Understanding Workers’ Compensation Laws in Florida
- Workers’ compensation provides no-fault coverage to employees injured in the course of their employment in Florida, depending on the type of business and number of employees.
- The workers’ compensation system provides benefits for missed time and medical treatment.
- Florida’s workers’ compensation law covers a broad range of injuries and exposures but does not provide for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
What Are The Workers’ Compensation Laws In Daytona Beach Florida And The Greater Metro Area?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault coverage provided to employees injured in the course of their employment. Employers in Florida are generally not required to have workers’ compensation coverage unless they have four or more employees. But in the case of construction work, even one employee is sufficient to trigger coverage.
The workers’ compensation system provides two classes of benefits:
- Indemnity benefits: These benefits pay people for missed time and/or impairment ratings and potentially retraining.
- Medical care and treatment: This is reasonable and medically necessary care and treatment that is provided to employees.
Unfortunately, in Florida, workers’ compensation does not provide for any non-economic damages like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and other things that people might otherwise expect to receive in a tort claim.
What Are Some Examples Of Injuries That Are Covered Under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law?
Florida’s workers’ compensation law covers a broad array of injuries and exposures and diseases. The most common are:
- Point source traumas: such as broken arms, twisted ankles, and strained backs.
- Occupational diseases: such as exposures to chemicals that cause an adverse allergic reaction, repetitive trauma cases like carpal tunnel, and other occupational diseases like asbestosis or sick building syndrome from exposure to toxins in the workplace.
It is important to note that for injuries to be covered under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, the injury must be directly attributable to the work. For example, a broken bone or a muscle strain must only be shown to be the major contributing cause of the need for treatment.
Other classes of injuries and illnesses like occupational diseases or exposures require a much-heightened standard of proof, which is that the injured workers show the injury was sustained by clear and convincing evidence.
It’s also important for injured workers to document and summarize the extent and severity of their exposure to workplace hazards as soon as possible. This can be challenging, but it’s crucial for meeting the higher standard of proof required for certain types of injuries and illnesses.
Fortunately, lawyers can assist with data collection and gathering past information about exposures. For example, clients who wore dosimeters to monitor nuclear radiation can gather important data points to meet the standard of clear and convincing evidence. Keep in mind, this process may be more complicated than documenting an immediate, objective injury such as a broken arm shown on a radiograph.
What Injuries Would Not Be Covered By Workers’ Compensation In Florida?
- Emotional injuries that are not accompanied by a physiological injury are typically not covered under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws (pursuant to Florida statute 440.093).
- However, first responders are an exception to this rule. According to Florida statute 112.1815, many classes of first responders can potentially receive both medical and indemnity care and treatment for solely emotional trauma, based on certain enumerated characteristics in the statute.
What Benefits Are Generally Available Under Workers’ Compensation?
The benefits available under Workers’ Compensation in Florida are divided into two main categories, Medical Benefits and Indemnity Benefits.
- Medical care and treatment: Injured workers are entitled to 100% paid medical care and treatment that is reasonable and medically necessary from the date of their injury until they reach maximum medical improvement (the point at which physicians do not expect any further substantial change in the worker’s condition).
- Ancillary expenses, such as medications, prosthetic devices, assistive devices, and medical mileage, are also covered.
- Once an employee reaches maximum medical improvement, they are required to make a $10 co-payment for each medical provider visit.
- Indemnity benefits: Payment for missed time from work, such as temporary partial disability (64% of pre-injury wages) and temporary total disability (two-thirds of pre-injury wages).
- Permanent total disability benefits: Available to employees who are unable to work even a full-time minimum wage job.
- Impairment income benefits: Payment based on the percentage of impairment, payable over time after the employee reaches maximum medical improvement.
- Retraining or job placement assistance: Available for up to two years of schooling, paid for by the state, and employees can obtain up to an additional year of missed time from work benefits while engaging in a retraining program.
In order to receive Permanent Total Disability benefits in Florida, an employee must show that they are completely unable to do any reasonable work within the national economy on a regular employment basis. Additionally, employees are entitled to Impairment Income Benefits, which are calculated using a formula based on the percentage of impairment and payable over time after reaching maximum medical improvement.
The state of Florida also offers Retraining or Job Placement Assistance for up to two years of schooling, which is paid for by the state. If an employee is not able to return to work on a full-time basis making at least 80% of their pre-injury wages, they can also obtain up to an additional year of missed time from work benefits while engaging in a retraining program.
How Long After An Incident With Injury At Work Do I Have To Report It To My Employer If I Intend To File A Claim?
For a direct trauma injury, the employee in most circumstances is required to provide notice to the employer within 30 days. However, for occupational injuries or illnesses, including repetitive trauma or occupational exposures, the employee in Florida has up to 90 days to provide notice to the employer.
It is important to note that sooner reporting is always a better idea than later. For more information on Workers’ Compensation Laws In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. For more information on Workers’ Compensation Laws In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step.
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- Calculating Benefits & Settling Your Claim
- Demystifying The Complexities Of Claim Denial
- The Path To Compensation
- The Basics Of Benefits, Coverage, & Qualifying Injuries
- Beyond Occupational Hazards: Seeking Compensation For Job-Related Injuries & Diseases
- Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Florida: A Guide for Injured Employees
- How To Navigate The Denial Of Workers’ Compensation Claims In Florida