An on-the-job injury can lead to a wide range of serious consequences. For example, you may incur substantial medical expenses while treating your injuries. You may also need to take time off of work if your injuries affect your ability to perform your job duties. Some people may never be able to return to work due to severe injuries. Work-related injuries can also cause a great deal of physical and mental pain and suffering.
If you are injured at work in Florida, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But what will these workers’ compensation benefits cover? Will you be compensated for your medical expenses and lost wages? What about your pain and suffering? Below, a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney explains what you need to know about your right to benefits after an on-the-job injury.
Who is Covered By the Workers’ Compensation System in Florida?
Most employers in the state of Florida are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. This includes employers not in the construction or farming industry with at least four part-time or full-time employees.
Employers in the construction industry with at least one employee are also required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employers in the farming industry are required to obtain workers’ compensation coverage if they have more than five regular employees or at least 12 seasonal workers.
The law only requires employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage for employees, not independent contractors.
What Are the Different Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
There are several different types of workers’ compensation benefits that are awarded to injured workers in Florida, including:
- Medical Benefits
- Lost Wages
- Death Benefits
The workers’ compensation system will cover all medically necessary care and treatment related to your workplace injuries. This includes the cost of doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, medical tests, physical therapy, rehabilitation, prostheses, and more.
Medical benefits will also reimburse you for miles traveled to and from your pharmacy and treating physician.
All of your medical expenses will be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. However, once you reach maximum medical improvement, you will be required to pay a $10 co-pay per medical visit.
Many injured workers are temporarily or permanently unable to return to work as a result of their injuries. If you are in this situation, you are entitled to benefits for your lost wages.
There are four types of benefits that are awarded to compensate injured workers for lost wages, including:
- Temporary Total Disability: These benefits are awarded when the victim cannot work at all while they recover from their work-related injuries.
- Temporary Partial Disability: These benefits are awarded when the victim can perform light work or work with restrictions during their recovery. TPD benefits are only awarded when the victim is unable to make 80% of their pre-injury wages by performing light work or work with restrictions.
- Impairment Income Benefits: These benefits are awarded when the victim is permanently, but not totally, disabled due to their work-related injuries. IB benefits are not awarded until the victim has reached maximum medical improvement.
- Permanent Total Disability: These benefits are also awarded when the victim has reached maximum medical improvement. They are only awarded when the victim is totally and permanently disabled, which means they cannot work at all.
Benefits for lost wages are typically equal to two-thirds your pre-injury average weekly wage, up to the state’s maximum, which is $971 in 2020.
If a worker suffers a fatal injury, their surviving family members may be entitled to death benefits through the workers’ compensation system. Surviving family members may be awarded a maximum of $150,000 in death benefits.
These benefits are awarded to compensate the surviving family members for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, job retraining, and other losses related to the victim’s death.
Are You Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Pain and Suffering?
Employees who suffer on-the-job injuries are entitled to benefits for their lost wages and medical expenses, but they are not entitled to benefits for their pain and suffering. The workers’ compensation system does not award benefits to employees for pain and suffering related to on-the-job injuries.
When Can You Recover Compensation For Pain and Suffering?
Compensation for pain and suffering is only awarded in personal injury cases. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is typically your only option after an on-the-job injury. But in some cases, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your workplace injuries.
If you are injured at work due to the negligent conduct of someone besides your employer, for instance, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a personal injury claim. For example, say you are injured at work as a result of a defective product. In this case, the law gives you the right to file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the product. In this personal injury claim, you may be awarded compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
The laws are complex, so it’s wise to discuss your case with an attorney. Let your attorney review your case to determine if you should file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim after an on-the-job injury. If you are able to file a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover compensation for your pain and suffering.
Contact A Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Tampa Today
If you’ve been injured in the workplace, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Tampa. Look no further than the team of skilled attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett, who have over 125 years of combined legal experience. We have helped countless clients fight for the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. Now, let us help you reach the best possible outcome in your case.