Every now and then, a new client comes into the office and asks to meet with a workers compensation attorney in Florida. Once they get settled in, they explain that they were hurt at work and are collecting workers compensation benefits. However, they say they’re upset because they’re not getting the right amount. Like many other people on workers compensation, they don’t realize that you don’t receive your full pay while out on workers comp. For some people, workers compensation wages they receive may be a whole lot less than their regular wage.
While most companies have a policy that addresses workplace accidents, they don’t really explain how workers compensation works. All the employee knows is that their medical treatment will be covered under workers comp and that they’ll start to receive weekly benefits. Nobody explains that the workers compensation wages they’re going to get are only 2/3 of what they used to make. Obviously, it can be hard to pay your bills on that amount of money. Sadly, there’s not much your personal injury attorney in Florida can do about it.
Here, we’ll talk about how you can calculate your weekly workers compensation wages. We’ll also explain the specific laws in Florida that govern workers compensation benefits. If you still have questions about your benefits after reading this article, just give us a call. We can always set up your free, initial consultation.
Before You Calculate Your Workers Compensation Wages, You Need to Qualify for Benefits
Before you worry about calculating your workers compensation wages, you need to qualify for workers comp. Florida has outlined certain requirements for workers comp. Some of these include:
- Your accident must’ve taken place while you’re on the clock. For salaried employees, you just have to show that you were acting within the scope of your employment at the time of your injury.
- You cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident.
- You must report the accident immediately.
- You must be treated by a state-approved doctor.
- You cannot deviate from your treatment recommendations.
- If your company offers you a light-duty position while you’re recovering, you must accept it.
If you meet all of these requirements, there’s a good chance your claim will be approved. If this doesn’t happen, you need to call and talk to an experienced workers compensation attorney in Florida.
You Won’t Be Receiving the Same Amount as You Were Prior to the Accident
It can be really frustrating to learn that you won’t be receiving your normal wages while out on workers comp. According to workers compensation laws in Florida, you’ll only receive 2/3 of your average weekly wages. So, if you normally make $1,000 per week, you’ll receive $666 in workers compensation wages every week.
The one good thing is that the money you receive in workers compensation wages isn’t taxed. You don’t have to worry about the government taking a piece of your weekly wages. Of course, that is not much comfort for the person receiving these lower workers compensation wages.
There Is a Limit to How Much You Can Receive Per Week
No matter what your annual salary or hourly rate is, there is a limit to how much you can receive in workers compensation wages. In Florida, they use the average weekly wage rate to set the maximum for workers comp benefits.
The way it works is that the state changes the maximum workers comp rate every year. They determine this only after calculating the average weekly wage rate for all workers in Florida. Whatever this amount is, that will be the limit for the given year.
For anyone who got hurt at work after January 1 of 2021, the maximum weekly benefit amount they can receive is $1,099. This is spelled out on the Florida Governor’s page. Every year in November, the state publishes an informational bulletin that specifies what that year’s maximum will be.
The reason this is important is that, even if you normally make $2,000 or $3,000 per week, you will not receive more than the $1,099 limit. For someone making $3,000, their workers comp benefit rate will be $1,099. Had they been eligible for 2/3 their normal wages like other workers, they would have received $2,000 per week. This is a difference of over $900. It can be very difficult for anyone to live on one third of their regular paychecks.
There is Also a Limit to How Long You Can Collect Workers Compensation Wages
If you lived in a state like Georgia or North Carolina, you’d be eligible to collect workers comp benefits for several years. However, Florida is very stingy when it comes to workers compensation. Unlike these other states, you are only allowed to collect workers compensation wages for 104 weeks in Florida. This is a total of 2 years.
This may sound like a long time. However, depending on your injuries, you may be out of work longer than that. For example, if you suffer a spinal cord injury or contract a serious illness while at work, you could be out for years. The way the courts in Florida see it, if you’re still hurting at the 2-year point, you should probably shift over to disability.
Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney in Florida
If you get hurt at work, you’ll probably have to go out on workers comp. Unless your injuries are minor, there’s a good chance you’ll be out of work for a few weeks or months. It all depends on how bad your injuries are. The problem is that you may not understand what your workers comp benefits are.
Personal injury attorneys in Florida meet with clients all the time who don’t understand workers compensation law. Many of them assume they’re going to get paid their regular wages while out on workers comp. It can be difficult to explain why they’re paid so little in workers compensation wages while they’re out recovering, However, your attorney can at least make sure you get the benefits you deserve.
All you have to do is call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have. You can also get an attorney involved early in the process so they can make sure you aren’t taken advantage of. Your first meeting is free, so you have nothing to lose. In addition, you don’t have to pay your workers compensation attorney in Florida a dime until your case is settled.