Worker’s Compensation FAQs

HOW LONG AFTER AN ACCIDENT DO I HAVE TO REPORT IT TO MY EMPLOYER?

You should report it as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days or your claim may be denied. For this reason, it is very important that you reach out to our office for assistance.

WHEN SHOULD MY EMPLOYER REPORT THE INJURY TO THEIR INSURANCE COMPANY?

Your employer should report the injury as soon as possible, but no later than seven (7) days after their knowledge. The insurance company must send you an informational brochure within three (3) days after receiving notice from your employer. The brochure will explain your rights and responsibilities, as well as provide additional information about the workers’ compensation law. Have you received your brochure yet? Do you need one of our attorneys to go through the brochure with you and help you understand your rights? We are happy to meet you for a free consultation. Let us focus on your legal obligations so you focus on getting healthy.

MY EMPLOYER WILL NOT REPORT MY INJURY TO THE INSURANCE COMPANY. WHAT CAN I DO?

You have the right to report the injury to their insurance company directly. We can help with this and make sure you get heard and the benefits you are entitled to under the law.

WHAT KIND OF MEDICAL TREATMENT CAN I GET?

The medical provider, authorized by your employer or the insurance company, will provide the necessary medical care, treatment and prescriptions related to your injury. Come meet with our attorneys so we can review the recommendations of your physicians and confirm that you are receiving all the medical treatment for which you are entitled under the law.

DO I HAVE TO PAY ANY OF MY MEDICAL BILLS?

No, all authorized medical bills should be submitted by the medical provider to your employer’s insurance company for payment. Our legal staff will make sure all invoices for medical services are provided appropriately to the necessary parties and advocate on your behalf to obtain full payment of the medical bills as required under the law.

WILL I BE PAID IF I LOSE TIME FROM WORK?

Under Florida law, you are not paid for the first seven days of disability. However, if you lose time because your disability extends to over 21 days, you may be paid for the first seven days by the insurance company. Our attorneys will request the necessary information from your employer and concurrent employers to make sure your average weekly wage is calculated correctly and that you are paid for the missed work time periods allowed under the law. In most cases, your benefit check, which is paid bi-weekly, will be 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage. If you were injured before October 1, 2003, this amount is calculated by using wages earned during the 91-day period immediately preceding the date of your injury, not to exceed the state limit. If you worked less than 90% of the 91 day period, the wages of a similar employee in the same employment who has worked the whole of the 91-day period or your full-time weekly wage may be used. If you were injured on or after October 1, 2003, your average weekly wage is calculated using wages earned 13 weeks prior to your injury, not counting the week in which you were injured. In addition, if you worked less than 75% of the 13 week period, a similar employee in the same employment who has worked 75% of the 13-week period or your full time weekly wage shall be used. These calculations can be cumbersome, allow our legal staff to work through the numbers while you work on getting healthy.

WHEN WILL I GET MY FIRST CHECK?

You should receive the first check within 21 days after reporting your injury to your employer. IF you have not received a check within this time period, please contact our office so we can work with you on whether a check was to be received or not.

CAN I RECEIVE SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS AT THE SAME TIME?

Yes. However an offset, or reduction in your workers’ compensation check may be applied because the law states that the two combined may not exceed 80 percent of your average weekly wage earned prior to your injury. For further information on Social Security, you may contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov .

CAN I RECEIVE REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS AT THE SAME TIME?

No, not if you are receiving temporary total or permanent total disability benefits as you must be medically able and available for work to qualify for unemployment. For additional information on Reemployment Assistance, you may want to utilize the Reemployment Assistance website at: www.floridajobs.org.

IF I AM UNABLE TO RETURN TO WORK UNTIL MY DOCTOR RELEASES ME, DOES MY EMPLOYER HAVE TO HOLD MY JOB FOR ME?

No, there is no provision in the law that requires your employer to hold the job open for you. It is against the law, however, for your employer to fire you because you have filed or attempted to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you have been fired, please call our office at once so we can review your workers’ compensation claims for potential damages owed to you.

IF I AM UNABLE TO RETURN TO THE TYPE OF WORK I DID BEFORE I WAS INJURED, WHAT CAN I DO?

If eligible, the law provides, at no cost to you, reemployment services to help you return to work. Services may include vocational counseling, transferable skills analysis, job-seeking skills, job placement, on-the-job training, and formal retraining.

MY EMPLOYER AND THE INSURANCE COMPANY HAVE DENIED MY CLAIM FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS. DO I NEED LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO GET MY BENEFITS? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

It is your decision whether or not to hire an attorney. However, our legal team can further assist you in completing and filing a Petition for Benefits to bring your dispute before a Judge of Compensation Claims. This service is provided at no cost to you.

IS THERE A PERIOD OF TIME AFTER WHICH MY CLAIM IS NO LONGER OPEN?

If you were injured on or after January 1, 1994, the claim is closed one (1) year from the date of your last medical treatment or payment of compensation. This period of time is referred to as the Statute of Limitations. If you were injured before January 1, 1994, the period is two (2) years.

CAN I GET A SETTLEMENT FROM MY CLAIM?

Settlements may be made under certain circumstances and are voluntary; not automatic or mandatory. If a client seeks settlement, our legal team will rely upon its experience in the field of workers’ compensation and knowledge of the law to help negotiate that settlement at a mediation with the insurance carrier.

WHAT CAN I DO WHEN IT IS DIFFICULT TO GET A PRESCRIPTION FILLED OR I AM HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THE PHARMACY WHERE I GET MY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION MEDICATION?

In Florida, an injured worker has the right to select a pharmacy or pharmacist. Florida law prohibits interference with your right to choose a pharmacy or pharmacist. However, a pharmacy is not required to participate in the workers’ compensation program. If at any time, you become dissatisfied with your pharmacy or pharmacist’s services, you can seek another pharmacy to fill your prescriptions. Our legal team can assist you in this selection process if you are having difficulty.

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