Florida, like all other states, maintains a workers’ compensation program in order to provide benefits for individuals who are injured in workplace accidents or who develop work-related illnesses or conditions. The law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which will pay benefits to injured workers regardless of fault. Because workers are guaranteed benefits without having to establish fault on the part of their employer, they are also barred from pursuing a personal injury claim against their employer in most cases. The information below describes the general process of filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida. For specific information regarding your case, contact an attorney who practices workers’ compensation law in your area.
Report the Injury to your Employer
The first thing that an injured worker should do is report the matter to his or her employer. It is critical to report the injury within 30 days, as waiting any longer may result in the loss of your ability to obtain benefits. When reporting the injury to your employer, who should ask which doctor to visit, as you may not be able to receive compensation for your medical expenses if you see your own doctor.
See the Designated Physician
Visit the doctor specified by your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company. When you see you the doctor, be sure to fully explain the extent of your injuries and any problems that you may be experiencing.
Make Sure that your Employer has Reported Your Injury
Employers are required to report a workplace injury to their insurance within 7 days of being aware of the injury. Once the insurance company is notified, it must send the injured worker a brochure explaining employee rights and responsibilities under Florida workers’ compensation law within three days.
What Should I Do if my Claim is Denied?
Individuals whose workers’ compensation claims are denied have the right to file a petition for benefits with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Because these kinds of disputes are resolved through a quasi-judicial process subject to legal rules, it is highly advisable for anyone who is disputing a denial as benefits to retain an attorney immediately.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
There is no rule requiring people that have been injured in on-the-job accidents or who have developed work-related illnesses or medical conditions to retain a lawyer. That being said, the assistance of an attorney can have a significant impact on how quickly you receive the benefits to which you are legally entitled by making sure that your claim is filed correctly the first time. For people who are unable to work due to an injury and in need of medical care, obtaining benefits as soon as possible is often an important issue. For this reason, anyone hurt in a workplace accident and who believes that he or she may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.