Workers’ compensation is type of insurance, paid for by employers, that provides medical care, wage replacement, and other benefits to workers who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. If you are injured on the job in Florida, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because most workers in the state should be covered, with a few exceptions.
Unfortunately, filing a workers’ comp claim in Florida is not always easy or straightforward. There are mistakes you can make that could negatively impact your ability to get your rightful benefits. When injured workers contact Flaxman Law Group to speak with a Florida workers’ compensation attorney, these are the mistakes we see most often:
- Not reporting an injury to your workplace promptly. In virtually every case, you need to report an on-the-job injury or diagnosis of an occupational illness within 30 days. Failing to do so can result in your claim being denied or delayed. You should notify your employer as soon as possible after your injury, without waiting for the deadline. Preferably report the injury in writing and keep a copy of your note as documentation.
- Not seeking medical treatment from an authorized provider. Florida law allows your employer or their insurance carrier to choose your treating doctor after a workplace injury. If you go to your own doctor without authorization, your medical expenses might not be covered.
- Not following your treatment recommendations. The doctor treating your work injury will give you a treatment plan and a work status report that indicates whether you can return to work or not. You must follow your doctor’s instructions and cooperate with your medical care. If you miss appointments, refuse treatment, or disobey restrictions, you may lose your benefits. You could even face penalties.
- Not keeping good records. Keep copies of all documents related to your injury or work-related illness. This can include accident reports, medical records, receipts, mileage logs, and correspondence. This documentation can help you prove your claim.
- Not contacting an experienced Florida workers’ compensation claims lawyer. It’s not uncommon to encounter problems such as disputes, denials, delays, or lowball offers when you file a workers’ comp claim, and understanding your rights can be challenging. An experienced Florida workers’ comp lawyer can help you navigate the system, protect your rights, and maximize your benefits. A lawyer can also help you appeal a negative decision or pursue a third-party lawsuit if you’re eligible.
- Not filing for benefits within two years. If your claim is denied or is partially paid by the insurance company, you may have the right to file a petition for benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC), though you must do this within two years. This is a formal request for a hearing before a judge, who will determine what benefits you may be eligible for.
- Exaggerating your injury or altering work history. You must tell the truth about how you were injured, what symptoms you have, and what limitations you have. You must also report any previous injuries or illnesses that may affect your claim when you’re asked about these facts. Any omission or dishonesty can result in your claim being denied or reduced. You can even face criminal charges for fraud.
- Not informing the insurance company of any changes in your health or limitations. You must report any changes that may affect your workers’ comp claim. For example, if you can return to work, are earning income from another source, are moving to another state, or are settling a lawsuit related to your injury, you need to report this. If you’re not sure what you need to report, consult with a Florida workers’ compensation attorney.
- Making a mistake when deciding on a settlement offer. In some situations, it may best to settle your workers’ comp claim for a lump sum payment. However, you should only accept a settlement offer if it is fair. A lawyer can help you evaluate an offer and negotiate for a better one if you get a lowball offer.
If you need help with your workers’ comp claim, call Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 to speak to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with Florida workers’ compensation attorney who can review your situation, answer your questions, and help you understand your rights. Our team has more than 60 years of experience helping hard-working employees and other Florida residents who have bene injured. Our offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood are here to serve you.