Workplace injuries can impose a significant toll, resulting in physical discomfort, emotional suffering, and financial strain. If you’ve suffered a work injury in Florida, it’s vital to be aware of your rights and the deadlines for submitting a workers comp claim.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a legal provision that sets a deadline for initiating a lawsuit. Its purpose is to ensure that cases are brought to court within a reasonable timeframe and that evidence remains accessible. Each state has its own statute of limitations, which can vary depending on the nature of the case.
Florida’s Workers Comp Claim Deadline
As per Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, a worker who has suffered a work-related injury has two years from the date of the injury to file for workers’ compensation benefits. If no claim is filed within two years, the state’s statute of limitations will lapse.
Procedure for Filing a Workers Compensation Claim
To file a workers’ compensation claim in Florida, you need to adhere to several steps:
- Document the Incident: Make a note or record of the incident or situation that led to your injury.
- Gather Evidence: If possible, take photographs of the injury and the workplace.
- Submit Your Claim: File the claim with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC) within two years from when the injury occurred.
- Inform Relevant Parties: Distribute copies of the claim to your employer and workers’ compensation carrier (and their attorneys).
The process begins with reporting your injury or illness within 30 days. There are exceptions in certain situations, such as when a work-related illness is discovered weeks or months after it has occurred. In these instances, you may still be eligible to file a claim.
After you report the injury or illness to your employer, they have seven days to inform their workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This is known as an accident report or the First Report of Injury or Illness.
Once reported to the insurance company, they will dispatch an information packet within three days. The packet should include a copy of the report filed and an explanation of your rights.
If your claim for benefits is approved by the insurance company, you should start receiving checks within 21 days after your injury was reported. The amount you receive depends on what you are entitled to – either temporary partial disability or temporary total disability.
Exceptions to Workers’ Compensation Immunity in Florida
In Florida, employers who adhere to state law and secure either private or state workers’ compensation insurance are provided with substantial protection against lawsuits from their employees seeking coverage for workplace injuries. This immunity has very few exceptions, but when these exceptions are met, they can disrupt business operations and inflict serious damage on companies.
One historical exception was when an employer failed to secure payment as required by law for an injured employee. Essentially, if an employer who has workers’ compensation insurance fails to process a claim promptly, causing a delay in the payment of compensation, an injured employee may file a lawsuit to claim damages.
Another exception was introduced for intentional torts committed by an employer. Now, an injured employee could satisfy this exception by proving that their employer intended to injure them or that their employer engaged in conduct that was objectively certain to result in injury.
Contact Our Lawyers for Help Today
It’s crucial that you take action as soon as possible after your accident. There’s lots of evidence and information that must be gathered and sorted through prior to filing your workers comp claim. Give yourself as much time as possible by getting started right away.
Contact the lawyers at Work Injury Rights at 954-833-5226 to get professional legal representation right away. We will advise you on the workers compensation claim process and provide valuable assistance to get your claim settled as soon as possible.