Most employers in the state of Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that covers work-related injuries sustained by their employees. In the event of an on-the-job injury, this insurance policy will compensate the injured employee for their medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and more.
If you’ve suffered a work-related injury, it’s important to know what to expect when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits. How long will you have to wait for benefits? When will you receive your first check after an injury? When should you contact a Tampa workers’ compensation attorney for legal advice and guidance? Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions and more.
When Should You Report Your Injury to Your Employer?
If you’ve been injured at work, one of your first priorities should be reporting your injury to your employer. You cannot obtain workers’ compensation benefits without notifying your employer of your injury.
Don’t wait too long to report your injury. In Florida, injured workers only have 30 days to notify their employer of work-related injuries, however they are encouraged to report injuries as soon as possible. If you miss the 30-day deadline, your claim may be denied and you may lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
When Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Begin After An On-the-Job Injury?
There are several different types of workers’ compensation benefits, including medical benefits and wage replacement benefits. Medical benefits will begin immediately after you sustain an on-the-job injury. This means you won’t have to wait for approval to seek medical treatment for your injuries. However, the rules regarding wage replacement benefits are different.
If you are unable to work or earn the same income as a result of your injuries, you may be entitled to wage replacement benefits. If you are completely unable to work, these benefits are equal to two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wages, subject to the state’s maximum weekly benefit amount. If you are working with restrictions, but not earning as much as you did prior to your injury, these benefits are equal to a percentage of the difference between your pre-injury average weekly wages and your post-injury average weekly wages.
Injured workers rely on wage replacement benefits to make ends meet while they are recovering. Because these workers are unable to work as much or at all due to their injuries, these benefits are often their only source of income. Fortunately, injured workers will not have to wait too long to receive these benefits.
You will start earning wage replacement benefits on the eighth day of your disability. You will not be compensated for the first seven days of your disability unless you are disabled for more than 21 days due to your work-related injuries. In this case, you will be paid wage replacement benefits for the first seven days of your disability.
When Will You Receive Your First Workers’ Compensation Check?
If you qualify for benefits, you may be eager to find out when your first check will arrive. Even though you start earning wage replacement benefits on the eighth day of your disability, this doesn’t mean you will receive a check on this date. The law states that every injured worker should receive their first workers’ compensation check within 21 days after reporting their injury to their employer.
How Often Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits Paid?
Your first check will come within 21 days from the date you reported your injury to your employer. From this point forward, workers’ compensation benefits will be paid every two weeks until you are no longer eligible for benefits.
How Long Will I Continue to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Everyone’s case is unique. The length of time you will continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- Type of benefit
- Severity of your injury
- How long it takes you to recover
In general, injured workers can receive temporary partial and temporary total disability benefits for up to 104 weeks. However, benefits will terminate earlier if the worker reaches their maximum medical improvement (MMI) before the 104-week period is over.
The rules regarding permanent disability benefits are different. The length of time that impairment income benefits will continue will depend on your impairment rating. For example, you will receive two weeks of these benefits for every impairment percentage point from one percent up to and including 10 percent. But you will receive three weeks of benefits for every impairment percentage point from 11 percent up to and including 15 percent. The number of weeks will continue to increase as the impairment percentage gets higher.
If you are awarded permanent total disability benefits, which means you will never be able to return to work as a result of your injuries, you will continue to receive these benefits for as long as you are permanently disabled.
What Should I Do If I Stop Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Workers’ compensation benefits can stop for a number of different reasons. If you believe your benefits have been terminated prematurely, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney right away.
Your attorney can communicate with your employer’s insurance company on your behalf, protect your rights, and aggressively fight to obtain the benefits you need.
Discuss Your Legal Options With Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Don’t wait to contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett after an on-the-job injury. Contact our law office as soon as possible to discuss your case, learn about your legal options, and find out how we can help you secure the benefits you deserve. With over 125 years of combined legal experience, we know what it takes to help our clients win the benefits they are entitled to by law.
If you’re ready to fight for workers’ compensation benefits, schedule a free consultation with our experienced team today.