Q: How long do I have to report an accident to my employer?
A: You have to report your accident within thirty days, though it is best to report it right away (Section 440.185, Florida Statutes).
Q: When will my employer report my injury to their insurance company?
A: Your employer has seven days to report the incident, though they should do it right away. The insurance company then has three days to send you an information brochure about your rights and responsibilities and about workers’ compensation laws (Section 440.185, Florida Statutes).
Q: What do I do if my employer does not report my injury to their insurance company?
A: If your employer does not report your injury to the insurance company, then you have a right to do so yourself. You can receive assistance with this through the Employee Assistance Office (EAO) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 800-342-1741 (Section 440.185, Florida Statutes).
Q: What kind of medical treatment can seek?
A: Your employer or insurance company will authorize a medical care provider to give you the treatment that you need for your injuries (Section 440.13(2), Florida Statutes).
Q: Will I have to pay my own medical expenses?
A: All of your medical expenses that are authorized should be paid for by your employer’s insurance company. You should not have to pay these expenses (Section 440.13(14), Florida Statutes).
Q: Can I be compensated for time off of work?
A: If your disability lasts for more than 21 days, you can be paid for all of your time off of work, though if it does not, you will not receive pay for the first seven days (Section 440.12, Florida Statutes).
Q: What can I expect to receive in payment?
A: Typically, you will receive 66% of your average weekly wage (AWW). You will receive this check biweekly. For injuries that occurred prior to October 1, 2003, this amount is calculated from the earned pages for the 91 days prior to the injury without exceeding the state limit. For injuries that occurred after October 1, 2003, this amount will be calculated with the wages of the 13 weeks prior to the injury (Section 440.02(28) & 440.14, Florida Statutes).
Q: Will I have to pay income tax on this money?
A: You do not have to pay any income tax on the money that you receive through workers’ compensation. If you return to work on light duty, you will still pay taxes on your earned wages. Visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov for more information.
Q: When can I expect to start receiving checks?
A: You can expect to start receiving checks within 21 days of reporting your injury to your employer (Section 440.20, Florida Statutes).
Q: How long can I receive checks if I have a temporary disability?
A: If you are receiving Temporary Total or Partial Disability payments, you can receive checks for up to 104 weeks (Section 440.15(2), Florida Statutes).
Q: What if I receive social security benefits at the same time as workers’ compensation benefits?
A: You can receive social security benefits at the same time as workers’ compensation benefits, though the two combined cannot exceed 80% of your AWW prior to injury. Contact the Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov or 800-772-1213 to learn more (Section 440.15(9), Florida Statutes).
Q: What if I receive re-employment assistance at the same time as workers’ compensation?
A: You are not allowed to receive re-employment assistance at the same time as workers’ compensation benefits because you must be medically able to work to qualify for unemployment. Learn more about Re-employment Assistance by visiting www.floridajobs.org (Section 440.15(10), Florida Statutes).
Q: What happens if I don’t start receiving benefits checks?
A: If you don’t start receiving benefits checks, call the insurance company to find out what’s going on. If this does not resolve the issue, contact the EAO at 800-342-1741 (Section 440.14, Florida Statutes).
Q: Does my employer have to hold my job until I can be medically released to work again?
A: Your employer does not have to hold your job for you.
Q: Is my employer allowed to fire me if my injury prevents me from working while I receive workers’ compensation benefits?
A: It is against the law for your employer to fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim (Section 440.205, Florida Statutes).
Q: What if I can’t return to the same type of work that I did before my injury?
A: You can receive re-employment services to help you return to a new type of work if you are no longer able to return to your former employment. This will allow you to learn new vocational skills and formal retraining. Contact the Department of Financial Services Division of Workers’ Compensation Bureau of Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office (EAO) to learn more: 800-342-1741 (Section 440.491, Florida Statutes).
Q: What if my employer and insurance company deny my claim for workers’ compensation?
A: You always have the option of hiring an attorney or seeking assistance from the EAO to resolve your dispute. You can also file a Petition for Benefits at no cost. Contact 800-342-1741 to learn more (Section 440.191 & 440.192, Florida Statutes).
Q: Is there a time limit for filing a Petition for Benefits?
A: There is a time limit, typically of two years, to file a Petition. This may vary depending on the dispute. Learn more by contacting the EAO at 800-342-1741 (Section 440.19(1), Florida Statutes).
Q: At what time will my claim be closed?
A: For those injured prior to January 2, 1994, the claim closed one year from the date of last compensation payment or medical treatment. Following January 1, 1994, the statute of limitations was raised to two years (Section 440.19(2), Florida Statutes).
Q: Can I settle my claim?
A: In some situations, a voluntary settlement can be reached (Section 440.20 (11)(a)(b)(c), Florida Statutes).
Q: What happens if my condition worsens after settling my claim?
A: If your condition worsens after a settlement is reached, you will be responsible for all future payments for medical treatment.
Q: What if I’m having trouble with getting my prescriptions filled with the pharmacy?
A: Florida allows injured workers the right to select their pharmacy/pharmacist, though the pharmacy does not have to participate in workers’ compensation. You can always seek out a new pharmacy (Section 440.13 (3)(j), Florida Statutes).
Q: I am eligible to have my personal information exempt from a public record release (S.119.071 (4) (D), Florida Statutes), so if I am injured on the job and my injury is reported to your office, will my personal information be withheld from a public record request?
A: Your social security number will be redacted from any public record requests, though your contact information and social security number will be collected and your information will not be automatically withheld from public record requests. You or your employer can formally write to the agency in possession of your information to claim the exempt status.