Navigating the Workers Compensation Process for First-Time Claimants

When you suffer a workplace injury for the first time, you are understandably unsure what you have to do. You know that you have the right to receive workers comp benefits, but do not know how to apply for them. In this situation, you should rely on experienced Coral Gables workers comp lawyers to guide you through the entire workers compensation process.

In this article, we will explain to first-time claimants what they need to do in order to ensure that they follow all the rules and their claim gets approved.

1. Report Your Injury to Your Employer

Unless you suffered severe injuries that require immediate medical care, the first thing to do is to notify a supervisor or the HR department of your accident. Florida workers compensation law stipulates that you have 30 days to send a written notification. But you should inform your employer verbally immediately after the accident.

The reason for this is that the employer has the right to administer a drug test. The test will determine if you were under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol when the accident happened. In this case, you are not eligible to receive workers comp benefits.

Reporting the incident several days later may be interpreted as an attempt to dodge the drug test and may determine the insurance company to deny your claim.

2. Document the Time and Scene of the Accident

One essential thing to know about the workers comp process is that you must prove that the accident happened in the course of your work activities. If you were not on the clock – for example, during a lunch break – the incident does not qualify as a workplace accident.

It is essential to take photos and videos with your phone showing:

  • A clock indicating the time when the accident happened
  • The place where you were injured, to prove that you were actually working
  • The injuries you suffered
  • Any coworkers who witnessed the accident and may give testimony describing what they saw.

find out how to file a workers comp claim in Florida

3. Seek Medical Attention

After completing the actions above (which should not take more than half an hour), go to the nearest ER or hospital for treatment and diagnostic tests. If you feel in pain or suspect that you suffered a severe injury, call an ambulance at your workplace.

When you consult with a Coral Gables workers comp lawyer, the paper trail created by the EMT crew who gave you first aid will be extremely helpful in building your case.

4. Consult with a Workers Compensation Attorney

The workers comp process is extremely complex, especially for a first-time claimant. You should not go through it without reliable legal advice and representation. An experienced lawyer will help you:

  • Fill in and submit paperwork without errors and within the deadlines
  • Advise you on how to answer questions asked by the insurance adjuster
  • Negotiate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf
  • Attempt to reach a lump sum or structured settlement

5. Submit to the Independent Medical Examination

After you file your workers comp claim, your employer’s insurance company has the right to request an independent medical examination (IME) performed by a doctor of their choosing. This examination is mandatory – refusing to attend it will put an end to your claim for benefits.

The IME doctor will evaluate your injuries and to what extent they affect your capacity to perform your work and recommend a course of treatment. They may also recommend a light-duty position while you recover from your injuries.

Let a Skilled Coral Gables Workers Comp Lawyer Help You Win Your Benefits!

After a workplace accident, it is important to act quickly and talk to an attorney in order to protect your rights to get workers comp benefits. An experienced Coral Gables workers comp lawyer will be by your side during the entire process and ensure that you get the benefits you deserve.

As a new client, you benefit from a free case evaluation, so you have nothing to lose. Also, if you have a valid claim, we will represent you on a contingency-fee basis – no fees until we win your benefits. Call us today at 954-324-COMP!

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