If you suffer injury while performing your job, Florida law provides you with options to receive many benefits through the workers’ compensation system. A workers’ comp claim may give you access to care and financial support you might not otherwise have.
However, taking your claim through the system is not always ideal. For injured workers who want more decision-making freedom, a workers’ compensation settlement might be the best option.
What Are Florida Workers’ Compensation Settlements Worth?
Workers’ compensation settlements in Florida are normally based on the amount of benefits you could receive in a claim for your particular injuries and circumstances. Benefits in a workers’ compensation claim normally include:
- Bi-weekly payments to partially replace your wages from injury-related work absences;
- Payment for necessary medical care; and
- Payment for permanent impairment resulting from the work injury.
Your wage-replacement benefits for missed full days (temporary total disability) are two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW). Your benefits for missed hours and minutes of work (temporary partial disability) can be up to 80% of your AWW.
If your injury affects your ability to work permanently, your permanent impairment benefits are based on the impairment rating a physician determines for you and 75% of your average weekly temporary total disability benefit.
Average Weekly Wage
As you can see, the AWW determines a large portion of many workers’ comp settlements in Florida. Generally, your AWW is based on what you earned during the 13 weeks before you suffered injury.
The week you suffered injury is not included in the calculation. If you worked less than 75% during the 13 weeks before injury, your AWW can be your full-time weekly wage or the AWW of a similar employee who worked 75% of the time.
You may also base your AWW on 52 weeks of wages or your full-time wages if other methods of calculation are not fair. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can argue to increase your AWW and maximize your benefits in a settlement or claim.
Permanent Impairment Rating
Permanent impairment ratings are very important numbers, because they can affect injured workers’ abilities to continue working. Permanent impairment ratings can also affect Florida workers’ comp settlement amounts.
You receive a permanent impairment rating when you reach maximum medical improvement from a work injury. Maximum medical improvement (MMI) does not mean you’re cured.
MMI means that your doctor does not expect further recovery from, or lasting improvement to, your work injury. The discrepancy between your pre-injury abilities and your abilities at the point of MMI is your permanent impairment rating.
A physician bases your permanent impairment rating on the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (Guides). The Guides require very specific examinations to determine impairment that could take an injured worker by surprise.
Workers’ compensation attorneys are familiar with the Guides’ requirements and can prepare you for an impairment rating evaluation, so you can help the rating doctor understand the full scope of your injuries.
Is There a Florida Workers’ Comp Settlement Chart?
You are probably looking for some kind of workers’ comp settlement calculator in Florida. An experienced attorney is your best calculator and chart. An attorney has the resources and experience to give you the best idea of what settlement amount is just.
Florida workers’ compensation settlements are complex and very unique to you and your circumstances. Even if you plug some of your information into a calculator for your impairment income, the result doesn’t always take into account the unique factors that could increase your right to benefits.
A workers’ compensation attorney who knows the details of your case and your life can compile your medical records, your pay stubs, and the special facts about your life to create a customized chart that best reflects the value of your claim.
What Happens When I Settle?
When you settle your case, you waive your right to receive further accident-related benefits from your employer. If your medical condition gets worse after settling, you must pay for your medical care out of your own pocket.
The consequences of a settlement can be steep. Give yourself the best opportunity to maximize your settlement by hiring an attorney who can win what you need.
Contact an Attorney Today for Settlement Advice
The full-service law firm of Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon has been in practice for over 100 years. We work with the compassion and diligence needed to win you the best in a painful time.
We are highly rated, and we want to use our expertise to protect your health and future. Contact us online or call at 850-204-9461. Our lines of communication are open 24/7.