If you’re collecting workers comp benefits, you are probably wondering how long you can receive them. Every state is different when it comes to workers compensation. They all have their own rules and guidelines. This is why it’s a good idea to hire workers compensation lawyers in Florida. They know the rules and they know how to abide by them. The last thing you want to do is think you have workers comp benefits coming for a year or two only to find out they’re about to run out.
The truth is that your injuries have more to do with when your workers comp benefits end than anything else. Once your doctor determines that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, they’ll order your return to work. Once that happens, you won’t have much of a choice. However, there are other ways your workers comp benefits can end. Here, we’ll talk about these different ways. We’ll also explain how your workers compensation claim in Florida will progress, from the time it’s filed until the day it closed.
If you have questions about your own workers compensation claim in Florida, give us a call. We can set up a date and time for you to come in and sit down with an experienced Ft. Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer. We offer all our clients a free, initial consultation.
When Do Your Workers Comp Benefits Start?
While many of our clients wonder when their workers comp benefits will end, others are confused as to when they’ll start. The way workers comp works in Florida is similar to the way it works in most other states. You can’t even open a workers compensation claim in Florida until you’ve been out of work for 7 days.
And your workers comp benefits won’t really kick in until you’ve been out of work two or three weeks. This is because the insurance company doesn’t want to start paying someone workers comp benefits or open a claim if they’re going to be back to work in a matter of days or weeks.
The State of Florida Only Allows for 104 Weeks of Workers Comp Benefits
In Florida, you can only collect workers comp benefits for 104 weeks. This comes out to be 2 years. They figure that most people will have returned to work by this point. Some other states let people collect workers comp benefits for up to 9 or 10 years.
While this may seem generous, it can actually be a disservice. When a person stays home for that long nursing a real (or imagined) injury, it just makes it harder for them to go back to work.
It’s also not fair to expect your employer or their insurance company to continue to pay you for years on end. While you’re out being treated for your injury, your employer has to pay somebody else to do your job. They’re also paying their premiums for workers compensation insurance. At some point, it makes sense to determine just how permanent your injuries are. The legislature in Florida believes that 2 years is plenty of time to figure this out.
Your Workers Compensation Doctor Will Determine When You’ve Reached Maximum Medical Improvement
As you probably already know, you can only receive medical treatment for your work-related injuries by a state-approved workers compensation doctor. If you’re treated by anybody else, their care won’t be covered by your employer’s insurance carrier.
One of the duties of the workers compensation doctors is to determine when you have reached something called “maximum medical improvement.” This refers to the point at which further medical treatment will no longer benefit you.
For example, imagine you injure your back at work. You have surgery and go to physical therapy for three or four months. You also see a chiropractor for about 9 months. At that point, the doctor believes that there’s nothing left they can do for you. They see no reason for you to stay out on workers comp any longer.
It is at this point that your Ft. Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer must decide to encourage you to go back to work or pursue damages for a permanent injury.
Your Workers Comp Benefits May Be Terminated if You Engage in Any Wrongdoing
We’ve already discussed a couple of reasons why your workers compensation claim in Florida will be closed. One other way this can happen is if you do something you’re not supposed to while out on workers comp.
If you do any of the following, you shouldn’t be surprised if your workers comp benefits are terminated:
- You start working at another job and are caught by the insurance company
- You make a comment to a friend or on social media that you were never really hurt in the first place
- The insurance company has an investigator follow you and they discover that you’re absolutely fine and have been milking your injury
- You refuse to participate in your medical treatment
If you’re found to have done any of these things, there isn’t much your Ft. Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer can do to help.
Your Ft. Lauderdale Workers Compensation Lawyer Will Negotiate a Settlement for Permanent Disability
One of the more common ways your workers comp benefits may end is if your attorney negotiates a settlement of your claim. If the doctor confirms that you’ve suffered a permanent injury, your Ft. Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer will try to negotiate a lump sum settlement. This way, you’ll get compensation for your injuries and the insurance company can close your workers compensation claim in Florida.
It’s Important to Contact a Ft. Lauderdale Workers Compensation Lawyer Today
If you’re hurt at work on a Monday, you should be on the phone with a personal injury lawyer in Florida by Tuesday. Hiring an attorney early is important. It gives you the best chances of having your workers compensation claim in Florida approved. They know what information needs to be included with your claim form. They also know how the insurance companies operate. If they get an inkling that your employer or their insurance carrier intend to deny your claim, they’ll intervene.
When you file your claim for workers comp benefits on your own, the insurance company knows you don’t have an attorney. This gives them the opportunity to try to take advantage of you. They may deny your claim hoping you’ll just walk away empty-handed. Or they may try to make you return to work before you’re fully recovered. They can’t get away with this if you retain a Ft. Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer.