Getting Injured at Work: The First Steps into the Maze
While Florida's workers' compensation laws may be designed to get you the help you need, rarely does it ever go smoothly.
Even from the onset, I can't tell you the number of times where a client had said to me that when they got injured on the job, their attempt to report that injury to a supervisor fell on deaf ears.
Some bosses will say, "Just ice it. It will get better." Others walk away and ignore the situation altogether.
As you only have 30 days to report an injury to your boss, what can you do if your boss wants nothing to do with your problem?
Here are some tips:
First, document that you informed your boss by either sending him a text or an email that you got injured and are seeking treatment. While he may try to claim you never verbally informed him, he can't disprove a sent text or an email.
Second, report the injury yourself. If your boss doesn't want to call in your injury to the workers' compensation carrier, you can do it yourself. Look for the poster somewhere on the premises (usually a break room) that tells you what number to call to report an injury.
"Where do I go for treatment?" This is usually the next question the injured worker should ask. Most employers will direct you to either go to the emergency room or a specific urgent care facility.
If you go to the emergency room, more than likely, you're going to get the bill sent to you in the mail, but the good news is you won't have to pay it. The worker's compensation insurance will ultimately have to be responsible for it.
If you are sent to urgent care, that facility becomes your primary care physician (PCP) for the injury, meaning they will be deciding what diagnostic tests you need, being sent for therapy, and will your care be transferred to a specialist.
Under Florida's worker's compensation laws, your job has the right to tell you where you can treat, but If your boss (or their insurance company) refuses to send you to a doctor, you have the right to seek treatment on your own, and ultimately, they will have to pay those bills.
Many injured workers run into a brick wall after they have been referred to a specialist by their PCP but can't get in contact with their adjuster - the individual at the insurance company assigned to your case who makes the decisions about if you will get paid and what doctors you will see.
Now, more than ever, adjusters seem to be almost impossible to reach by phone.
This is why it's best to let me represent you.
I file written requests called a Petition for Benefits that must be responded to within 30 days. If they don't respond, I can subpoena the adjuster for deposition and make her state on the record why she ignored your claim.
Furthermore, this places the issue before the judge if they refuse to give us what we are asking them for.
The worker's compensation system is a very frustrating process where it is a constant struggle to get things you need from the adjuster assigned to your case.
So why go it alone?
With main offices in Coral Springs and North Miami Beach and satellite offices in Naples and Ft. Myers, I have been helping injured workers all over the state of Florida for more than 30 years.
Call me today and let me help you get all the benefits you are entitled to.