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How Long Does Workers’ Compensation Last?


No one ever wants to be injured on the job, but it does happen. Most of the time, if you are in Florida, an on-the-job injury means you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim, which then grants you benefits and medical care if approved. That said, what many injured workers are unaware of is that workers’ compensation benefits do not last forever (except in very, very rare cases). Understanding the process can make a difference to your recovery.

Will I Receive Benefits?

Most employers in Florida carry workers’ compensation coverage, so if you are injured while on the clock, you stand a good chance at receiving benefits as long as your claim is filed correctly. Once you discover your injury, you must report it to your employer within 30 days, and then file your claim for benefits with the state. If your claim is approved, you will then be able to receive medical care and other benefits. Florida law holds that injured workers are not paid for the first 7 days of disability, but if their total time on disability is more than 21 days, they will be paid for those days retroactively.

In general, there are three main reasons why workers’ compensation benefits would stop once initially granted: complete recovery, maximum medical improvement (MMI), and running out of time. While the first is fairly self-explanatory, the second and third have more to do with points of law than with the actual progress of your injury. Consulting a workers’ compensation attorney can help to clarify matters.

Outer Limits

Maximum medical improvement is a legal concept observed in workers’ compensation law. If your doctor says that you have reached MMI, it means that in their professional opinion, your injuries are unlikely to improve beyond their current status, and further care should be palliative (that is, trying to relieve pain and suffering) rather than curative. It is important to understand that MMI does not always mean one’s workers’ compensation benefits must end, but there are many cases in which they will. If your injury is persistent, or further care is needed, you have the right to pursue the matter.

In rare cases, an injured employee may reach the end of their eligibility for benefits. Florida law used to only allow 104 weeks worth of benefits, but after the Westphal decision in 2016, the limit was extended to 260 weeks. To reach this point with an injury that has not healed leads to the inescapable conclusion that your injury is permanent – and at that point, it may be more appropriate to seek permanent benefits. While it is possible to receive permanent total disability (PTD) benefits, most people are instead recommended to apply for federal disability payments (usually SSI).

Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney

When you are injured at work, you deserve to feel as though you have the time and space to heal. An Orlando workers’ compensation attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help answer your questions and manage your concerns as you navigate the workers’ compensation system. Call our office today at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.



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