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Workers Compensation Facts – Questions And Answers About Workers Comp

January 23, 2009

Commonly Asked Questions And Facts About Florida’s Workers Compensation

1.  Is the insurance Company allowed to pick my doctors?

        One of the Florida workers compensation facts is that, in most circumstances, the insurance company gets to pick your initial medical provider.  If you have been referred by a hospital or workers compensation clinic to a medical specialist, the insurance company gets to pick the particular doctor as long as he/she falls within the medical specialty.  In limited circumstances when an insurance company fails to schedule a doctors appointment in a timely manner, you may be able to choose your own doctor.

2.  What is my AWW? 

        AWW is a term commonly used in workers compensation.  It is an abbreviation for your average weekly wage.  Your work accident compensation, either temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD) is based upon your AWW.  The AWW is calculated by averaging your wages during the 13 week period immediately preceding your date of accident.  If you are injured before you have worked a full 13 weeks, the employer can provide wages from another employee that has worked 13 weeks and is employed in the same position as you.

3.  Can wages from my second job be used to calculate my AWW?

        Yes, a Florida workers compensation lawyer should make sure that all your wages are used to calculate your AWW.  By using all your wages you are ensured of receiving all the work accident compensation you deserve.

4.  What does MMI mean?

        Another commonly used term in Florida workers compensation.  It means an injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement.  What this means is that your doctors have basically provided all the medical care they think is necessary, and that you can return to work.  When a doctor places you at MMI, it also means that your work accident compensation wage benefits through workers compensation will stop, and you may begin receiving impairment benefits (see below).  MMI does not mean that you cannot go back to the doctor any more.  You can continue to go to the doctor and the insurance company will pay for your visits and treatment, but you will be responsible for a $10 co-pay.

5.  What is an impairment rating and what does it mean to my case?

        An impairment rating is a way for a doctor to rate the severity of your injury.  It is given at the end of your medical treatment.  If your doctor or doctors provide an impairment rating as high as 20%, you may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits.  You are also entitled to receive impairment benefits once you are given a rating.  Florida Statutes section 440.15(3)(c) establishes the formula for you to get paid your impairment benefits.  Benefits are paid bi-weekly at the rate of 75% of your average weekly temporary total disability benefit not to exceed the maximum weekly benefit under section 440.12.  Impairment benefits (or IB’s as they are referred to) are another form of Florida work accident compensation.

6.  Is the insurance company required to reimburse me for my gas driving to and from my doctors?

        Yes, one of the nice facts about Florida’s workers compensation program is that you are entitled to mileage for doctor visits. You should be provided a mileage log by the insurance company, or by your attorney, for you to fill out every time you go to the doctor or for physical therapy appointments.  The insurance company will reimburse you 44.5 cents per mile for every mile you drive to these appointments.

7.  Can I change my doctor?

        Yes, but one of the tougher Florida workers compensation facts is that you can only change your doctor one time.  When the workers compensation statutes were last changed in 2003, many options for switching doctors, or getting a second opinion were removed from the statute.  Now, an injured worker can exercise a one-time change of doctor only.  If you switch to a doctor that you don’t like, or are not satisfied with the medical care he/she is providing, you are stuck with that doctor.

8.  Can I receive job re-training if I can no longer do my job?

        Not through workers compensation, but through the State of Florida once you are placed at MMI, and if you have a high school diploma or GED.  If you are accepted into the State’s vocational retraining program you may be entitled to an additional 26 weeks of work accident compensation from workers compensation.

For more information about worker’s compensation facts, contact Florida work accident compensation lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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