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If you are considered an “employee” as opposed to an “independent contractor,” you should have access to Florida’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage through your employer if you get hurt or sick on the job. Importantly, though, the fact that you have workers’ comp coverage does not mean you will automatically get workers’ comp benefits after a work-related accident.

You will need to do several things after your accident to get your workers’ comp claim started and keep it on track after that. Neglecting to do even one of them can seriously jeopardize your chances of getting the benefits you need. Here is a broad overview of how to apply for workers’ compensation in Pensacola, each part of which a seasoned workers’ comp attorney from Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon can go into more detail about as needed.

What to Do Immediately After a Workplace Accident

The first step to applying for workers’ comp in Pensacola or anywhere else in Florida is notifying your employer of your injury or illness. This should ideally be done in writing but can be done verbally instead. From the moment you first sustain an injury or become ill from work-related conditions, you have 30 days to provide notice to your employer. Your employer should then give you a “First Report of Injury or Illness” form, which you should fill out and return to them as soon as possible.

In the same period of time, you should also:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible for your injury or illness
  • Continue attending scheduled doctors’ appointments
  • Follow all instructions for further treatment and recovery that your doctor(s) provides you

While you can and should seek care at any emergency room if you have suffered a life-threatening injury, you will generally need to seek treatment for any non-life-threatening injury from a provider who has been approved by your employer’s workers’ comp insurance provider.

Filing a Workers’ Comp Petition

In theory, once you have told your employer about a work-related injury and completed your portion of the “First Report of Injury or Illness” form, your employer should:

  • Send the form to their insurance provider within seven days of receiving it from you
  • Handle every other part of the Pensacola workers’ comp application process for you from there

In practice, though, it is common for employers and their insurance providers to dispute whether an injured worker has valid grounds to seek workers’ comp benefits.

If you cannot resolve such a dispute privately with your employer, you have two years from the date of your initial injury or diagnosis to file a workers’ comp petition with the Clerk’s Office of the Florida Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied at this stage or any other, you may have additional options for appealing that ruling, which our team of legal professionals can help you take advantage of.

A Pensacola Attorney Can Answer Questions About How to Apply for Workers’ Compensation

Knowing how to apply for workers’ compensation in Pensacola is just one step of many toward getting the benefits you need and deserve. Unfortunately, plenty of legal and procedural roadblocks might keep you from getting paid what you need unless you are prepared to counter them. Effective preparation starts with consulting a skilled legal representative.

You have help available with every step of the claims process from the dependable attorneys at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon. Call today to discuss your options.