Floridians who suffer injuries requiring time off from work as the result of a workplace accident may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The length of time in which an injured employee may receive benefits is up to two years for a temporary disability.
After seeking medical treatment, rehabilitation or physical therapy related to an injury, an employee typically expects to return to work. A study conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute, however, revealed that 20% of Florida’s employees do not actually return to their jobs within one year of sustaining injuries. As reported by Business Insurance, out of the employees studied, 16% did not return to work after one month of their work-related injury.
Most employers may not allow an employee to return to work without obtaining a return-to-work clearance from a physician. For this reason, it is important to continue receiving treatment as long as necessary before attempting to work again.
The importance of workers’ comp benefits
Most Sunshine State employees hurt on the job require financial assistance to pay for their living expenses while they stay home and recover. Eligible employees may receive bi-weekly benefit checks for up to 104 weeks. The typical amount is about 67% of an employee’s average weekly paycheck. Workers’ compensation also covers medical treatment and prescriptions regardless of whether an employee’s negligence caused the injury.
After the recovery period or the benefits end
The law prohibits an employer from firing an employee who sustained an injury as the result of a workplace accident. It is also unlawful for an employer to terminate a worker because he or she applied for and received workers’ compensation benefits.
An employer, however, holds no obligation to keep an employee’s position open specifically for the individual to return to it. If an injury results in an employee’s inability to perform the same tasks as before the accident, an employer may reassign the worker to another position. If a catastrophic injury prevents an individual from ever returning to work, a legal action may provide options for long-term compensation.