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Workers' Compensation FAQs

If you are an employee in Florida, you are entitled to certain worker's compensation rights under the law. It is important for any Florida worker to be familiar with the state's worker's compensation laws. However, for a Florida worker who has recently been injured on the job, such knowledge becomes crucial. Did you know, for example, that there is a statute of limitations for filing worker's compensation claims in the state of Florida? Read on to learn more about this and other commonly asked worker's compensation questions.

1. Statute of Limitations. When you are injured at work, or when you first become of aware of a qualifying worker's compensation injury or illness, you have 30 days to report your injury or illness to your employer. A failure to report your work-related illness or injury within this 30 day period may jeopardize your Florida worker's compensation claim. Once you have reported your illness or injury to your employer, you have two years to file your worker's compensation claim. If you fail to report your illness or injury to your employer in a timely fashion, this may be used as a defense against that claim even if you file within the two year statute of limitations. If your employer attempts to discourage you from reporting your illness or injury within the 30 day specified period, that's probably a red flag and you should seek legal advice immediately.

2. Medical Benefits. The moment your employer's worker's compensation insurance company determines that your claim is one that is covered under Florida law, they are legally obligated to provide you with a certain standard of medical care. The insurance company must provide an authorized physician to evaluate your condition. You are also entitled to a one-time physician swap. So if you don't like the first doctor you're sent to, just notify the insurance company in writing and they will send you to a new doctor within five days of receipt of this written request. Your employer's insurance company is also required to pay for all medically necessary care and treatment related to your illness or injury. Authorized treatment and care includes doctor visits, hospitalization, prostheses, physical therapy, medical tests, prescription drugs, and travel expenses to and from an authorized medical treatment or a pharmacy.

3. Denial of Benefits. If your employer's insurance carrier does not provide the benefits to which you believe you are entitled, you can always contact the Employee Assistance Office. Of course, the EAO can't provide you with legal advice, and in true bureaucratic fashion you can probably expect a lengthy hold time if you contact them by phone, and you may be transferred from one person to another like a communicable disease. Rather than going through the hassle of attempting to interface with the EAO, it's probably a better idea to seek legal advice the moment you feel that your claim is not being adequately addressed by the insurance company. Although the EAO may be able to advise you of your rights and responsibilities under Florida law, they can't provide you with legal advice and they may not guide you toward the resolution that's best for you.

Of course, worker's compensation issues in Florida are a lot more complicated than this simple overview implies. If you have been injured on the job, or if you are suffering from an illness that can be directly related to sick building syndrome or other issues related to your employment, don't try to go it alone. All Injuries Law Firm, serving Port Charlotte and all of southwest Florida, can help you determine the best course of action as you navigate your worker's compensation claim. Call 941-625-HURT to schedule a free consultation.