A workers comp lawyer in Fort Lauderdale meets with clients every week who have gotten hurt at work. Sadly, many of them have no idea what they’re supposed to do about it. They assume their employer will take care of them. They may mention something about their injury to their manager but don’t realize they have to formally report it. Or they do report it but don’t do anything when they are told their workers compensation claim has been denied.
Here, we’ll talk about how workers compensation works in Florida. We’ll also review the steps you must take to increase the odds of your claim being approved.
Most Employers in Florida Are Required to Carry Workers Compensation Insurance
Most people will make it through their entire lives without having to file a workers compensation claim. That’s because most people don’t get seriously injured at work. Of course, some jobs are more dangerous than others. If you work in construction or are a truck driver, you are more prone to get injured. But any employee could be hurt on the job.
Florida law requires most businesses with four or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are some differences depending on the industry you work in.
Construction businesses must have workers’ comp if they have even one employee. Employers in the agricultural sector must carry workers’ comp if they employ 6 regular employees or 12 seasonal workers who work more than 30 days a season but no more than 45 days in a calendar year.
You’re Required to File an Incident Report With Your Human Resources Department
One thing you need to understand is that you should file an incident report with human resources no matter how minor your injury. You need to notify your supervisor or manager immediately if you are hurt on the job. You have no idea how bad your injuries are unless you see a doctor.
When you report your accident to your manager, they’ll arrange for you to go to a state-approved doctor. In Florida, as with most states, you won’t receive workers comp benefits unless you’re treated by a certified doctor. Once they examine you, they’ll let your employer know if you need to stay out of work or not.
You must submit a workplace injury report within 30 days. If you don’t follow your company’s policy on workplace accidents, you can jeopardize your workers compensation claim.
Your Employer Will Decide if They Want to Approve or Deny Your Claim
Once you report your injury to Human Resources, your employer will have to submit it to their workers compensation insurance company. When they do this, they’ll also submit their recommendation as to whether your claim should be approved. While the insurance company makes the final decision, they usually appreciate the insight your employer provides them.
They’ll include statements made by your managers and coworkers who witnessed the incident. They’ll also include copies of any videos or pictures they may have. Finally, they’ll have a report from the doctor who originally treated you. All of this will go to the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim.
One thing you need to know is that almost every employer in Florida requires their employees to take a drug test when they go out for treatment. This way, they have proof of whether you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your workplace injury. If the test comes back positive, or you refuse to take the test, your claim will be denied.
If Your Claim Is Denied, Your Workers Compensation Lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale Can Help
Our workers compensation lawyers in Fort Lauderdale do meet with a lot of clients whose claim has been denied. However, we don’t want to give the impression that most workers compensation claims are denied. For the most part, as long as you meet the basic criteria, your claim will be approved. However, there are times when the insurance company decides to deny your claim.
Some of the reasons for denied claims include:
- The employer is claiming you are an independent contractor rather than an employee.
- The employer does not believe your injury was caused by a workplace accident or the nature of your work.
- The employer claims you were injured while off duty.
- The claim wasn’t filed on time.
- You do not provide adequate information for the claim.
If your claim was denied unfairly, your personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale will work hard to appeal it. They’ll file a Petition for Benefits with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This way, your claim will go through the proper channels. You must file the Petition for Benefits within two years of your workplace accident or within one year of the payment for replacement wages or medical care.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
If you get hurt at work, you have rights. In Florida, as long as you meet certain criteria, you should receive workers compensation benefits. If these benefits are denied, you have the right to file an appeal. If you want to maximize the odds of your appeal being successful, you should talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale. They have years of experience handling cases just like yours. They’re also familiar with the local insurance companies.
Some employees assume they aren’t entitled to workers compensation benefits. Perhaps they don’t think their injuries are that serious. Or they may feel like they don’t deserve benefits because they were on break when their injury took place. Every case is unique. There is no way to say for sure whether your claim is valid or not. The only way to know for sure is to meet with a seasoned workers compensation lawyer in Fort Lauderdale right away.