No matter how diligent you might be about preventing workplace accidents, they sometimes happen anyway.
That’s the nature of accidental injuries: you don’t usually get a warning that your lifestyle and physical condition are about to drastically change. Which means, when you do get injured, you might be left with dozens of questions about the workers’ comp process.
One of the most important ones being, “What does workers’ comp cover?”
Aside from missing out on your regular paychecks, you might be facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and possibly the loss of your livelihood. It’s important to understand what benefits you have under Florida workers’ comp insurance so you can prepare for the future.
What Does Workers’ Comp Cover?
Workplace injuries have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences, and workers’ compensation benefits were developed to soften your financial burden after an accidental injury or illness caused by your work.
If you have been injured in a work-related accident, here are some of the benefits you can receive from the workers’ comp insurance company.
Being injured or contracting an illness due to your job will naturally result in you needing medical attention. But exactly which medical costs does workers’ comp cover?
Your employer’s workman’s compensation coverage will pay for your:
- Doctor’s visits;
- Medical equipment;
- Surgery; and
However, be advised that they will only pay for treatment from authorized providers or for treatment that was provided on an emergency basis.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the insurance company may provide you with authorized medical treatment indefinitely.
For instance, if you have a work injury that leaves you permanently disabled and there have been no new accidents that have worsened your work-related condition, the workers’ comp insurance company will cover your long-term medical care as well.
Depending on the severity of your injury and the nature of your job, your doctor may require that you do not work for a certain period of time.
In the event that your injury leaves you unable to work (and receive a paycheck), workers’ comp will pay for a portion of your lost wages. In most cases, benefits amount to 66 2/3% of your Average Weekly Wage (AWW), but this can vary if you are working in another capacity while you are recovering from your injury.
In the best case scenario, you will recover quickly and suffer no ill effects throughout your lifetime. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
For some, a workplace illness or injury might leave them permanently disabled in such a way that they cannot return to their prior job duties. In these cases, workman’s comp may cover vocational training and rehabilitation to relearn job skills within the injured workers’ new limitations or train them for an entirely new career.
If you have no backup plan, this can be an incredibly helpful way to get you and your family back on your feet.
Funeral Costs and Death Benefits
In the most severe circumstances, a workplace accident doesn’t result in an injury, but in death.
In such cases, workers’ comp would cover the funeral costs of the deceased employee and also pay regular benefits to any surviving dependents.
What’s Not Covered
Workers’ compensation insurance is an extremely helpful type of coverage for both employers and employees, but it’s far from being a “carte blanche” solution to any and every form of injury.
Here are a few things that workers’ comp will not cover.
Pain and Suffering
There is no mechanism under the Florida Workers’ Compensation law for an injured employee to receive compensation for pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life resulting from a workplace accident. No amount of lawyering and no amount of sympathy from a judge can provide an injured worker with compensation for these things.
An injury sustained on an employee’s personal time—even if it affects the employee’s ability to do his/her job—will not be covered by workers’ compensation.
If an injured worker is negligent, perhaps rushing from one place to another and is injured, the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law still requires provision of benefits to that worker.
However, if an employee does something intentional to injure himself, those resulting injuries are not covered under workers compensation. Also, if an employee is injured because of the employee’s knowing refusal to use a safety appliance or observe a safety rule required by law or to use a safety appliance provided to the employee by the employer, the law requires a 25% reduction in the lost wages paid to the injured worker.
Workplace injuries and illnesses can cause confusing and overwhelming lifestyle changes. But knowing what workers’ comp covers will help you prepare for the future so you can stop worrying about your day-to-day expenses and start focusing on your recovery.
At BDT Law Office, we practice workers’ compensation law and only workers’ compensation law. Our main focus is to act as an advocate and counselor for each of our clients, so that they can make informed decisions and receive the benefits they’re entitled to.
Don’t trust your workers’ compensation claim to the goodwill of your employer or their insurance company. They will be looking out for their own interests. If you’re suffering from a work-related injury, it is in your best interest to have an experienced workers’ comp attorney like Brian Tadros on your side. Call today for a free consultation.