If you have suffered a job-related injury or illness that requires medical treatment, you will want to determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation. Most employers in Florida are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance, and the law prohibits employers from taking adverse employment action against employees who assert their right to workers’ compensation coverage.
If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, then your next step is to file a claim. While this is something you can do on your own if you choose to do so, it is strongly in your best interests to hire an experienced lawyer to guide you through the process and deal with your employer’s insurance company on your behalf.
7 Steps Involved in Securing Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Florida
Regardless of whether you try to handle your workers’ compensation claim independently or you hire a lawyer to help you, these are the basic steps involved in the process:
1. Report Your Injury or Illness to Your Employer
First, you must report your injury or illness to your employer. Under Florida law, you only have 30 days to do this in order to preserve your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
2. Seek Medical Treatment from an Approved Doctor
Once you report your injury or illness, you will need to seek treatment as soon as possible. However, Florida law also requires you to see a doctor who has been pre-approved by your employer.
3. Determine What Benefits You are Entitled to Receive
Once you have begun receiving treatment, the next step is to begin calculating the value of your claim. While your medical expenses should be covered until you reach maximum medical improvement, you will need to calculate the amount you are entitled to receive for your wage replacement (or “disability”) benefits.
4. Start Collecting Medical and Disability Benefits
If you file your claim appropriately and you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you should start receiving benefits within a few weeks. If you do not, you will need to take additional steps in order to assert your legal rights.
5. Negotiate a Workers’ Compensation Settlement
In many cases, it will make sense to negotiate a workers’ compensation settlement. Before settling, however, you need to be certain that the settlement amount is fair in light of the circumstances at hand.
6. Continue with Your Medical Treatment and Resume Work When (and If) Appropriate
As time goes on, you will need to continue with your medical treatment, and you will need to return to work when (and only when) it is safe to do so. If you do not, you could lose your workers’ compensation eligibility.
7. File a Petition with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims if Necessary
Finally, if your employer’s insurance company denies your claim or prematurely terminates your workers’ compensation benefits, you may need to file a petition with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims. At this stage, it will be especially important to rely on the advice and representation of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Joseph Maus
Were you injured on the job in Florida? To get the help you need to recover the benefits you deserve, schedule a free and confidential consultation with Florida workers’ compensation lawyer Joseph Maus today. Call 855-999-5297 or contact Maus Law Firm online now.