Embarking on the journey back to employment following a work injury can be a challenging endeavor, particularly if you’re uncertain about your rights and obligations. Many workers are concerned that an employer will try to force them to return to work before they’re ready.
Our Fort Myers workers’ comp lawyers explain what you need to know about returning to work in Florida after an accident on the job. We’re here to help you obtain the maximum benefits, so contact us today for a free consultation.
Workers’ Compensation Laws in Florida
Florida’s workers’ compensation laws are designed to facilitate the employee’s return to the workplace as swiftly as possible. You’re required to make a good-faith effort to return to work. The Florida Division of Worker’s Compensation explains that your benefits may be terminated if you refuse to go back to your job.
If your employer offers a light-duty position that your treating physician determines you can perform, your employer can stop workers’ compensation payments. This hold trues even if you are not fully recovered or light-duty pay is lower than your usual earnings.
Can Your Employer Make You Return to Work?
In Florida, only your doctor can decide when you’re ready to return to work, not your employer. If your doctor says you can work in some way, it’s important to genuinely try to go back.
Sometimes, there might be rules about the kind of work you can do when you return, and your employer has to follow those rules. If your employer isn’t following these rules or is pressuring you to get back to your job, contact your Fort Myers workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
What If You’re Not Ready to Return to Work?
If you feel unprepared to return to work, communicate this with your treating physician. If you don’t feel you can handle a light-day position but your doctor says you can, it’s important to reach out to a Fort Myers workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
Your attorney will strive to arrange for you to get a second opinion.
What If You Can’t Return to Your Previous Job?
If your limitations prevent you from returning to your current place of employment, but it is determined that you can work in a more sedentary position, you may be required to change jobs. If you can return to a job in any capacity, workers’ compensation insurance could cease benefits.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
If your treating physician releases you from a no-work status but imposes restrictions on the work you can perform, you may be eligible for Temporary Partial Disability Benefits under Florida Statute § 440.15.
In Florida, temporary partial disability benefits are generally calculated as two-thirds of the difference between the injured worker’s average weekly wage before the injury and their wage-earning capacity while partially disabled.
You can receive up to a total of 104 weeks of temporary disability benefits.
Contact Our Fort Myers Workers Comp Lawyers
Navigating the workers’ compensation process is complex and overwhelming. If you are injured on the job, a Fort Myers workers’ compensation lawyer can answer your questions and help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
There are often disputes in workers’ compensation cases about what injuries were work-related, the level of disability, the amount of benefits, and whether medical treatment is needed. Your attorney will advocate for your interests and represent you if your claim is denied.