What Is the First Step When Filing a Workers Comp Claim in Florida?

Florida’s workers comp system is designed to help you recover and get back to work. When filing a workers comp claim, the first step is to notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible. If your claim is approved, you may be eligible for several types of benefits.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the first step you need to take after a workplace injury and the entire workers compensation process in Tampa, Florida.

Notify Your Employer

The first thing you need to do after suffering an injury at work in Florida is to let your employer know as soon as possible. Florida law requires you to report most work-related accidents within 30 days. If you have developed a condition over time from your job, you must notify your employer within 30 days of realizing it’s related to your work.

Failing to report within these time limits could mean losing some or all of your benefits. When you report the injury to your employer, give them all the details you can, including:

  • When exactly did the accident happen
  • How you were injured
  • What symptoms you’re experiencing

Your employer will then send you to their chosen doctor for treatment unless your injury requires emergency care. Tell the doctor everything about what caused your injury and how severe your symptoms are so they have the full picture.

Seek Medical Care

Even for minor injuries, see the doctor your employer sends you to right away. Get checked out and follow the doctor’s recommended treatment. Keep records of their diagnosis and care instructions. You’ll need this information for your claim.

Seeking prompt medical care is key to a successful workers comp claim. Without a doctor’s report linking your injury to your job, your claim may be denied. Follow-up appointments and physical therapy are often part of treatment, so attend all recommended care.

What Happens After Reporting Your Injury?

Once you’ve notified your employer about your work injury, the wheels are set in motion. Your employer must report your claim to its insurance company within seven days. If the employer refuses to report your injury for some reason, you need to contact the insurance company yourself to get the ball rolling.

injured workers are protected by the workers comp system

The insurance company will investigate your claim to determine if you’re eligible for workers comp benefits. They’ll look at things like your medical records and bills, as well as your work history, education, job duties, and pay. They may send you for an independent medical exam or functional capacity evaluation.

Under Florida law, the insurance company must approve or deny your claim promptly. If approved, you’ll start receiving disability payments and medical benefits right away.

Next Steps After Filing Your Workers Comp Claim

After you’ve submitted your workers compensation claim, the next steps involve providing additional details about your injury and keeping records of everything related to your case.

You will need to provide a written statement describing how your injury occurred in as much detail as possible. Be specific about the events leading up to your accident, and include the names of any witnesses. Your employer may also ask you to fill out an incident report.

Maintain records of all medical appointments, treatments, medications, travel expenses, and other costs related to your injury. Keep a journal to record how your injury impacts your day-to-day life. These records will be important when determining the severity of your injury and any benefits you may be entitled to.

If your claim is denied, don’t panic. You have the right to dispute the decision. First, request a hearing with a judge of compensation claims. You may want to hire an attorney to help argue your case. If the judge denies your claim again, you can appeal to the First District Court of Appeal. You must file appeals within strict deadlines, so act quickly.

Reach Out to an Experienced Tampa Workers Comp Lawyer Today

The sooner you contact a Tampa workers compensation attorney, the sooner they can start helping you. Our firm has been representing injured workers in Florida for over 20 years. We have the knowledge and skill to handle even the most complex cases.

We provide free consultations 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our caring staff can schedule a convenient time for you to speak with an attorney right away. Early intervention is key to achieving the best possible outcome for your workers comp claim.

Call our firm today at 954-448-7355.

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