Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law can be confusing, especially if you are trying to determine if you qualify for benefits. The Workers’ Comp law details who is eligible for coverage with his or her employer. Generally, benefits are available for people who have been injured on the job or who have developed a disease in direct relation to the nature of work, known as an occupational disease.
The law states that “the disablement or death of an employee resulting from an occupational disease…shall be treated as the happening of an injury by accident.” Basically, that means that if you have developed an illness or disease because of your job, you are entitled to the same benefits as if you were injured.
Occupational diseases are illnesses caused by the conditions that are characteristic of a particular trade. Based on this definition, an occupational disease would not include one that the general public is commonly exposed, unless the risk is higher with that type of work. Examples of occupational diseases include asbestosis from working with asbestos insulation, carpal tunnel syndrome developed from excessive data entry and radiation sickness from working in the nuclear industry.
To prove that an illness was the result of performing your job duties, you would need to provide medical evidence, such as a physical exam and diagnostic test. The occupational disease must be the main factor of your injury to be eligible to receive compensation. If the evidence shows that your illness is tied to your job, you should be able to receive worker’s compensation benefits. Compensation includes weekly benefits and medical treatment. Weekly benefits are paid at a maximum of 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly salary.