Voluntary Limitation of Income and Florida Workers’ Compensation
At Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A. one of the most frequent workers’ compensation questions we are asked is “what does it mean when the insurance company says I am voluntarily limiting my income?” This is a very important question asked by our workers’ compensation clients.
When you are on light duty following an accident, a Florida workers’ compensation insurance carrier frequently raises the defense of “voluntary limitation of income”. The workers’ compensation attorneys here at Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A. can help you defeat this defense. The voluntary limitation of income defense is an argument by the insurance carrier that your money benefits as an injured worker should not be paid as the insurance carrier is claiming that you could have been working, at either a job within your current work restrictions (most often light duty) provided by your employer or at a job within your restrictions that could be found by the you if you would have looked for employment.
Temporary Partial Disability means your doctor has not placed you at overall Maximum Medical Improvement and anticipates that you are going to continue to improve in your medical condition. You are not totally disabled when your doctor places you in this status and if your employer has work available within your work restrictions, you should take the work offered to you. The term disability from “temporary partial disability” means that the work restrictions given to you may cause you to earn less than 80% of you the average weekly wage you were earning prior to your accident. For you to prove entitlement to temporary partial disability benefits, you will need to show that your injuries from the work accident prevent you from doing your normal job functions according to the restrictions from your workers’ compensation doctor and that no other work within these restrictions has been offered to you and refused.
When a workers’ compensation insurance company wants to defeat your temporary partial disability claim, and raise a claim of voluntary limitation of income, the insurance company must show one of the following:
- that the injured worker knew the employer had a job available within the employee’s restrictions;
- or the employer found other work which was available for the employee through another employer which the employee refused to accept, or
- the injured worker knew they should be looking for work and that they would have found work if they would have looked for a job.
In Florida, should a workers’ compensation Judge believe that the voluntary limitation of income defense applies, the workers compensation insurance company must also prove, for each two-week period of Temporary Partial Disability claimed the earnings you would have received in the job(s) you could have worked. The amount of earnings is imputed income. This means it is deducted from the Temporary Partial Disability benefits you would receive. For example, if the job would have allowed the you to earn 80% of your wages, you then are not entitled to Temporary Partial Disability for the two-week period in question.
If your workers compensation insurance company denies your claim based on a voluntary limitation of income defense, call us today at Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A. for a free consultation about your case and your legal rights at (904) 777-7777. You may also email us at email@example.com to set up a time to discuss your workers’ compensation case.