Did you know that three out of every 100 full-time workers get injured while on the job annually? Each year more than 100,000 claims are filed in the State of Florida as a result of work-related injuries. Regardless of the occupation or industry – from the hospitality sector to the construction and mining industries – anyone is at risk of suffering a severe workplace injury that leaves them out of work and dealing with hefty medical bills. Fortunately, the Florida State Workers’ Compensation Program is in place to protect individuals injured while on the job and provide benefits that cover any lost wages and medical treatment.
However, the process of receiving these benefits isn’t always easy, and the affected workers often face a lot of obstacles and complications when trying to secure the financial compensation owed to them. This is why it is crucial to hire the services of an accomplished Miami Gardens workers’ compensation attorney. Our experienced attorneys at Miami Compensation Lawyers Coalition can help guide you through the legal process and ensure that you are properly compensated for injuries. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your claim and the best course of action.
How Can I Know If My Injury Will Be Covered By A Workers’ Comp Claim?
Under Florida Law, any employer with four or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for all their employees. However, there is an exception in the construction industry as employers are required to provide this insurance even if they have one employee. So, this means that for your injury to be covered, first, your employer or company must have workers’ insurance coverage.
Secondly, you must be an employee of the company. You are considered an employee if you are a full-time worker, part-time worker, a prisoner working for the company through a work-release program, a minor working for the company, working under a contract, or an alien (legally or illegally employed).
Independent contractors, professional athletes, volunteers, casual laborers, and domestic workers aren’t considered employees and aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Thirdly, your injury must fall under compensable work injuries. This means that:
i) The injury was caused as a result of an accident
ii) The injury arose out of the employment
iii) The injury happened while in the course of employment. This means that you must have been engaging in an activity that is directly related to your job. For instance, an employee injured while traveling to work from home may not be entitled to receiving workers’ compensation benefits but a worker injured while traveling to work from a mandatory business meeting will be entitled to compensation.
An employee injured during lunch or on a break is typically not covered.
How Long Do You Have to File A Workers’ Comp Claim In Florida?
Under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, an injured employee has up to two years from the date of the accident or the date of learning about the work-related injury/illness or one year of their most recent wage loss or medical treatment payment (whichever is later) to file a workers’ compensation claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation otherwise you permanently lose your right to seek for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, it is important to note that there are other time-based factors that can hinder you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits including failure to notify your employer of the injury within 30 days and taking too long to get medical treatment.
How To File The Workers’ Comp Claim In Florida?
If you have been injured on the job, there are a number of steps that you need to take to secure your opportunity of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits in Florida. Here s the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida:
i) Notify Your Employer
If the accident results in a non-emergency type of injury, your first step should be to report the injury to your employer right away. Under Florida law, you should notify your employer within thirty days of the injury or thirty days of discovering the injury. However, it is always best to do this as soon as possible. While talking to your employer in person is a great way of notifying them, it is always wise to send a letter or email in order to have a record of when you notified them.
You need to provide your employer with a proper description of what happened, the date and time it happened, how and why the accident happened, and details of any witnesses present.
Your employer or the employer’s insurance company should provide you with a list of approved medical care providers that you should use.
If in an emergency situation, you can seek medical treatment at the closest facility but ensure that your employer is notified as soon as possible.
ii) Seek Medical Treatment
Once you have the list of approved medical providers seek full medical evaluation as soon as possible. This is the only way to determine and prove the true extent of your injuries. This will be critical in strengthening your workers’ compensation claim. Be sure to clearly explain to your medical care provider how the accident leading to your injury happened and how it is related to your work.
iii) Employer Reports Your Claim
After you notify your employer of the injury, the employer should report your claim to their insurance company within 7 days. However, if this doesn’t happen, you should contact the insurance company yourself. The insurance company will either approve or deny the payment of your workers’ compensation benefits.
iv) File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Should the insurance company chose to deny your claim or if you aren’t satisfied with the amount of compensation offered, you can file a workers’ compensation claim, also known as a Petition for Benefits with the Division for Workers Compensation but within two years of the injury or one year from your last medical payment or loss of wages.
Get Professional Legal Assistance Today With Your Workers Compensation Claim Process!
Dealing with the complexities of Florida’s workers’ compensation law can quickly get overwhelming especially when dealing with the pain and suffering caused by your injuries. However, here at Miami Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition, we believe that nothing should come in the way of you receiving the full financial compensation legally owed to you. That is why we are ready to fight for you to the very end. We will help determine whether you have a valid workers’ compensation claim and guide you on the best course of action. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.