Minor cuts and bruises may happen all the time at work, depending on what you do. Most workplace injuries are taken care of with a bandage and an ice pack. But when you have an accident at work that leaves you seriously hurt and in need of medical care, your employer is obligated to cover your medical bills and lost wages through their workers’ compensation insurance policy.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation, also known as workers’ comp or workman’s comp, is an insurance program that nearly all employers in Florida are required by law to carry. The policy covers the medical bills and partial lost wages for any worker injured on the job regardless of fault. This means that even if your own carelessness caused your injury—for example, you slipped on scaffolding or dropped a power tool—your medical care should be covered. In exchange for providing this no-fault insurance, employers cannot be sued by a worker if the injury was caused by employer negligence. You should be given information about filing a workers’ comp claim by your employer, and the process should be fairly straightforward. However, some companies make the process more difficult than it should be. In those situations, you might want to contact a lawyer.
Available Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In Florida, workers’ comp will pay for approved medical care and will pay disability benefits if you are unable to work due to the injury you suffered. If you are injured on the job—or develop an illness due to workplace exposure—you may qualify for the following benefits:
- Medical benefits. Workers’ comp will pay for all medical care needed to treat your workplace injury, as long as it is prescribed by your treating physician and approved by the workers’ comp insurance company.
- Temporary disability. If you are unable to work for more than seven days because of your injury, you may qualify for temporary disability payments of two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a preset maximum. These benefits will continue until your doctor releases you to return to work or you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). In most cases, you cannot receive temporary disability payments for more than two years.
- Permanent impairment. If your work injury has caused a lasting medical condition or lost function, but you are still able to engage in some form of work, you may receive an impairment rating from your doctor and will continue to receive benefits based on this rating.
- Permanent total disability. If your doctor determines that you can never return to work because of a permanent disability, you may continue to receive workers’ comp benefits at the rate of your temporary disability payments until you turn 75, when you can begin receiving Social Security benefits.
- Vocational rehabilitation. If you can’t return to your original job, workers’ comp may pay for retraining, vocational counseling, or a job placement service.
- Death benefits. When an employee dies as a result of a work-related injury or illness, the worker’s spouse and children can receive death benefits, including funeral expenses.
Getting a couple of bills paid through your employer’s workers’ comp insurance after a minor injury may not be difficult, but when you are facing a serious impairment, you may have a battle ahead of you.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you are injured at work, it is important that you inform your supervisor, fill out an injury report, and seek medical care as soon as possible. Once you have taken those steps, you may want to contact an attorney to help with the rest of the process if you are getting any pushback from your employer. As an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney, Andrew G. Rosenberg can help with your initial filing to ensure you are approved for all the benefits to which you are entitled. Fill out the form on this page to schedule your free consultation in our Coral Springs office.