Can You File a Florida Workers Compensation Claim for a Work-Related Illness?

Most of our clients come to us because they suffered an injury at work. Some of them slipped and hurt their back. Others were carrying a load that was just too heavy and suffered a back injury. However, some of our clients did not suffer an injury per se. Instead, they were diagnosed with a work-related illness.

When some people hear this, they assume we are talking about cancer or carpal tunnel syndrome. The truth is that there are many illnesses you can suffer because of your job. If that’s the case, you need to file your Florida workers’ compensation claim before you do anything else.

If your claim is approved, you’ll start to receive your benefits within a couple of weeks. If, however, the insurance company denies your claim, your Miami workers comp attorney can always file an appeal on your behalf. If your claim was denied for illegitimate reasons, your lawyer can file a lawsuit against your employer.

Here, we will explain the protection offered by the Florida workers’ compensation system. We will also discuss the various work-related illnesses you may be suffering from. Finally, we will describe what your options are if your claim is denied.

If you still have questions or concerns about your own work-related illness, please contact our office directly. We can always schedule your free consultation over the phone and get the process started.

Workers Compensation Protects You from Work-Related Illnesses and Injuries

Florida created the workers’ compensation system in 1938. After the Depression was over, the government realized they needed to put something into place to protect both workers and their employers. Prior to being able to file a Florida workers’ compensation claim, workers had two choices.

They could sue their employer for damages, knowing they would lose their job for sure. Or they could continue to work through their work-related illness or injury, afraid that they would be fired if they missed any time. Neither of these options worked for either employees or the companies they worked for. Employees needed protection and employers could not afford to defend dozens of lawsuits every year.

When the system was put into place, it was intended to protect workers from both work-related injuries and illnesses. In fact, in the three years leading up to the implementation of workers’ compensation in Florida, the legislature went back and forth on whether they would offer employees medical care.

The legislators intended for workers to be protected if they were diagnosed with a work-related illness. Of course, you will only be covered if your illness is, in fact, work-related.

medical records for a job-related illness

Your Miami Workers Comp Attorney Must Prove That Your Illness Was Caused by Your Job

The hardest thing your Miami workers comp attorney must do is prove that you have a work-related illness. It is one thing when someone is a commercial driver and gets injured in a car accident. The same thing is true if a worker cuts their finger while working as a sous chef in a restaurant. However, when somebody develops a respiratory illness or cancer, how can you prove that it was caused by their job?

This is why it’s important that you retain a skilled Miami workers comp attorney. When you file your Florida workers’ compensation claim, your lawyer can review it to make sure it was completed properly. They will also search through your medical records to find evidence to support your claim that your illness is work-related.

Of course, if your claim is denied, your Miami workers comp attorney will need to prove the connection between your illness and your job. If they’re able to do that, then there’s a good chance your claim will be approved. However, since most work-related illnesses require extensive medical treatment, there is always the chance that the insurance adjuster will deny it, hoping they can settle for less down the road if you sue.

You Must Still Meet the Other Criteria for Workers’ Compensation in Florida

Even if your Miami workers comp attorney can prove that your illness is work-related, that is not enough. You must still meet the other criteria required to receive workers’ compensation benefits. For the most part, as long as your illness is truly work-related, you shouldn’t have a problem.

The criteria for workers’ compensation are as follows.

  • Your illness must have been caused by your job.
  • Your injury or illness must have occurred on company property.
  • You must report your illness to your employer immediately.
  • You must agree to be treated by a state-approved workers comp doctor.
  • You must comply with your treatment plan.
  • You cannot work a second job while collecting workers’ compensation benefits.

As long as you meet these basic criteria, you should be fine. If your Florida workers’ compensation claim is still denied, your Miami workers comp attorney will help you navigate the appeals process.

A Miami Workers Comp Attorney Can Help if Your Claim Was Denied

It is true that most Florida workers’ compensation claims are approved. In fact, only 7% of the workers’ compensation claims filed every year in the U.S. are denied. That number may seem low. However, if you happen to fall into that 7%, you cannot walk away without putting up a fight. You wouldn’t have filed a Florida workers’ compensation claim if you weren’t hurt.

Very few people intentionally file fake or fraudulent claims. And, as frustrated as you may feel, there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Of the claims that are initially denied, more than two-thirds of them are eventually approved. Most of these claimants were likely represented by a Miami workers comp attorney.

Let an Experienced Attorney Handle Your Work-Related Illness Claim

While you have every right to handle your own claim, the odds of your claim being approved increase if you are represented by a seasoned attorney. The insurance companies are much less likely to try to take advantage of you if you have a Miami workers comp attorney.

Even if your claim is denied, your Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can handle your appeal. If need be, they will also file a lawsuit against your employer and their insurance carrier.

Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, you should contact our office right away. We can set up a date and time for you to come into the office. If your work-related injuries or illness has left you debilitated or disabled, we can even conduct the consultation by phone or video call.