Many injured workers schedule a free case review with a Palm Bay workers comp lawyer after missing several important deadlines. After missing deadlines to file a claim, there is little an attorney can do to help.
For this reason, we prepared a short but comprehensive guide on how long you have to report workplace injuries and file a claim for benefits under Florida law.
You Must Report Your Workplace Accident to Your Employer as Soon as Possible
The first important deadline is notifying your employer that you suffered an injury at work. The law states that you have 30 days after the date of the accident to do so. However, an experienced lawyer will advise you to give at least verbal notification immediately after the incident.
What Happens If You Delay Notifying Your Employer?
Your workers comp claim will be handled by an insurance adjuster who is looking for every little aspect they can latch onto to deny your benefits. Thus, failing to report your accident as soon as possible may be interpreted in several negative ways for you, such as:
- You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when you suffered the accident and tried to avoid the drug test.
- You were not on the clock when you suffered the accident.
- You got injured at home or elsewhere.
However, Florida workers compensation law stipulates a few exceptions from the 30-day rule. Thus, you do not have to fulfill the obligation to notify your employer within this period if:
- The employer had actual knowledge of the injury (for instance, your supervisor witnessed your accident).
- The cause of the injury cannot be identified without a medical opinion.
- Your employer did not put you on notice of this requirement.
- There are exceptional circumstances (you suffered life-threatening injuries and had to be taken to hospital immediately).
Your Employer Must Notify the Insurance Company within Seven Days
Once you report a workplace accident, your employer must report it to their workers compensation insurance carrier within 7 days. Three days after your employer informs their insurer, the insurance company should send you a brochure explaining the workers comp claim process.
If this does not happen, let your Palm Bay workers comp attorney know. It may be possible that your employer does not want to report your injury. In this case, you have the right to contact the insurance company directly, through your lawyer.
You Have Two Years to File a Workers Comp Claim
Once all the steps above are completed, the final deadline to keep in mind is two years after the date of your accident. This is when you must file a workers compensation claim with your employer’s insurance company.
Of course, your lawyer will instruct you to file the claim in the shortest time possible. Also, you should start getting your first check for replacement wages within 21 days after you report the workplace accident.
The first seven days of missed work are not covered unless you miss over 21 days, thus you may consider using paid vacation or sick days.
The Insurance Company Has 120 Days to Deny Your Claim
After you filed your workers comp claim, the insurance company must notify you whether they deny your claim within maximum 120 days after you first reported your workplace accident. If this happens, your attorney will appeal this decision.
The process to appeal a denied a workers comp claim can take several months, as it involves mediation, various hearings, and decisions made by the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims. If you are still unhappy with the OJCC decision, the final legal recourse is taking your case to the First District Court of Appeal.
An Experienced Palm Bay Workers Comp Lawyer Will File Your Claim on Time!
All the rules and deadlines above can be confusing when you are injured and worried about your financial situation. This is why you should let an experienced attorney handle your case and follow all the legal steps.
At Florida Lawyers 360, you will get personal attention from an experienced Palm Bay workers comp lawyer, who knows how to handle such cases.
We suggest you schedule a free case review with us as soon as possible after your workplace accident to get started with your claim. Call 954-448-7355 today!