Steps In Florida’s Workers’ Compensation System
The workers’ compensation process can be very confusing.An entire chapter of the legislative code is devoted to workers’ compensation.This page is meant to serve you as an overview for the procedural steps involved in a workers’ compensation claim.
Tell Your Boss
The first step in a workers’ compensation claim is to tell your boss that you were injured. If you don’t inform your employer that you suffered an injury within 30 days, your claim may be lost, pursuant to section 440.185 of the Florida Statutes.
There are exceptions to this rule for cases where the employer had actual knowledge of the injury, where the cause of the injury could not be identified without a medical opinion, or in other exceptional circumstances, but it’s best not to rest your claim on the exceptions.
Your Employer Calls the Insurance Company
Your company is required to report any injuries you tell them about to their insurance carrier within 7 days of the date that you notify your boss.
The insurance carrier then has three days to mail the injured worker an informational brochure explaining his rights, benefits, and the procedure for obtaining those benefits.
Within 14 days of receiving notification of the injury, the insurance company is required to file the information required by statute with the Florida Department of Workers’ Compensation.
Disputing the Amount
If the insurance carrier determines you are not entitled to all of the benefits which you claim, you must file a petition for benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims and send a copy to the insurance carrier.This claim will include any unpaid benefits, specific travel costs that you are entitled to, and any unpaid medical charges.
Within 14 days of receiving a petition for benefits, the insurance carrier must either pay the amount requested or file a response to the petition with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims. The Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims will then determine what the proper amount of workers’ compensation is. If you are still unsatisfied with the level of benefits, you may appeal to the District Court of Appeal.
For more information on the procedural aspects of a workers’ compensation claim, the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Workers’ Compensation offers a “Hurt at Work?” brochure.
This page is not meant to be a substitute for legal advice. Workers’ compensation is a wide area of the law. If you have any questions about your claim or potential claim for benefits, please contact the Law Office of David M. Benenfeld at 954-807-1334.