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Injured worker filling out workers' comp claim. | Colling Gilbert Wright

When Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Lost Wages?

As workers’ compensation lawyers in Orlando, we are often asked, When does workers’ comp pay for lost wages? An employee should be eligible for lost wages if they missed work due to their work-related injury or illness. Yet, receiving those benefits isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

Workers’ compensation is a much-needed safety net for Florida workers who have been injured on the job or become ill due to their work. However, the system does not always work as intended. Injured workers can face unexpected obstacles when pursuing workers’ comp benefits, including denied claims, less compensation than they deserve, inadequate medical treatment, and retaliation from their employers.

If you’re asking, “When does workers’ comp pay for lost wages?” it’s typically after you’ve been unable to work for a certain period due to a work-related injury. Should you be facing resistance in obtaining the benefits you deserve, your best option is to get in touch with a workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can help protect your rights and secure the workers’ compensation pay you deserve for the injuries you have sustained.

To discuss your claim with the workers’ comp lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright, call us today at (407) 712-7300 to schedule your FREE case evaluation. Our attorneys proudly serve our neighbors in Orlando and throughout Florida.

Under What Circumstances Does Workers’ Compensation Pay for Lost Wages in Florida?

Employers in Florida with four or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance in the event an employee is injured on the job. Workers’ comp covers lost wages to these employees provided a few things are true:

1. You Are Classified As an Employee of the Company

If you are an independent contractor, you most likely will not be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. You may still be covered if you are a part-time employee, a minor, or unlawfully employed.

2. The Injury or Illness Was Job-Related

To recover workers’ comp benefits, your injury or illness must extend from your employment. If, for example, you were injured while driving to or from work, chances are you will not be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. On the other hand, if you were driving to a job site while on the clock, you likely would be eligible to recover benefits.

3. The Statute of Limitations Has Not Passed

In Florida, you have 2 years to file a workers’ compensation claim related to a work injury. If you fail to do so, you will not be able to recover workers’ comp benefits.

You should also be aware of other rules and technicalities. We encourage you to be meticulous throughout your claims process or work with an Orlando workers’ compensation attorney who can handle the details for you.

How Does a Workers’ Comp Settlement Work?

Typically, workers’ comp pays injured workers a certain amount based on their typical wages up to a certain period of time. When an injured worker has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), you may consider negotiating a settlement with the workers’ compensation insurance company.

While you can pursue a settlement before reaching MMI, waiting until MMI has been established is often the best course of action. This way, you will have the best understanding of any future medical needs and the associated costs.

When pursuing a settlement, the process will look something like this:

  • Settlement proposal by you or the insurance company
  • Determination of the type of settlement, whether lump-sum or structured
  • Negotiation of a settlement offer
  • Review of the settlement terms by a workers’ comp judge (note this is not required if the injured worker is represented by a lawyer)
  • Finalization of the settlement

While settlements can provide the advantage of receiving benefits up front, it is crucial to understand that once you sign a settlement offer, you will not be able to pursue any additional benefits for your injury. As such, we highly recommend working with an experienced lawyer who can ensure you negotiate a fair amount.

Read More: Will Workers’ Comp Offer Me a Settlement?

How Much Does Workers’ Comp Pay for Lost Wages in Florida?

How much you can recover in workers’ comp benefits depends on the severity of your injuries and how long they hinder your ability to work. Here is a broad overview of the different classifications of injuries:

  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD): You can receive 66.67% of your wages, which can go up to 80% if the injury is severe. You can generally receive up to 2 years of TTD benefits.
  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): You can receive benefits under TPD if you cannot make at least 80% of your typical wages. Like TTD, you can receive up to 2 years of TPD benefits.
  • Impairment Income Benefits (IIB): If you are permanently injured but still able to work, your workers’ compensation doctor will assign a permanent impairment rating. If that rating is above 0%, you will receive compensation based on your rating.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD): If you are permanently unable to work due to your injury, you may be eligible to receive 66.67% of your wages until you reach the age of 75, unless you are not eligible for social security benefits.

There are many rules and technicalities around the percentage of pay you may receive and for how long, including the fact that lost wages cannot exceed the state’s average weekly wage, which, as of January 1, 2024, is $1,260. The good news is that the benefits paid are generally tax-free.

What Is the Waiting Period for Workers’ Compensation?

There is a 7-day waiting period before workers’ comp benefits can begin, during which you will not be paid. However, if the disability lasts longer than 21 days, these 7 days of benefits will be paid retroactively.

You should receive your first payment within 21 days of reporting the injury or illness to your employer, which you must do within 30 days of the injury or becoming aware of the illness.

After the initial payment, you can expect to receive workers’ comp lost wage payments every two weeks for the duration of your disability.

Should I Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney?

While you may be able to navigate the workers’ compensation process without an attorney, there are certain situations where a lawyer can help, including if:

While workers’ comp insurance is a great protection for injured workers, understand that it is still largely managed by for-profit insurance companies that will do what they can to avoid paying the compensation you deserve for your injuries—especially when it comes to serious injuries leading to long-term, costly disabilities.

Contact the Dedicated Lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright Today

At Colling Gilbert Wright, we know how frustrating it can be to face unexpected obstacles when pursuing the compensation you deserve for your injuries—especially when your focus needs to be on healing. We can do more than simply answer, “When does workers’ comp pay for lost wages?” We are here to help at every stage of your claim.

Our goal is to assist you at this challenging time with compassionate, dedicated legal guidance and representation. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will take the legal burden off your shoulders so you can focus on getting better.

To get started, contact our Orlando workers’ comp lawyers today to schedule a FREE consultation. We are eager to advocate for you and your family at this trying time.

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