Visitor Question

Should workers’ comp pay for hand fracture from work fall?

Submitted By: Steph (St.Petersburg, Florida)

There was a floor mat under my chair at work for years. The floor was carpeted but we recently went to laminated flooring. I was coming from the copier and tripped over the mat ending up with a sprained ankle and a boxed fracture in my right hand.

I am getting workers’ comp. I went to urgent care, where I was given a splint. I’m going to an orthopedist tomorrow for a cast.

This happened six days ago and I have been working almost 6 hour days as HR is telling me workers comp will only cover time I see the doctor.

The injury is to my right hand – the hand I use all the time – and it’s painful. I do mostly data entry.

Shouldn’t workers’ compensation cover the time I am out? Urgent care said I could go back to work after prescribing all these pain meds and with limitations.  I don’t know, but I think the orthopedist will take me off work for a while.

I also want to know, am I entitled to a lump sum?

Thank you for any information.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Steph,

Thank you for your question. Florida’s workers’ compensation laws do allow you to take time off work if your doctor orders it. Further, depending on the facts of your case, you could possibly settle your case for a lump sum.

Time Off Work for Falls  – In General

Once you open a workers’ compensation claim, you’ll have an initial medical evaluation and you’ll then visit with other medical providers/specialists.

Every time you see a doctor about your work-related injury, there will probably be a notation made in the chart about your work status.

For example, your doctor will decide if you should:

  • Take time completely off of work
  • Work with some restrictions
  • Resume your pre-injury duties without restrictions

Typically, employers must follow a doctor’s advice regarding your work status.

Here, urgent care recommended that you return to work with some limitations. Your employer should follow this recommendation. We recommend you contact HR and mention the doctor’s advice, and then discuss ways to restrict your work to prevent further harm to your injury.

Once you visit your orthopedist, that provider may recommend that you take time completely off of work. Again, your employer should follow this advice.

Florida Rules on Time Off Work

Florida’s Division of Workers’ Compensation website is an excellent source of information when it comes to your claim.

In particular, the site provides many answers to frequently asked questions regarding workers’ comp claims. If your orthopedist decides that you can’t immediately return to work, then some of these FAQs are helpful.

For example, if you can’t return to work, workers’ comp will not reimburse you for lost wages for the first seven days of your disability. However, if your disability extends to over 21 days, you should get paid retroactively for the first seven days.

In most cases, your benefit check, which is paid bi-weekly, will be 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage.

Further, if you can’t return to work, there is no provision in the law that requires your employer to hold your job open for you. But it’s against the law to fire you because you have filed a workers’ compensation claim.

Lump-Sum Settlement for Work Injuries

Claimants can settle their workers’ comp claims for a lump sum under certain circumstances under Florida law. But keep in mind that settlements aren’t automatic or voluntary.

If you do settle your claim, then most settlements will take place via one lump sum payment. However, in some cases, the insurance company might want to pay the settlement money in installments over time.

Your email didn’t mention if you’re working with a workers’ compensation lawyer. But if you are, you can settle your claim at any time.

Under Florida law, if you don’t have a lawyer, then you can only settle your claim if:

  • The insurance company denies your claim, and a judge finds that there’s a disagreement as to whether you’re entitled to benefits
  • Your doctor believes that your disability or condition is stable, and you likely won’t get any better

If you do settle your claim, remember that you’re giving up your right to any more workers’ comp benefits from that injury. Given this, you may not want to be in a hurry to settle your workers’ compensation case.

Learn more here: Slip and Falls at Work

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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