Workers’ compensation is a vital benefit that provides a safety net for Florida workers who have suffered a work-related injury or illness. The process of filing a workers comp claim in Fort Lauderdale can be intricate, but we will break it down into several key steps.
Contact our law firm today and let us help you navigate the workers’ compensation system and get the benefits you deserve.
Step 1: Report the Injury to Your Employer
The first step is to inform your employer about the injury or illness. It’s best to tell a manager or supervisor immediately after the accident, and then submit an accident report to your employer in writing.
You must notify your employer within 30 days of getting injured or within 30 days of becoming aware that the injury is related to your work. The deadline is extended to 90 days if you develop an occupational disease. If you miss the deadline to report your injury or illness, your workers’ comp claim may be denied.
The employer should provide you with a “First Report of Injury or Illness” form to complete and sign. Then your employer should submit the form to the insurance carrier within seven days.
Step 2: Follow Up
Once your employer reports your injury to the insurance carrier, the insurer should send you an information packet within three days.
It’s important to follow up and ensure your employer has reported the accident insurance carrier. If needed, you can contact the insurance carrier directly and submit the accident report.
Information about the insurance carrier should be posted in your workplace. If your employer does not have the insurance information posted in the workplace, contact the Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office.
Step 3: The Insurance Company Accepts or Denies the Claim
The insurance company will either accept the workers comp claim and begin paying benefits within 21 days or deny the claim. The insurance company must inform you of a denial within 120 days of when your accident was reported.
Step 4: Challenging a Denied Workers Comp Claim
In some cases, your Fort Lauderdale workers’ comp attorney may be able to resolve your claim by negotiating with the insurance company. If this doesn’t happen, your next step is to file a Petition for Benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims, or OJCC.
The Petition for Benefits must be filed within two years of your injury. If you were injured and received medical treatment and financial benefits, you have one year from the final payment to file a claim.
If you develop an occupational disease, the claim must be filed within two years of the later of 1) the date you learn from a doctor that you have a work-related disease, or 2) the date you’re disabled because of the condition.
Step 5: The OJCC
The Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC) will likely send your case to mediation. In mediation, a neutral party (the mediator) tries to help both sides agree on a solution.
If mediation doesn’t resolve the issue, your case will be scheduled for a hearing before the OJCC. Your Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyer will represent you in the hearing. After the hearing, the judge will decide within 30 days whether or not you will be awarded workers’ compensation benefits.
If the OJCC doesn’t rule in your favor, your lawyer may appeal the decision to the First District Court of Appeal.
Understanding Workers Compensation Benefits
Injured employees can receive two main types of workers’ compensation benefits: medical benefits and disability benefits. Florida workers’ compensation will generally cover all medical expenses for your work-related injury or illness. However, you must see a physician approved by the insurance company.
Disability benefits cover a portion of the employee’s lost income. They are divided into the following categories.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): These benefits are paid to employees temporarily unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): These benefits are for workers who can return to their jobs but must work with restrictions and are not earning more than 80% of their average pre-injury weekly wage.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): If you can work but are left with a permanent impairment, you may be eligible for these benefits. Permanent partial disability is based on your impairment rating.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD): These benefits are awarded to people left permanently unable to work after a job-related injury or illness.
Call Our Fort Lauderdale Workers Comp Lawyers Today!
Filing a workers comp claim in Florida is a complex process. Our Fort Lauderdale workers compensation lawyers at Work Injury Rights can help you file your claim and receive the full benefits you deserve.