For wounded workers, being harmed at work may be a stressful moment. In addition to having a challenging recovery, you could be concerned and unclear about the procedure, the legislation, and your rights.
For many years, the attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. have battled for the injured worker’s right to justice in workers’ compensation disputes in Florida. Although the questions and answers below attempt to give some insight into Florida’s workers’ compensation system, they are not meant to be comprehensive or address every aspect of workers’ compensation legislation. To understand more and acquire the support you require, we highly urge that you speak with one of our lawyers who are experts in workers’ compensation.
In this article, we’ll explore what you need to do if you are injured after an accident at work in Florida, as well as work injury advice you need to know in order to start your work injury claim process.
What to Do After a Workers’ Compensation Accident in Florida
Inform your supervisor right away if you get hurt at work. By doing this, the procedure for collecting workers’ compensation will begin. To avoid a delay in collecting your compensation, make sure to act swiftly and retain copies of all paperwork for your records.
The most crucial thing for workers to understand is that they must notify a supervisor right once of any workplace injuries they have, preferably in writing. While some states allow verbal notices, others demand written notices to the employer. To be safe, however, employees must give written notice to the supervisory staff of any on-the-job injuries. You should file quickly away since certain jurisdictions have a small window for doing so (known as the statute of limitations) in order to preserve any potential legal claims you may have against your employer for workers’ compensation payments. You should also seek medical attention right away if your injuries or condition needs it.
The FECA allows you to initially choose any licensed physician to be your treating physician, albeit there are certain limitations on the usage of chiropractors.
If you are not a federal employee, the FECA does not apply to you, and state law will take precedence. If you seek to visit your own doctor in writing before the accident happens, you may be entitled to do so in several states. But more frequently than not, wounded workers are directed to a physician that their employers have chosen and paid for. Typically, you will only need to visit the business doctor for a maximum of 30 days before being free to select your own doctor.
If your doctor delivers medical reports in accordance with FECA that answer the inquiries and worries of workers’ compensation officials, there typically won’t be any issues until your employer requests a second opinion assessment. There are two alternatives available to the office if the second opinion doctor’s report differs from the first opinion doctor’s report: either proclaim a tie and seek a third doctor’s view or assess the medical evidence to determine which doctor’s opinion is more correct.
The workers’ compensation office will often place greater emphasis on the second doctor’s assessment than on the treating physician. You have the right to appeal if the second opinion leads to a modification of your compensation. The government will appoint a third physician to settle any discrepancies in the medical evidence if it determines that the competing medical opinions are of equal weight and declares a tie.
The workers’ compensation injury payouts you obtain will be significantly influenced by your doctor’s report. Remember that a doctor who accepts insurance from your employer is not your buddy. A doctor can downplay the severity of your injuries or label it as a pre-existing condition in order to secure more business from your employer or insurance provider. As a consequence, please be truthful and as precise as you can about how the accident happened. Otherwise, keep your medical background to yourself unless it is necessary.
How Do I File My Work Injury Damages Claim?
After you have notified your employer and their insurance company of your injury and sought out medical treatment, you must hire a work injuries compensation lawyer. They can help you with the process of filing your work injury compensation claim and getting your work accident compensation payouts, as well as help you fight back in the case that your work injury claim declined. That being said, filing for your workers’ compensation injury settlement is relatively simple in Florida.
A workers’ compensation claim can be made in the same way as any other insurance claim. It is more of a plea for benefits than a lawsuit against an employer.
Notifying your employer of your claim is the first step in the process. No matter how the employer finds out about the occurrence, they are required to provide you with a claim form very away. The employer is not obligated to offer benefits until this claim form is submitted. You should be able to get the paperwork you need to submit a claim from your employer. In reality, the majority of states demand that the initial forms be on hand at the workplace, medical offices, and emergency rooms of hospitals.
Contact your state’s Workers’ Compensation Office right away if they are unable to, which may be done by visiting the state government agencies page on our website. Keep a copy of the claim form for your records; it is crucial. Give your employer the claim form back. You can mail it or deliver it in person to your workplace. If you decide to mail the claim form, we advise using certified mail with a return receipt. It is crucial to file as soon as possible since failing to do so might result in delays in your benefits being paid out. If you require help, contact a workers’ compensation attorney who can handle this procedure on your behalf.
