Andre G. Raikhelson
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance with many rules and formulas that can be daunting to anyone except those who are immersed in it. Oftentimes, those injured on the job face uncertain financial futures and significant medical costs.
If an issue arises in claiming workers’ compensation benefits, discuss it with Florida Workers’ compensation lawyers at a free, no-obligation consultation. An adept and determined attorney can assess the situation and explain the process and the rules involved. Attorney fees are not charged unless the lawyer wins the case.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVERAGE
Florida law requires all employers with four or more employees or at least 12 seasonal workers employed for 30 or more days to provide workers’ compensation coverage. Contract workers are not provided workers’ compensation coverage.
Benefits include payments for a percentage of lost earnings and medical care for the job-related injury. Strokes and heart attacks are covered if they were pre-existing conditions exacerbated by physical efforts from activity that was not usual to the employee’s type of work.
Employees do not need to prove that the employer was at fault in causing injury or illness, nor does it matter if the employee was at fault for getting hurt or sick.
REPORTING INJURY OR ILLNESS WITHIN THE REPORTING DEADLINE
Employees must report the injury or illness to their supervisor or employer within 30 days from the time it happened, and the employer is allowed seven days to report the issue to the insurance carrier.
Missing the reporting deadline can make the employee ineligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits or delay the claim’s processing and the employee can be fined from $100 to $500. A Florida Workers’ compensation lawyer can help individuals file their claim within the allotted period of time.
Employees must see a physician chosen by the employer as soon as possible. Mileage to the doctor’s office may be expensed. Under Florida law the employee can change doctors, but only once.
FILING A CLAIM BEFORE THE STATUE OF LIMITATIONS ENDS
The employee is required to file a claim with the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation at the earliest time possible. However, an employee has up to two years to do so under law. Failing to act in time risks losing benefits.
The claim requires when information pertaining to when and where the incident occurred, the names of any witnesses, and what caused the injury or illness. A Florida Workers’ compensation lawyer can help the injured party fill in the necessary information.
The insurance carrier can deny a claim by alleging that the employee’s injury is from a pre-existing condition, the injury did not happen at work, or the employee is attempting fraud.
A worker is entitled to a hearing before a board of appeals if the claim is denied, benefits issues are unsatisfactory if the employee wants a second medical opinion because the insurance carrier’s doctors incorrectly released an employee to work, or even if an injury occurred.
The dispute may also be settled through mediation, which is a flexible and informal procedure presided over by a neutral mediator that is allowed more alternatives, such as modifying work assignments.
CONSULTING A FLORIDA WORKER’S COMPENSATION ATTORNEY
Employees are entitled to represent themselves without any legal representation. However, they are certain to be at a disadvantage because of unfamiliarity with the procedures and because the insurance carrier will have an experienced attorney representing the opposition.
Hire experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyers that can present evidence, challenge medical opinions, and use other strategies that could help you recover the benefits you deserve. If you have been injured while at work, consult a compassionate attorney that can advocate for you.