However, what if things don’t go according to plan? Thousands of Florida workers find themselves injured at work each year, with 332 succumbing to fatal injuries during the year 2018. Getting hurt at work is not something that you plan for, but it’s an unfortunate reality that happens throughout the state each and every day.
In an ideal world, when a person is injured at work, their employer and their insurance provider will stand by them in getting the compensation they deserve. Unfortunately, however, that is not always the case. If your employer contests your right to workers' compensation or refuses to pay your benefits, you will then need to file a petition for worker’s compensation benefits yourself, which is allowed under Florida law.
The process to file a workers’ compensation claim involve the following steps:
• Report your injury to your employer – Your first step should be letting your employer know about your injury. This has to be done within 30 days or your case could be barred, and the report should be made as soon as possible after the injury has occurred. Reports can be made orally, but doing so in writing is always preferred.
• Try to settle any disputes – Before filing your petition for workers’ compensation benefits, a good faith effort must be made. This allows you to settle any disputes regarding the workers’ compensation benefits claim with your employer before filing a claim yourself.
• Contact your attorney – If you cannot resolve the dispute with your employer or their insurance carrier, it’s time to contact your workers’ compensation lawyer in Florida. Your lawyer in Southwest Florida will ensure that you’re filing your claim correctly and that you’re positioning yourself for your best chance at compensation.
• Fill, file, and serve – Once you have your petition in hand, fill it out with the help of your workers’ compensation attorney. It requires all the information about your accident, a list of all damages, and your and your employer’s contact information. After filling out the petition, it will be filed with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims clerk. Your attorney will likely file your petition using their online electric filing system.
• Attend the mediation and hearing – After your filing, you’ll likely be ordered to undergo the mediation process to agree upon the benefits for your workers’ compensation claim. This mediation is between you, your employer, and their workers’ compensation carrier, and it will typically end when an agreement is reached. If it does not result in an agreement, it will go to a hearing before a judge of compensation claims.
• Appeals – In some cases, a worker may not be satisfied with the settling of a workers’ compensation claim, and in those instances, they may choose to file an appeal. This appeal must be filed within 30 days of the decision with the First District Court of Appeals.
Navigating the workers’ compensation claims process can be difficult for those who have never experienced an injury at work before. Our skilled and experienced Southwest Florida attorneys are here to help you through the ordeal from start to finish. If you’ve been in an accident at work, contact us at All Injuries Law Firm, P.A. today.