Despite efforts over the past several decades to make workplaces safer, work-related accidents continue every day across the country. If you are injured in a Florida workplace accident, you may be entitled to benefits through the Florida workers’ compensation system.
Those benefits may include both wage replacement and medical treatment for your injuries. To ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled, you should take the following steps after a workplace accident:
1. Report the accident.Even a minor workplace accident should be reported to a supervisor immediately. Often, a worker is involved in what appears to be a minor accident and does not report it, only to realize down the road that the injuries are serious. Failing to report an injury within 30 days can result in a denial of benefits regardless of the merits of the claim.Immediately after an injury you should fill out a “First Report of Injury or Illness” and give it your employer. Your employer should provide the form; however, if not, the First Report of Injury or Illness form can be found on the Florida Department of Financial Services’ website.
2. File a claim.Your employer should file a claim with its workers’ compensation carrier within seven days of being informed of the injury. The carrier is required to send you an informational brochure within three days of receipt of the notice of claim from your employer. If you receive this brochure, you know your employer has reported the injury.If your employer refuses to report the claim, you have the right to report it yourself; however, if you are having trouble getting an injury reported, you may contact the Florida Department of Financial Services, Employee Assistance Office, or EAO, at (800) 342-1741 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with your claim.
3. Follow through with medical treatment.Once your claim has been approved, you will begin treatment with a provider authorized by your employer or your employer’s insurance company. It is very important that you follow through with the treatment plan created for your injuries. Not only will this help you heal faster but it will prevent problems with your workers’ compensation benefits as well.
If your claim for Florida workers’ compensation is approved, you will begin receiving either temporary partial or temporary total wage replacement benefits on day eight of your disability period. You will not receive benefits for the first seven days of your disability period unless your injury ultimately causes you to lose more than 21 days of work.
As a general rule, most workers receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage in workers’ compensation benefits, assuming they receive temporary total benefits. When you reach maximum medical improvement, or MMI, you may be entitled to either permanent impairment benefits or permanent total benefits if you remain unable to work or the injury caused an impairment that still exists.
If a workplace injury results in death, the worker’s dependents may receive compensation benefits.
In some cases, a claimant is able to navigate the Florida workers’ compensation system without the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. However, considering the numerous potential obstacles and hurdles, it may be in your best interest to have your claim evaluated by an attorney.