I Can’t Work After an Injury; Can I File for Unemployment Even Though Litigation Is Pending?
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Workers’ Compensation
A work injury can prevent you from working during your recovery. The workers’ compensation insurance company will hopefully pay your benefits without delay. However, there could be situations where you might have to sue because of a work-related injury.
For example, you might sue your employer if it did not provide the required workers’ comp insurance coverage. In most cases, employees cannot sue their employer for injuries covered by workers’ comp insurance. You might have to file an appeal or lawsuit if the workers’ comp carrier refuses to pay your claim or pay a fair settlement for a permanent injury.
Another reason to sue after a work injury is if someone else caused your injury. For example, another motorist caused a traffic accident while you were making deliveries for your job. You might have a third party lawsuit if you were injured by a piece of defective machinery or because of unsafe property conditions.
During the litigation, you might be unable to work. If so, unemployment compensation would be helpful. However, your work injury might prevent you from receiving unemployment benefits.
What Are the Requirements for Florida Unemployment Benefits?
Florida reemployment assistance benefits (a/k/a unemployment compensation) provide temporary wage replacement for workers while they search for another job. The worker must qualify for benefits after becoming unemployed through no fault of their own.
According to Florida Statute §443.091, an unemployed worker is eligible to receive benefits if they:
- Filed a claim for benefits for the week they were out of work in accordance with the rules adopted by the Department of Economic Opportunity;
- Completed the department’s online work registration and reports to the one-stop career center;
- Make continued claims for benefits;
- Can work and are available for work;
- Participates in reemployment services, including job search assistance;
- Have been unemployed for at least one week;
- Have been paid wages for insured work equaling 1.5 times their high quarter wages during the based period (ineligible for benefits if base period wages are less than $3,400); and,
- Submitted a valid Social Security number.
Workers must report why they are unemployed and any wages they earn while receiving reemployment benefits.
Unfortunately, you cannot receive unemployment benefits if you receive temporary total or permanent total disability benefits for lost wages. One of the requirements to receive reemployment benefits in Florida is that you must be able to work and be available for work.
However, temporary total disability (TTD) and permanent total disability payments (PTD) are only paid when a physician states that you cannot work because of a work-related injury. Therefore, since it has been medically determined that you cannot work, you would not qualify for unemployment benefits.
What Happen if My Employer Fires Me After a Work Injury?
If your employer fires you, you might have a claim for wrongful termination. You could also have a claim for workers’ compensation. A St. Petersburg workers’ compensation lawyer can evaluate your case and explain your legal options during a free consultation.
Whether you could receive unemployment compensation depends on your condition. If your doctor states you can return to work, you might qualify for reemployment benefits while you search for another job. The litigation would be for a past claim, which should not impact future unemployment claims.
However, if you have questions, talk with your attorney. There could be factors in your case that impact your options.
What Should I Do if My Florida Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
Understanding why the carrier denied your workers’ comp claim is essential. Reasons for denial of a workers’ comp claim include:
- The company disputes your injury or the severity of the injury
- You failed to notify your employer of the claim before the deadline
- Workers’ compensation does not cover your illness or injury
- You did not follow your doctor’s treatment plan
- You intentionally caused your injury
- You were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol when you were injured at work
Sometimes, a denial might occur because of a clerical error or lack of medical records. Correcting the matter can resolve the denial.
However, if the company disputes your injury, you might need to consult a specialist or another doctor for a second opinion. An attorney can help you gather evidence proving that your injury occurred at work and is covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
If you receive a denial of workers’ compensation letter, contact a St. Petersburg worker’s comp attorney immediately. You have a limited time to file an appeal or lawsuit. Waiting too long could result in losing the right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
Contact the Pinellas County Workers’ Compensation Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg workers’ compensation law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,