Many people don’t realize they have a valid claim right away, so they may delay filing a claim.
You may be asking, How long do you have to file a workers’ compensation claim in Florida?
In most cases, injured Florida employees have two years from the date of a work-related accident to file a petition for benefits, but there are some exceptions.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about deadlines when filing a workers’ comp claim in Florida.
What Is Workers’ Compensation in Florida?
Most businesses with four or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Exceptions exist for certain industries and business entity types. Employers obtain workers’ compensation policies from private insurance companies or opt to file for certification from the state to self-insure.
The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) handles all claims.
Benefits provided depend on the severity of the injury or illness, but they may include compensation for:
- Temporary disability,
- Partial impairment,
- Permanent total disability,
- Medical treatment,
- Vocational rehabilitation, and
- Death benefits.
Worker’s compensation is a “no-fault” system, which means that your employer does not have to act carelessly for you to receive benefits.
Reporting the Injury to Your Employer
Before you can consider answering the question about how long you have to file a workers’ compensation claim in Florida, you need to make a timely report to your employer. Inform your employer within 30 days of the incident that caused the injury.
Give your employer as many details as possible, including:
- When and where the accident occurred,
- All relevant information explaining how the injury occurred, and
- What injury or illness symptoms you are experiencing.
Not all injuries happen instantly. If you have an injury or illness that has progressed over time, you have 30 days to report it to your employer from the time you found out that the illness or injury was caused by work.
Injuries that occur over time are referred to as repetitive stress injuries. These can include injuries like back problems or carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Happens After the Injury Is Reported
Usually, the chosen doctor falls under the workers’ comp provider’s list. Provide accurate and detailed information to the doctor so they can make an appropriate medical assessment and offer suitable treatment.
Once the employer has been notified of your claim, the claim needs to be filed with the insurance company within seven days. You have the right to contact the insurance company directly if your employer fails to do so.
The insurance company will then conduct an investigation to determine the validity and value of your Florida workers’ compensation claim.
Deadlines to Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Florida
According to Florida law, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims in Florida extends two years from the date of the injury or knowledge of the injury. If you do not file within this time period, you will likely be barred from bringing a claim.
If you file a claim and it is denied, you have the option to appeal by filing a petition for benefits. You need to do this within two years of the injury or within one year after your last wage or medical payment.
In considering how long you have to file a workers’ compensation claim in Florida, understand that the two-year limitation can be extended whenever you receive a medical benefit, which is why it is important to keep up on your physician visits.
Should You Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Workers’ compensation claims may seem pretty straightforward, but in practice, they can be very complicated, especially if your employer is uncooperative or your claim is denied. Having a pre-existing condition does not bar you from compensation but may require legal assistance.
It is important to understand the value of your Florida workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance. You do not have to accept the first settlement offer for workers’ compensation.
An experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand the value of your claim, negotiate on your behalf, and fight for what you deserve.
The attorneys at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon understand the intricacies of Florida workers’ compensation law. The firm has been serving clients in Pensacola and surrounding areas for over 100 years.
We believe that complicated cases require creative solutions, and we have the knowledge and resources to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule your consultation.