What Does Florida Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?

The Workers’ Compensation System in Florida provides certain benefits for workers injured on the job. The system covers most workers who become ill or hurt during the ordinary course of employment. If a work accident causes your injury, it is important to understand the workers’ compensation laws and the workers’ comp benefits that you might receive. 

Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits 

Make sure that you report a work-related injury to your employer as soon as possible. You have 30 days to report a workplace injury from the date of the injury. You could lose your workers’ comp benefits for failing to report a work-related injury.

Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may be entitled to one or more workers’ compensation benefits. Benefits that you may receive for a workplace injury include:

Income Benefits

If you cannot work because of your injury, you might receive income benefits. You must be out of work for more than seven days to be eligible for workers’ comp income benefits. 

Temporary total disability payments are paid when a worker cannot perform any work duties. The amount you receive is equal to about two-thirds of your average weekly wages. However, income benefits cannot exceed the maximum compensation rates.

If you are out of work for more than 21 days, you receive retroactive pay for the first seven days you were out of work.

Temporary partial benefits are paid if you can work, but you cannot earn your regular rate of pay because of your injury. You are entitled to receive 80 percent of the difference between what you can earn now and 80 percent of your average weekly wage before the injury.

Supplement benefits may also be available when a worker’s injuries are severe. 

Medical Treatment

Injured workers are entitled to receive reasonable and necessary medical care at the expense. The employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company pays for medical care. 

However, Florida workers’ compensation laws require that you receive treatment from a doctor approved by your employer or its insurance provider. Make sure that you ask your employer or the insurance company for the name of the doctor you must see. 

Impairment Benefits

Some work-related injuries result in permanent impairments. When your doctor states that you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement or MMI, the doctor evaluates you for permanent impairments. MMI is the point at which further medical treatment would not improve your condition.

If your doctor determines that you sustained a permanent disability or have permanent work restrictions, the doctor assigns a permanent impairment rating. That rating is a factor in determining how much money you receive for this workers’ compensation benefit. 

Reemployment Services

Reemployment services can help you find new employment if your work-related injury prevents you from returning to your previous job. The services you might receive include:

  • Vocational counseling
  • Training and education 
  • Job seeking skills training
  • Selective job placement
  • Transferable skills analysis
  • Job analysis
  • Other services deemed necessary to help you return to work

You can request reemployment services from the Bureau of Employee Assistance and Ombudsman office.

Death Benefits

When an employee dies in a work-related accident or from a work-related illness, family members may be entitled to death benefits. The death benefits can help pay for funeral expenses, education support for a spouse, and financial support for dependents. 

Filing a Third-Party Claim for a Work Injury

Workers’ compensation benefits do not reimburse a worker fully for the losses and damages caused by a work-related injury. For example, workers only receive a portion of their lost wages through a workers’ compensation claim. Also, the amount of benefits is limited for permanent disabilities.

An injured worker is not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. The worker is also not entitled to compensation for other damages that might be included in a personal injury claim.

The workers’ compensation system prevents workers from suing their employers for work-related injuries, except in very limited cases. For instance, a worker might sue an employer if the employer was grossly negligent or intentionally caused the worker harm.

The workers’ compensation laws do not prevent workers from filing third party claims against other parties that might be responsible for the worker’s injury. For example, an employee injured in a car accident caused by another driver might have a third-party claim against the driver. The claim is in addition to any workers’ compensation benefits the employee might receive.

A worker could have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of equipment that was defective. A property owner could be liable for a premises liability claim if the worker were injured on the party’s property while performing work duties.

A personal injury lawyer can review your case to determine if you may have additional claims that could result in more money for a work-related injury.