The right portion of the claim form should subsequently be filled out by your employer, who should then send it to his workers’ compensation insurance provider. You should receive a copy of the finalized claim form from your employer. In the case that you do not receive one, you should ask your employer for one. For your records, keep a copy. In most cases, the insurance provider has fourteen days to write you a letter outlining the status of your claim. Call the insurance provider if you don’t get this letter.
FAQs About What to Do After Workers’ Compensation Injuries in Florida
Do I Need an Attorney?
The difficulty of work injury damages cases determines whether one requires legal representation. Contact a local workers’ compensation attorney if you are unsure that you understand any aspect of your case. You should retain legal counsel if you have to appear before an administrative or judicial judge, such as one of the knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A.
How Should I Respond If My Employer Is Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Employers are obliged by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance, with a few exclusions such as agricultural laborers, domestic workers, and independent contractors. Contact a lawyer as soon as you can if your employer asserts that they do not have workers’ compensation insurance. You can also phone the workers’ compensation office or labor department in your state, which can be located on our website’s page listing state government organizations.
The state of Florida most likely has a fund from which they will pay for your workers’ compensation payments if your company does not have such insurance. If an employer that must have workers’ compensation insurance does not, you could be able to claim for negligence.
I Disagree With The Way My Claim Was Handled. What Now?
As a federal worker protected by FECA, the following rules will apply to you: If you disagree with a final decision made by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), you can ask the Branch of Hearings and Review for an oral hearing or a review of the written record. The assertion may be further supported by oral or written evidence. By sending a written request to the district office that made the decision, you can also ask for a review of that decision. The request must be supported by new, unreported evidence. An appeal hearing on the same matter may not be granted if reconsideration has been requested.
Additionally, you can ask the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) to examine the decision. No new evidence may be provided since the ECAB bases its decisions exclusively on the information that was available at the time the judgment was made. There is no way to appeal an ECAB decision after it has been made; you cannot pursue a claim through the state or federal systems.
You can request a Workers’ Compensation board hearing if your employer contests your benefit claim. If you are unsuccessful, you can appeal to have a Workers’ Compensation Administrative Law Judge hear your case. If you still lose, you might be able to appeal the decision in a court of law.
If you are not a federal employee, the FECA does not apply to you, and state law will take precedence. However, a comparable appeals procedure is provided for under Florida’s workers’ compensation legislation.
Which Benefits Are Available to Me in Florida?
You might be eligible for medical benefits as well as a portion of salary replacement benefits if your employer or the insurance provider for your employer decides to accept your claim.
All medically essential care and treatment needed for your injury’s healing process is covered by medical benefits. Medication, medical equipment, durable medical equipment, and prostheses may all fall under this category. Your work-related injury must be the primary factor in the need for medical care in order for you to get medical benefits. Your treating doctor will make the decision on the scope of your medical care.
You can also be eligible for financial aid in the form of a partial pay replacement. Either a temporary total handicap or a temporary partial disability will result from this. When your condition is entire in nature but only temporary in nature, payments for temporary total disability are provided. Two-thirds (66.67%) of your average weekly earnings will be used to calculate and pay your benefits.
You are only eligible for benefits for up to 104 weeks of temporary total or temporary partial disability. Florida reemployment programs may be able to help you find employment if you are unable to return to work in the same capacity that you did before your accident.
The Attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. are Here to Support You After a Workers’ Compensation Accident in Orlando, FL
If your employer or their insurance provider did not treat your work-related injuries seriously or if your initial claim for Social Security Disability benefits was turned down, you need knowledgeable legal representation. For the sake of your family, finances, health, and future, you must act right away. You could also be unsure about your eligibility for workers’ compensation. A workers’ compensation lawyer might be quite beneficial in this situation. The knowledgeable lawyers at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. have committed their entire legal careers to defend the rights of injured employees. You may benefit from our decades of combined expertise with workers’ compensation-related difficulties.
People in Orlando, Florida who are hired by companies or work on a contract basis are eligible for representation by Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. Due to our experience in this area, our full-service legal office solely takes on workers’ compensation matters. Because of this, we are knowledgeable about the different types of injuries, your right to select your doctor, when to report an injury, the importance of hiring a knowledgeable work injury lawyer, the possible compensation you may be eligible for, and the reasons for reopening a case that has already been dismissed. Call our experts at 561-513-4376 right away to find out more about how we can assist you with your workers’ compensation case. To schedule a free first consultation, get in touch with Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. right away.