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Does Florida Workers’ Compensation Cover Lost Wages?

Given sufficient time and proper treatment, even serious injuries usually heal and even chronic illness become manageable. There may always be some residual effects, but for the most part, victims get their lives back. However, in the interim, the lost income can be catastrophic from an economic standpoint. There are emotional losses as well. Victims who are unable to work and provide for their families often struggle with depression and other maladies.

At Barbas Nuñez Sanders Butler & Hovsepian, our compassionate attorneys understand both types of losses. So, we work diligently to deliver maximum compensation for lost wages. This money helps Tampa families continue to make ends meet during a very trying period. Wage replacement also eases the emotional trauma of temporary joblessness. Everyone on our professional team is committed to your financial and emotional recovery, and that simple commitment makes a big difference.

What Exactly Are “Lost Wages” in Tampa?

The answer to that question may seem straightforward to some. But, the definition of “lost wages” is actually rather complex. First, the term is not just limited to regular cash compensation. Usually, victims are also entitled to compensation for noncash or irregular compensation, such as:

  • Performance bonuses,
  • Tuition reimbursement,
  • Housing allowance, and
  • Per diem reimbursement.

Furthermore, many job injury victims miss out on regular pay increases based on hours worked or other objective criteria.

Professional athletes are good examples. Assume that a minor league baseball player, perhaps from the Tampa Tarpons or the Lakeland Flying Tigers, is hurt during preseason workouts and must miss about a month of playing time. Minor league players receive almost literally nothing during preseason activities, and not much more than that (as little as $1,100 a month) when the games start. The injured player’s workers’ compensation benefits should be based, at least in part, on his playing salary and not his pre-season salary.

Many employers try to circumvent the system altogether. They classify their employees as “independent contractors” as opposed to regular employees. However, workers’ compensation benefits may still be available. This area of law is changing fast, especially with the rise of Uber, Lyft, and other “gig economy” employers.

Categories of Lost Wages Benefits in Tampa

No two job injuries are alike. So, there are basically four different categories of trauma injuries and occupational diseases:

  • Temporary Total Disability: Most job injuries are TTDs. These victims cannot go back to work until they are fully healed. Generally, workers’ compensation pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of that disability.
  • Temporary Partial Disability: Other victims must accept light duty assignments, a different type of work, or reduce their hours while they get better. In these cases, workers’ compensation usually pays two-thirds of the difference between the old and new salaries. TPD wage compensation must often be reconsidered frequently. Many times, as their physical health improves, workers can stay on the job for longer and longer hours.
  • Permanent Partial Disability: To determine compensation in PPD cases, hearing officers normally look at the extent of disability. For example, if a victim loses 20 percent of her mobility because of a fall, she may be entitled to a proportional amount of money.
  • Permanent Total Disability: PTD is not just a medical issue. For many workers, the loss of a finger could be completely disabling. But other workers may be able to pursue their careers as if nothing happened.

Workers’ compensation also pays for reasonable medical expenses. So, victims need not spend their lost wage allowances on hospital bills. They need not spend it on regular attorneys’ fees either, because we do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.

Reach Out to Experienced Lawyers

Lost wage benefits make up the bulk of many serious injury workers’ compensation claims. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Tampa, contact Barbas Nuñez Sanders Butler & Hovsepian. We have offices in Tampa, Land O’ Lakes, Sarasota, and St. Petersburg.

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