For any job, it is important to ensure the safety of the workers who undertake the job. With limited exceptions, the law requires all Florida businesses with four or more employees to have workers’ compensation insurance. For Miami, the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation (FDWC) is responsible for looking over these issues. For making successful claims, it is recommended to hire a Miami workers’ compensation attorney.
What Is the Workers’ Compensation Law?
A workers’ compensation system entails certain benefits for disabled workers and professionals who injure themselves while on the job. General benefits to the workers under this law include monetary compensation for medical bills in case of any injuries.
However, the amount of money that can be claimed is often fixed to protect the employer. In cases of death due to accidents at work, the dependents in the workers’ families are awarded a fixed sum of money to prevent any litigation from their end.
Would I Ever Need to Claim My Compensation Benefits in Miami?
In Florida, there were 275 fatal work injuries in 2020. The most common cause of such injuries included transportation incidents, followed by falls and slips, and exposure to harmful substances. Unfortunately, workplace injuries are common and while some industries are more dangerous than others, all workers are at risk.
What Are the Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you suffer an injury during the course of your job, you are entitled to the workers’ compensation benefits. However, navigating through the complicated procedures of actually claiming the compensation can be overwhelming. Thus, having a clear understanding of the benefits you are owed is important.
Here we list all the benefits under workers’ compensation in Miami. But to make successful claims, you might need the help of a Miami workers’ compensation attorney.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
In case your injuries restrict you from working at your full potential, even if you can return to work, the temporary partial disability benefits apply to you. If the extent of your injuries requires you to work within certain limitations, to the limit that you cannot earn a minimum of 80% of your pre-injury weekly wages, you can claim this benefit.
This may get a little confusing, but considering a simple case where a worker earns $100 in a week prior to getting injured, and after injury due to restricted working, can earn only $65-75 in a week, they are eligible for the compensation.
Workers can avail of this compensation until they reach full medical recovery or a maximum of 104 weeks, depending on the situation.
Temporary Total Disability (TDD) Benefits
If you are temporarily unable to return to work due to your injuries, and the degree of your injuries does not allow any extent of work to be undertaken, you can opt for the temporary total disability benefits. This is particularly for cases where the workers cannot return to work for a minimum of 21 days or more, as advised by a medical professional.
The maximum benefit under this is up to two-thirds of their previous weekly wage. This compensation is provided for a maximum of 104 weeks or till the time of maximum medical improvement, meaning that the injured has reached the maximum level of healing possible for the injuries without any further scope.
Losing a limb or loss of vision also comes under this category. If this is the case, you are eligible for up to 80% of your pre-injury average weekly earnings.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If unfortunately, after completing the maximum recovery period, the doctor states that you are permanently unfit for returning to work, you are eligible for the permanent total disability benefits. This benefit can only be claimed after your maximum recovery period has passed. Under this benefit, you are eligible for benefits, but those are calculated intricately and which vary depending upon previous weekly earnings.
You can calculate an estimate of your benefits using this online calculator provided by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. You are eligible to receive this monetary compensation until death or until the maximum age of 75.
Permanent Impairment Benefits
Similar to a total disability benefit, the permanent impairment benefit provides lifelong compensation. If the doctor in your case determines that there has been permanent damage/ impairment to your physical health, after the maximum recovery period has passed, you can claim the permanent impairment benefits.
There should be further proof that you are no more fit to find work within 50 miles of your home. In such cases, the permanent impairment benefits will provide up to 75% of the weekly wages you earned for the age of 75 or until your demise.
In case of fatal injuries, the deceased’s family is eligible to receive monetary compensation. The funeral expenses are covered under this compensation rule and the schooling expenses of any dependent family member. In addition, an average of the deceased worker’s wage, i.e., about two-thirds of their weekly wage, is also to be provided to the family.
How Is Average Weekly Wage Calculated?
In case of any injury at work that makes you incapable of working temporarily, you are entitled to benefits that are calculated based on your average weekly wage. The rate of compensation is calculated based on your average weekly earnings for the last 13 weeks.
The law recognizes the following categories of your previous earnings to calculate your compensation:
- Annual wages
- Seasonal employment
- Monthly wages
- Hourly wages
- And any other wages i.e., on a project basis, unit basis, or piecework.
The average weekly wage is paid weekly or bi-weekly but calculated based on your previous weekly earnings.
Will These Benefits Be Taxed?
There is a maximum limit for the workers’ wage compensation payments. As of January 1, 2022, in Miami, it is capped at $1099 a week. However, none of the benefits are liable to tax payments under the state and federal law in Florida.
If you are receiving more than one benefit i.e, Supplemental Security Income and compensation benefits, these benefits can be taxed partially. Thus, it is extremely important to understand your standing and associated legal benefits clearly. Overall, it is important to consider the nature and extent of the injury to determine which benefit applies to you.
What Steps Do You Need to Take?
Once you clearly understand your situation, you may consult a personal injury lawyer in Miami to provide professional legal advice for your case. Claiming and keeping track of these benefits can be confusing, especially when you are injured, so it is best to let a professional take care of the intricacies with expertise.