Have You Been Injured On the Job? Discover How to Get Your Medical Bills Paid, How to Calculate Your Wage Loss Benefits, What to Do if Your Workers' Comp Claim is Denied, and Other Tips from Orlando's Expert Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Have you been injured at work? If so, these questions have probably crossed your mind...
1. How does workers' comp pay me?
2. Can my employer fire me while on workers' compensation?
3. Can I still work and get workers' compensation?
4. How do I know if I need to hire an attorney? And if I do, where do I even start?
These are just a few of many questions I hear from my clients. And it's no wonder...workers' compensation can be an incredibly confusing and complicated process.
Do You Need an Attorney for Your Florida Workers' Comp Case?
Another question many injured workers have is whether or not they need legal representation for their workers' comp claim. Is it really worth the effort to seek an attorney? Workers' comp can be a tedious and complicated process, and having an experienced attorney to help can sometimes mean the difference between a denied or accepted claim.
3 Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Workers' Comp Claim
1) Signing a medical release
It is usually never a good idea to sign a medical release unless you fully understand what you are signing. Doing so can harm your case. Be very careful as some insurance companies may try to trick you into signing a release.
2) Giving recorded statements
You are not required to give an insurance company a recorded statement. Remember, the other side's insurance company is going to try to save them as much money as possible. They may try to trick you to give a statement that could be used against you later.
3) Not being up front about prior accidents or injuries
It is incredibly important to be honest about your injuries in a workers' comp claim. For instance, if you have a shoulder injury, and have injured your shoulder in the past--mention it! If your current injury is somehow related to the injury-in-question and you fail to mention your past injury, they may accuse you of fraud.
How Much Will Workers' Comp Pay Me in Wage Loss?
The workers’ comp insurance company will pay you 66 and ⅔ of your average weekly wage if you were injured on the job and unable to work.
The amount the workers’ comp carrier has to pay you is dependent upon the wages you received in the 13 weeks before you were injured. It does not matter if you had taken a few weeks off or if you had not worked a full 40 hours for whatever reason.
How to Calculate Wage Loss Benefits
You will need to provide your paycheck to determine your weekly wage. As a general rule, take care that your hours and wages are properly documented. Detrimental issues can arise if you have improper time records or failed to declare all income (such as tips).
In order to calculate your lost wage benefits, the employee or their attorney must…
- Add up the total amount of wages for the 13 weeks (or 91 days) preceding the injury.
- Divide this number by 13, and the result is your "AWW" - your average weekly wage.
- Take 66.66% of your AWW and that will be the amount of your wage loss checks.
Your paychecks should be the only evidence you need to prove your wages.
Q: What if I Make My Income Through Tips?
A: Tips, commissions, and other untaxed income can be added to the equation if the employer is aware that it is part of the employee’s income. It is very important for waiters and other service industry workers to claim tips on tax returns in order to receive the deserved benefits.
Q: Am I Compensated for Income Made at a Second Job?
A: If you were injured on the job and have a second job, then your workers’ comp benefits could be calculated based upon both jobs. In order for this to take place, the second job must have also had worker’s comp insurance and the employee needed to have paid taxes on income made there as well.