You may still be eligible for benefits. Let’s say that you and a co-worker are walking downstairs. You slip on a step and land on your backside. At the time, you don’t think you are injured, but you tell your boss about the incident and inform him that your coworker was with you. The boss offers to send you for medical treatment, but you decide not to go because you feel fine. However, over the next few weeks, you find it necessary to take off work due to back pain. This pattern has continued, and you now realize that it is likely related to the incident in the stairwell.
What are the reporting requirements in Florida?
You should report the workplace accident as soon as possible but no later than 30 days from the date the accident occurs, or within 30 days of the date the doctor says you are suffering an injury. Failure to report your injury or illness within 30 days may result in your claim being denied. Written notice is not required although it is always advisable. In this case, when you reported the incident to your supervisor, you satisfied the notice requirement.
What should you expect from your employer and the company insurance carrier?
You discussed the need for medical care with your employer when the incident first occurred although you decided against going to the doctor at that point. Your back is now bothering you, so it is advisable that you go back to the employer and request medical care. Your employer is required by Florida law to report your request to his or her insurance carrier within three days. The insurance carrier should contact you regarding your claim.
What if your employer refuses to help?
Should your employer refuse to help you, or if the insurance carrier does not want to assist by providing needed care, you immediately should contact a workers comp attorney. You may be required to show proof of a causal relationship between the incident and the pain you are now suffering. Documentation by a health care provider will satisfy this requirement, but you must be honest with your physician regarding the facts of the situation. A skilled attorney can help you with issues encountered when your employer doesn’t want to help you or when the insurance carrier denies your claim.
Even if you didn’t realize you were hurt for a couple of months, you may still be eligible for benefits including medical care and compensation for unpaid days off from work.