Following proper procedure when filing a Florida workers' compensation claim is essential.
The following will provide a basic guideline for pursuing a workers' compensation claim in Florida. As stated above, the workers' compensation laws are complicated and failure to follow proper procedure could be detrimental to pursuing a claim.
First, and most obvious, is that there must be an injury on the job. In other words, an injury must occur while performing job duties. This does not mean that you have to be on the employer's premises in order to claim workers' compensation. Many employees' job duties require them to work off-site or travel (delivery personnel, construction, etc.) As long as the injury occurs while performing job duties, then a claim for workers' compensation benefits could be made.
Second, and very important, is that notice of the injury must be reported to the employer within 30 days of the injury. Notice can be provided to anyone in a "supervisory" capacity, typically reporting to a co-worker will not suffice unless the co-worker is a supervisor. Notice can be in writing or verbally, either is sufficient. However, written notice eliminates an employer's ability to have "selective memory loss" regarding a verbal report of injury. It is important to note that the 30 day notice requirement is Florida law. I am often amused when I hear from an injured worker that the employer denies workers' compensation benefits because the injury was not reported within 24 hours as required by company policy. These policies are based on ignorance rather than legal precedence. Under no circumstances can an employer's internal policies override a state law.
Request medical care from the employer. If the employer will not provide information on where to go for medical treatment, an injured worker can contact the workers' compensation insurance company directly and request care. The insurance information should be prominently displayed on a poster at the employer (usually a break room or human resource office). If you can get no information from the employer regarding insurance information, then contacting an attorney may be necessary.
INJURY, NOTICE AND MEDICAL CARE. These are the basics for initiating a workers' compensation claim in Florida. Although these basics may seem easy enough, it is rarely that easy. If you or someone you know has been injured on the job and would like a free consultation, contact Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. at 1-800-556-8890. You may also request a free copy of my book, "It's Not Rocket Science, It's Workers' Comp".