The Florida workers’ compensation program covers most people employed in our state. It pays medical and lost wage benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses. Because workers’ compensation must cover all potential situations, it has many rules and regulations – many of which are complicated and confusing.
To help you understand your workers’ compensation case, Frank M. Eidson, P.A., offers the following answers to frequently asked questions in this area of the law. We can also discuss the specific facts of your case in a free consultation. Simply call or contact us online today to arrange one.
Since 1989, Orlando workers’ compensation attorney, Frank M. Eidson, has been helping workers throughout Orlando, Winter Park and Central Florida to obtain workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. He would be glad to review your case and help you as well.
Workers’ Compensation FAQs
I have been injured in a workplace accident. What can Florida workers’ compensation do for me?
Florida’s workers compensation can help you with the steep costs of a job-related injury or illness by paying your medical expenses and replacing a portion of the wages you have lost after being hurt on the job.
Workers’ compensation medical benefits are paid directly to doctors and other healthcare providers who treat you for your injury or illness. You should be covered for all costs, including doctors’ visits, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, surgery, prescription drugs and rehabilitation.
Lost wage benefits provide money to cover a percentage (usually two thirds) of the weekly salary you earned prior to your injury or illness. This is a bi-weekly check sent to you. The amount you receive and length of time you receive it will vary. Wage replacement benefits are paid according to whether you are determined to be suffering a Temporary Total Disability, Temporary Partial Disability, Permanent Impairment, or Permanent Total Disability.
How do I obtain workers’ compensation benefits in Florida?
Under Florida’s workers’ compensation rules, your employer should submit a claim on your behalf. But it is your responsibility to promptly report a work-related injury or illness to your employer so that a claim can be initiated.
If you have been injured in an accident at work, or your doctor has said you are too ill to continue working, you must report it to your employer within 30 days to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Your employer should report your claim to its workers’ compensation insurer within seven days of hearing from you. The insurer should send information about your claim and your rights to workers’ compensation within three days of receiving your claim.
If you do not receive this acknowledgement of your claim within about two weeks of reporting it to your employer, you may have to file for workers’ compensation benefits yourself. (This time constraint is why it is important to report an injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible.)
If your employer fails to file a workers’ compensation claim for you or disputes your claim, we suggest hiring a lawyer experienced with Florida’s workers’ compensation system. This is not required, but a lawyer like Frank M. Eidson can help you to navigate a very complicated system.
I have a doctor I would like to see about my injury, but my employer says I must see someone else. Who chooses my doctor concerning a workers’ compensation claim?
If you have a workers’ compensation claim in Florida, your employer has some say in the doctor you see for treatment related to your injury or illness. In most cases, your employer (through its insurer) will have several doctors you may choose from. It is crucial that you see the employer’s / insurer’s doctor to maintain your eligibility for workers’ compensation.
You may also see a doctor of your own choice, and if you have a regular doctor you should certainly see him or her. In some cases, it is beneficial to have a second opinion about a workplace injury or illness and the treatment your employer’s doctor recommends.
You must follow your assigned doctor’s orders to maintain eligibility for benefits. If you disagree with that treatment plan, you can appeal to the Division of Workers’ Compensation. For example, if your assigned physician decides you have recovered well enough to return to work, you may appeal this decision. However, you will need a second doctor’s opinion to back your claim.
Attorney Frank M. Eidson can assist if you have problems with the doctor assigned to your workers’ compensation claim.
I have an occupational illness that has left me fully disabled. Can I collect Social Security Disability benefits and workers’ compensation at the same time?
Yes. A disabled worker may receive Social Security Disability benefits while receiving workers’ compensation insurance benefits. But your SSD benefits may be reduced.
The federal SSD program assists workers who have become unable to work for a living because of an injury or illness. Under SSD rules, your total disability benefit may not exceed 80 percent of your average weekly wage prior to your disability.
If your combined workers’ comp benefit and SSD payment exceeds that cap, your SSD benefits will be reduced. This is known as a “workers’ compensation offset.” The offset is calculated the first month you receive both SSD benefits and workers’ comp.
Regulations pertaining to the workers’ compensation offset have many variables. There are ways to structure a workers’ compensation settlement so that it has the least effect possible on your SSD benefit.
Frank M. Eidson, P.A., can help you coordinate your Florida workers’ compensation claim with SSD benefits and/or other public disability benefit programs.
I feel like the accident that caused my injury was because of a specific problem at my worksite. Can I sue my employer?
In most cases, you cannot sue your employer for fault in a workplace accident. But there may be others who are responsible for your injury and who can be held liable.
Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” program. This means that the injured worker qualifies for benefits regardless of a finding of fault. In exchange for providing workers’ compensation insurance, the employer is protected from lawsuits by employees.
However, there is no such protection for non-employers, or “third parties.” For example, if you were injured when scaffolding erected by a subcontractor at your worksite collapsed, the subcontractor could be held liable for your injuries. Another example would be getting hit by another driver when you were making a delivery for work. The other driver could be sued.
Pursuing additional insurance settlements or court verdicts through such “third-party lawsuits” can increase the compensation you obtain for injuries and other losses in a workplace accident.
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If you have been injured in an accident, turn to Frank M. Eidson P.A. Whether your case is a simple collision or a complicated auto wrongful death case, contact personal injury lawyer Frank Eidson today to schedule your free consultation.
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