If you’ve suffered an injury on the job or developed an illness because of your work, you’re probably entitled to workers’ comp benefits in Florida. However, you won’t be automatically granted benefits. You need to follow the right steps in reporting your injury or illness and officially starting the workers’ compensation process.
Remember, your employer purchases workers’ compensation insurance so the process is similar to that of any other application for insurance benefits. If you’ve run into trouble in getting the benefits you deserve, you should consult a Florida workers’ comp attorney for advice.
For now, let’s go through the steps you should take when seeking to claim workers’ comp benefits.
Report Your Injury or Illness to Your Employer
The first thing you need to do is to report your accident or illness to your employer. You must report injuries within 30 days. However, if you developed an illness or disease over time, you should tell your employer within 30 days of learning that your condition is due to your work. If you don’t adhere to these deadlines, your workers’ comp benefits may be denied.
When you notify your employer, be sure to include the date of the accident, how you got hurt, and a description of your symptoms. The more information you can provide, the better it will be for you.
Go to the Doctor
In Florida, the employer gets to choose the treating doctor. Therefore, after you report your injury, your employer should send you to an authorized medical professional. Go to the doctor right away and be sure to be completely honest about your injuries and how they are affecting your ability to carry out your duties. If your injuries require emergency treatment, you should go to the nearest hospital or clinic. It doesn’t matter whether your employer or their insurer has authorized the facility to treat employees.
Look Out for Correspondence from the Insurance Company About your Workers’ Comp Benefits
Your employer has seven days to contact their insurer regarding your workers’ comp benefits. Then, the insurance company has three days to contact you with information about your rights and responsibilities. The insurer should also provide a copy of your accident report. If your employer fails to report your injury or illness, you can reach out to the insurance company to verify that you’re eligible for workers’ comp benefits. You can also contact Florida’s Employee Assistance Office or an experienced Florida workers’ comp attorney.
The insurance company may:
- Review your medical records
- Look into your work responsibilities and wages
- Order further medical examination
- Send you for an evaluation to determine your ability to perform your duties
The insurance company needs to act promptly in respect of your case whether they issue an approval or a denial. If the insurance company approves your claim, you should start receiving the benefits to which you’re entitled within 21 days of reporting the injury or illness. The amount will depend on your level of disability but you should get checks every two weeks until your return to work or for a maximum of 104 weeks.
Submit an Appeal If You’re Dissatisfied with the Insurer’s Decision About Your Workers’ Comp Benefits
Not all claims are approved. Your claim may be denied if your employer claims that you’re not really an employee or your injury or illness isn’t linked to your job. You may also be denied benefits if they believe you were deliberately trying to harm yourself or others. Even something as simple as not providing enough documentation can result in a denial. Sometimes the claim is approved but the benefits are less than what you expected.
If you’re unhappy with the decision, you should contact an attorney for help. They will advise you on whether you were treated unfairly and if so, they can assist you in filing an appeal so you get full compensation. You’ll need to move quickly since there are time limits for appealing a decision.
Get Help from the Team at Work Injury Rights Today!
Florida’s workers’ compensation system may seem simple on the surface but it can be incredibly complex. You will have very different goals from your employer and their insurer. It’s, therefore, a good idea to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer in Florida to act on your behalf.
At Work Injury Rights, we’ve seen it all. We know how employers and insurance companies try to get out of workers’ comp claims and we will fight on your behalf. Whether your claim has been denied or you’ve been awarded benefits that are well below what you deserve, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!