Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Florida
Workers’ compensation programs exist in order to provide protections for individuals who suffer from work-related injuries. The laws related to workers’ compensation vary from state to state. In general, these programs cover the medical costs associated with work-related injuries, and some wage replacement for employees who miss work as a result of their injury or illness. Workers’ compensation benefits do not include some forms of compensation available in personal injury lawsuits, such as payments for pain and suffering. However, unlike a personal injury lawsuit, workers’ compensation benefits are not based on fault. This means that it is possible for an injured employee to collect workers’ compensation even when no one wrongfully or negligently caused the injury, or even if the injured person caused the injury through his or her own carelessness.
Are all individuals employed in Florida covered?
In Florida, businesses with at least four employees must hold workers’ compensation insurance, with exceptions. There are certain industries that are held to different standards though, for instance, in the construction industry, a business of only one employee must hold coverage.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida
One of the most important aspects of filing a claim is to file it on time. If you fail to report your injury to your employer within 30 days, you could find that your claim is denied or closed, even if it is completely legitimate. In the case of injuries that occur as the result of an accident, you should report the injury within 30 days of the accident. If you suffer from an injury or illness that occurred over a long period of time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, you should be sure to report your injury as soon as you are diagnosed or as soon as you have reason to believe it is related to your work.
Your employer generally has up to seven days to report your injury to their insurance company. If your employer fails to do this, you can report the injury directly to the insurance company.
What happens if my claim is denied?
It is not unusual for workers’ compensation claims to be denied. After all, insurance companies are not fond of paying out money, and employers do not want their insurance rates to rise. If the insurance company believes that your injury is not as serious as you claimed it to be, if you failed to file on time, or if the insurer believes that your injury is not actually work-related, the insurance company might deny your claim.
In these instances, you have the right to file a Petition for Benefits. In Florida, you have up to two years in most cases in order to file a petition, but you should do so as soon as possible and exceptions do exist.
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