Workers comp is a safety net. The government understands that someone with a full-time job often supports not just themselves but a family. If something happens that makes that person unable to work and collect a paycheck, the entire family suffers. This is where workers comp comes in, providing temporary financial support and often covering the costs of medical treatment so that even if the ability to work is interrupted, safe recovery and continued financial support allow the worker to get better and resume activities without any major economic hardship for the family.
Conditions Of Compensation
Workers’ compensation is designed to provide two forms of financial support. For financial dependents of the workers, as well as workers themselves, workers comp offers a salary replacement for the duration of time that the injured worker is unable to resume normal employment. In addition, the costs of medical treatment and recovery will also be covered by workers comp, through an insurance carrier of the employer, so that workers don’t need to use their income or savings to pay for medical expenses associated with treatment, medication, physiotherapy and other aspects of recovery. However, in order to qualify for workers comp, a few conditions have to be met before financial supplements are released.
The first and most important is that workers comp is only issued for injuries that occur at work. Someone who is on vacation and injured abroad or who is injured while enjoying time off during the weekend does not qualify for workers comp. The injury must occur at work.
The second important qualifier is that the injury must result from an accident, with no ill will or negligence involved. Someone who receives a concussion at a construction site because a tool was dropped from a great height would be a typical example of a work accident. On the other hand, someone illegally consuming drugs at the office and then jumping off the roof due to hallucinations would not qualify for workers comp.
There are other situations where even if a worker has been approved for workers comp and is still legally entitled to receive it, the workers’ comp may be suspended. This is usually due to some kind of breach of conduct on the part of the worker. This kind of termination may occur in situations such as:
If surgery or some taking some kind of medication is required and the worker refuses this medical treatment, it’s possible workers’ comp will be cut off. Refusing medical treatment introduces a high likelihood the worker will not recover properly, or may never recover. Workers’ comp will be cut off if the worker is expecting that financial support to assist them indefinitely and they’ve shown a preference for living off workers’ comp rather than recover.
Not Following Medical Guidance
If a doctor orders a specific procedure for the treatment, such as taking a prescription medication, or anti-biotic, or forgoing a physical activity until fully recovered, such as playing golf, and the worker ignores these orders, this can get the workers’ comp stopped. The reason is simple, since following the prescribed medical treatment ensures a high chance of full recovery within an estimated timeframe, whereas ignoring medical guidance may extend the amount of time required for recovery, thus stretching out the amount of workers comp paid, which may be interpreted as a deliberate ploy on the part of the injured worker.
Refusing A Medical Exam
Medical exams are required to chart the progress of the injured worker and see how close they are to recovery. If a patient refuses to be examined, this can be taken as sign that recovery has already occurred, but the workers wishes to keep collecting workers’ comp instead of returning to active working life.
Refusing Light Duty
If a doctor diagnosis a worker as not yet suitable for a full return to work, but sufficiently recovered for lighter duties, an employee is allowed to offer that employee a return to work with lighter duties. If the worker refuses even the lighter duties when there is medical approval, workers comp can be terminated.
If you're in the Fort Meyers, Sarasota, or Port Charlotte region of Florida, and you've been hurt at work, but find that your workers' compensation is running into complications, we can help. Talk to one of our experienced workers' comp attorneys, and we will help you get what you deserve.