an employee. However, contact the Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office to determine if workers’ compensation covers your employer.

You can conduct your search by going to the Division of Workers’ Compensation’s website. You can also check if your employer is insured on your own by utilizing the Division of Workers’ Compensation Proof of Coverage Database.

What You Should Do as an Orlando Employee When Injured

If you are injured on the job and have an accident, you must notify your employer as quickly as possible. You have only 30 days to report your accident or knowledge of your injury to your employer before your claim is waived under Florida law.

Only doctors authorized by your employer or the insurance company are eligible for reimbursement under Florida’s workers’ compensation system. Therefore, it is your obligation to ask your employer what doctor you are allowed to see when you report your injury.

Your employer should have a workers’ compensation poster with the name and phone number of the claims handler in the workplace. These posters must be displayed in areas where employees congregate, such as locker rooms and break rooms.

Under Florida law, your employer has only seven days to disclose your injuries to the insurance provider. However, if your employer fails to do so and does not provide you with a phone number to call the insurance provider, seek assistance from the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Get Help From Experienced Florida Injury Lawyers

You have the right to appeal if your employer’s insurance carrier refuses to pay any of the above benefits. You may also be eligible to claim a penalty if the insurance provider fails to disburse your money on time.

However, the mechanism for resolving insurance company complaints can be complex. An expert Orlando injury attorney can assist you in navigating the system and obtaining the benefits you deserve. Contact Florida Lawyers 360 today for a free case review.

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