What Is A Workers’ Compensation Lien?
A standard Florida workers’ compensation claim is made through a person’s employer, providing coverage for any medical bills you incur after a work-related injury in exchange. That said, there are some work-related accidents that involve a third party, such as a negligent driver or outside agent. If you have experienced one of these, you may be able to recover damages from them in addition to getting workers’ compensation benefits – however, you may not be able to retain all those funds. In cases where ‘double recovery’ might be possible, one must be repaid from the other.
But I Can Recover Twice!
Workers’ compensation insurance exists to ensure that no employee is pushed into penury because of an unfortunate injury on the job. However, it operates within a series of formulas and requirements, wanting to ensure that no employee is able to ‘game the system,’ so to speak. Every worker is, at least in theory, able to recover for the full value of their injuries – but no more. Being able to recover from both your employer and a negligent third party (say, a driver who injured you while you were on an errand for your employer) means you would essentially receive double the value of your injuries, which is seen as inequitable or unfair.
The law does permit you to file suit against the third party and possibly prevail, recovering damages, at the same time as you are receiving benefits from your employer. What it does not allow is for you to retain more in benefits than your injury is worth. Thus, the law requires that you reimburse your employer out of your personal injury award, if you receive both – this way, you still retain enough to ensure your medical bills are covered (given that the amount your employer can be reimbursed for is capped at your net amount of recovery), and your employer or their insurer does not have to pay out unnecessarily.
The Manfredo Formula
If you have received both Florida workers’ compensation benefits and a personal injury award from a jury, the court will determine how much you are permitted to keep and how much must be given to your employer or their insurance carrier. The way this is done is by using a formula referred to as the Manfredo formula, after the Florida Supreme Court case that created it. The formula itself is extremely complex, and most of the time, the average person will find it too difficult to use on their own.
However much the employer is entitled to receive, it will be taken out of the injured employee’s personal injury recovery. That said, this equation becomes infinitely more confusing if you require long-term care, or if your medical needs change over time even though you retain the same type of status (temporarily disabled, permanently disabled, totally or partially). It very often takes a professional to successfully negotiate with insurance companies, to ensure that your medical bills are taken care of as they should be. You do not have to do this alone.
Call An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been in an accident on the job, you have obligations, but you are also entitled to certain compensation. The Orlando workers’ compensation attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group are experienced in these types of cases, and can work together with you to see your case through to the end. Contact our offices today for a free consultation.