You may be tempted to think your worries are over once you've reported a work injury to your employer. After all, the Workers' Compensation Act exists for just this reason: to protect injured workers and allow them to heal without worrying about their medical costs.
Unfortunately, many unsavory employers and their insurance companies' representatives often do everything in their power to “manage” claims, from reducing the cost to the employer to denying rightful payment.
What Methods Might an Employer Use to Deny Fair Payment?
Employers may use a number of technicalities and underhanded methods in order to avoid fair payment, including:
- Delaying claims. Some insurers may attempt to deny claims in the hopes that a worker won't appeal and simply return to work; while others can delay payments to the point where an employee must continue working in order to support himself and his family.
- Threats. Employers may hint that employees who file for workers' compensation will lose their jobs or otherwise suffer retaliation, which is an illegal practice.
- Encouraging one-on-one settlements. An employer may offer a lump sum settlement to an employee in order to avoid a lawsuit. Employers typically lowball these settlements, paying less than the worker deserves in exchange for giving the employee fast money for medical bills and other costs. Employees who've been disabled, need surgery, or have continuing medical care should think twice before settling, as they won't be able to seek further payments once they've accepted a settlement.
- Misrepresenting reporting requirements. Workers’ compensation laws require employees to report an accident or injury that occurred on the job within 30 days. This deadline not only helps workers get faster compensation, but also actually cost employers less in the long run by treating an injury before it gets worse. However, some employers may tell workers that if the injury wasn’t reported within 30 days, the worker has lost his right to compensation—a lie that can save the company money.
- Limiting medical provider access. In addition to hiring private investigators to gather evidence against injured workers, employers and insurers may demand an injured worker attend a medical appointment with a doctor who is on their payrolls. These doctors can help their employers in a number of ways, from collecting evidence that helps an employer to pushing an injured worker to go back to work before recovery is complete.
Let Us Help You With Your Florida Workers' Compensation Claim
If you're having trouble filing for workers’ comp, we can help. Call or fill out the form on this page to speak to a Florida injury attorney in a free consultation.