10 Things to Know About Florida Workers’ Comp
Here’s the top 10 facts you need to know about Florida Worker’s Compensation (WC):
- Every employer is required to post information in a visible place (for example a breakroom) about an injured worker’s rights to compensation, as well as the name of the insurance company who must provide benefits.
- Upon being injured, employees must inform their employer about any work related injuries as soon as they occur.
- Your employer is obligated to report your claim to their insurance company and that company may have to provide compensation for both wages and medical expenses, or they may choose to deny the claim.
- If your claim is denied, you have the right to file a Petition for Benefits.
- Once a Petition for Benefits is filed, Florida law requires a mediation be held. A mediation is a negotiation/meeting facilitated by a neutral third party between you/your attorney and the employer’s insurance company/their attorney.
- You should have an attorney before the mediation is set and it is recommended to find an attorney at the time of your injury.
- The employer’s insurance company will likely request medical exams with doctors of their choice (at no cost to you), but keep in mind this is not for your benefit, this is to build their case by having medical evidence to show how your work injury is improving. Again, legal counsel is recommended throughout this process.
- If the issues are not resolved at mediation or the claim is not settled, the Florida WC statute requires that a court hearing be scheduled with a Judge of Compensation Claims.
- Appeals from the Judge of Compensation Claims are taken to the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.
- If issues are not resolved there, claims end up at the Supreme Court of the State of Florida, but this is unusual.
Keep in mind that while Florida Workers’ compensation eligibility criteria and law is seemingly clear, employers and insurance companies are very strict on your eligibility so the process for obtaining workers’ compensation benefits in Florida can get complicated. AyudaCon.com recommends speaking with an attorney at the time of your injury because let’s be honest…the insurance carriers for your employer do NOT want to pay much (if at all) money to you for your injuries. With a good attorney, you have someone to handle the various appointments, the phone calls, and prepare you for mediations, hearings, even the doctor’s appointments. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation and/or will not charge you any fees until your case is won, at which time they take a percentage that would have been disclosed beforehand. That being said, ALWAYS try to research an attorney before you agree to have them represent you in your case. Reach out to your community or research online. Most attorneys have websites or you can check out sites like, www.Avvo.com or www.yelp.com . Just know that with these types of review sites an attorney can pay to be placed at the top of the list or they provide free services to the website, which can boost their score on their review profile, which is what you see.
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