What if My Work Injury Keeps Me From Getting a Job?

When you receive an injury due to the normal functions of your job, questions about future finances, your ability to work, and your quality of life start to come up. Workers’ compensation is a system that can help to alleviate some of these concerns by providing you with a steady source of income while you’re unable to work, including if you’re unable at the same level of ability as before your accident.

woman in physical therapy for a work injuryMany people are eager to return to work after a bad accident. In some cases, going back to work may be possible, even if it may be a lighter-duty type of work. In other cases, going back to work may never be a realistic option. Every accident and injury is different, and ultimately the person in charge of determining the severity of your injuries and the extent of your disability is your doctor, so be sure to keep an open line of communication with your medical caretakers to ensure they’re meeting your needs.

If you’re struggling to return to work after incurring a work-related injury, there are a few ways you may be able to continue to collect benefits in the long run. Seeking the help of a seasoned Florida workers’ compensation attorney is a good way to start off on the right track when it comes to recovering the maximum amount possible for your injuries and inability to work.

Workers Compensation in Florida Provides Up to 2 Years of Benefits for Individuals Who Do Not Recover

One key aspect of workers’ compensation that many individuals overlook is that benefits are not just intended for temporary impairments. If you have a permanent impairment that either prevents you from returning to work at the same job or that prevents you from returning to work entirely, then workers’ compensation in Florida can provide benefits for up to 104 weeks or two years. 

After workers’ compensation benefits expire, disabled individuals are encouraged to seek social security disability insurance (SSDI) if they have a permanent disability that prevents them from returning to work.

Temporary and Permanent Impairment

When reporting to an approved physician examiner, the injured worker’s impairments are graded as either temporary or permanent, as well as partial or full. The severity and prognosis of your injury will determine the level of benefits you’re eligible to receive.

Temporary Partial

If you have a temporary partial disability, it means your injury is likely to heal and you are able to work in a lesser capacity than before your injury. Any disability payments will be based on your reduced ability to work and the effect it has on your earning capacity, and they will end on the date your physician expects you to recover. 

Permanent Partial

If you have a permanent partial disability, it means the injury is unlikely to improve in the long run, but you’re still able to engage in the same level of work or a diminished level. Regular examples of this include lost limbs or digits, a reduced ability to stand or work on your feet due to pain from the injury, or an ailment requiring ongoing medical treatment. Workers’ compensation benefits can provide for the difference in income before and after the injury in cases where someone must return to work in a diminished capacity.

Temporary Full

Full disability means you are completely unable to work for the duration of your injury. A simple example may be if you experience a spinal fracture while working construction. Lack of mobility on a construction site is likely to put you in the temporary full disability category due to the requirements of the job. You’d unlikely be able to engage in any gainful work, meaning you’re fully disabled. A cracked vertebra may be an injury that eventually heals, so your doctor would likely classify your disability as temporary.

Permanent Full

If you’re fully disabled and your doctor does not see a likely avenue for your recovery, you would be eligible to continue to receive benefits unless your condition improves. For instance, if an accident leads to a victim’s paralysis, they’d likely be unable to engage in work in the future, meaning their disability was permanent and full.

Seeking New Work

If you’re receiving workers’ compensation benefits of any kind and begin looking for new work, you may begin earning too much to keep your benefits. The employer you’re currently receiving benefits from may raise issues with you working while receiving benefits and start asking questions and making legal moves to prove you’re no longer eligible for disability payments. If this is the case, you should be very careful about documenting your doctor’s recommendations about the kind of work you’re able to engage in. For instance, if you were injured on a construction site, keeping you from any heavy manual labor for the foreseeable future, you may still be able to receive benefits while working something like an office job or a position from home.

When You’re Unable to Recover and Can’t Return to Work

Most people dealing with a workplace injury have a desire to recover and get back to normal life as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, a bad injury may leave you partially or fully disabled and unable to return to work in the same capacity as before. In these cases, your doctor will determine a cutoff for your potential to improve. Your Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is the point at which your doctor believes you will not be able to recover further from your work-related injury. At this point, you should be evaluated for any future work restrictions and determine if your injuries qualify as an impairment.

An impairment is any injury that is permanent but may or may not affect your ability to work. A medical professional will rate your level of impairment on a scale from 1-100% and will determine if you’re eligible for further benefits. A useful impairment calculator can be found on the Florida Department of Financial Services website.

If you’re unable to find new work due to your injuries, you should be sure that you and your doctor are on the same page in regards to the severity of your ailments. If they believe that your injuries should not keep you from working but you are experiencing an inability to engage in said work, you should communicate with them to see if they will make changes to your injury qualifications. In some cases, it may be worth seeking a second opinion or even utilizing the one-time option to seek a new doctor offered by Florida workers’ compensation law.

In the event you’re completely unable to work in the future, you will likely qualify for SSDI benefits, provided you have the minimum amount of work credits. Speak to a Florida disability lawyer for assistance with applying to receive SSDI for a permanent disability that prevents you from working.

Get Help After Your Florida Workplace Injury

If you’re struggling to find work and your workers’ compensation is close to the end, getting legal help to boost or prolong your benefits may be a good idea for an injured person looking to secure their financial future. Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd has decades of experience helping Florida’s injured get back on track with their lives after a bad workplace accident, and we can help you, too. Call us today at 866-460-1990 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.

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