Protecting Accident Victims Since 1983

Since every state has its own group of laws, it’s easy to get
confused about how to apply for workers compensation. Each workers comp law,
however, contains a basic form of important
routine steps:

1. Report Your Injury to Your Employer

Make sure to alert your employer immediately after your injury,
in writing or orally. Check to see if your employer has special procedures and
deadlines for reporting your injuries.

You must report your injury no later than 30 days after you are
aware of your job-related injury.

2. Seek Medical Treatment as Soon as Possible

Schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as you can
after your injury. Ask your doctor to include any details they think are
necessary so you can prove your workplace accident is directly responsible for
your injury.

3. Receive Materials from Employer’s Workers Comp Insurance
Carrier

Once you’ve notified your employer of your injury, they will
send you a copy of their First Report of Illness or Injury which they also file
with their insurance carrier.

If are eligible to receive benefits, you will start receiving
repayment within 21 days after your reported injury. These repayment checks
will be sent to you every two weeks.

4. Contact a Workers Comp Attorney

If your direct efforts to resolve your dispute fail, the next
step is to formally file a workers comp petition. You will need to hire a
workers comp attorney to help you navigate this legal process. These
professionals are also sometimes called an accident lawyer or personal injury
attorney.

A workers comp attorney represents injured victims who need help
proving their injuries
occurred on the job. Workers comp lawyers help victims negotiate
with their employer’s insurance providers. They can also help guide their clients
on how to file a workers comp claim.

5. File Your Formal Workers Compensation Claim

You have thirty (30) days from your accident or thirty (30) days
from your doctor’s diagnosis that you are suffering from a work-related injury
to notify your employer you plan to seek workers compensation.

Some employers may give you the official claim forms you need to
submit your claim. Other employers may file your claim with their insurer for
you. Once you have the necessary forms, be sure to list the following details
on your workers comp claim forms:

Types
of injury and the damaged areas of your body
Day,
time, and address where your injury took place
Any
other witnesses involved in the injury
How
the accident happened and
All
medical treatments received to date.

Once your claim is reviewed, an insurance representative will
notify you to tell you if your claim has been approved and for what amount.

6. Worker’s’ Comp Claim Review

Your employer has seven (7) days from the time you notify them
of your injury to contact their insurance provider. If your employer doesn’t
report your injury, you can notify their insurance company yourself. The
insurance carrier will then decide if you are eligible to receive benefits.

The carrier’s review of your claim may include:

Assessing
your medical records
Researching
your work experience, education, and wages
Requesting
a medical examination with their appointed physician to evaluate your
condition, and
Requesting
you to perform a functional capacity evaluation that tests your abilities
to perform your expected job duties).

Florida law requires insurance carriers to quickly approve or
deny a workers compensation benefit request. If your request is approved, you
begin to receive your disability payments or other benefits.

If you do file a claim with OJCC, be sure to mail a copy of your
claim through certified mail to your employer and their workers compensation
carrier.

7. Prepare for Mediation and/or Court Hearing

Within 130 days after your petition filing date, you may be
asked to participate in mediation. If you don’t reach a settlement during
the mediation process, your claim will be scheduled for a pre-trial hearing. A
Judge of Compensation Claim will review your claim.

The judge issues their decision no later than thirty days after
your final hearing. If you aren’t satisfied with the judge’s ruling, you appeal
that decision to the First District Court of Appeals.

8. Re-Opening Workers Compensation Claims

Workers can also reopen a closed workers compensation claim after
it has been closed. Victims may want to reopen their claim if they start to
suffer delayed onset injuries.

Delayed-onset
injuries won’t show visible symptoms right away. They might take
quite a while to manifest into real pain. Headaches and whiplash are two common
examples of a delayed-onset injury.

Re-opening a claim will depend on the type of settlement you and
your employer negotiated before the onset injuries began. If you agreed to a
“compromise and release” agreement, your case can’t be reopened. If you agreed
to a “stipulation and award,” your case can be reopened if certain
circumstances exist such as errors or miscalculations within the original
agreement.

Next Steps

Give us a call for more helpful information on the top
reasons a workers comp attorney is your best first move. You can speak
with us for free. Call 904 LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.

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