Workers Compensation in Florida
You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by Florida state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Florida workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in Florida?
The Florida Division of Workers Compensation lists strains or sprains, slips and falls, and struck by an object as the leading causes of workers compensation claims filed. Jobs in the agricultural industry suffer the highest number of severe injuries due to accidents such as tractors rolling over and getting caught in dangerous equipment. Workers compensation rates vary due to medical bills and that rate of pay for the employee.
How Does Workers Comp Work in Florida?
There is a standard practice to follow when going through the Florida workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss.
Florida law states that all businesses with four or more full or part-time employees must carry workers compensation insurance. Construction businesses are required to insure everyone, even independent contractors. The Florida Department of Financial Services states that if you are receiving benefits, your benefit check is to be paid bi-weekly in the amount of 66 and 2/3rds of your average weekly wage.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Florida are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.
Get Medical Attention
After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a Florida healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.
Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.
When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File a First Report of Injury
Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how Florida workers comp works.
In Florida, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim for Workers Compensation. However, that can be extended by a year every time that you receive a medical or indemnity benefit. If an injury occurs, or symptoms of an illness appear. Here are some examples of actions you might take:
- Seek medical attention
- Report the injury or illness to your employer
- Try to resolve any disputes before filing a petition
- Contact an attorney to help you file your petition
- File and serve your petition.
Contents of the Report
The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report with the report of injury.
Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event.
Florida law allows a worker to receive a maximum of 104 weeks of temporary compensation. However, the individual must remain on a “no work” status in order for benefits to be claimed for the week.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
In learning how Florida workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a Florida workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in Florida
Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Florida state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!