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Kevin A. Moore explains the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim

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When employees have been injured on the job they often turn to workers’ compensation as a way to help their financial  situation while they cannot work full-time. The process of applying for and managing workers’ compensation benefits can be complex and requires expert legal help. The Law Firm of Kevin A. Moore helps Florida employees with their workers’ compensation claims.  The following information will help  anyone injured on the job to understand their options in a Florida Workers Compensation Claim .

One question that injured workers frequently ask is about the time period in which they must notify their employer about their injury and apply for workers’ compensation benefits. They also want to know to whom they should report their claim.
Florida workers must inform their employers as soon as possible about their injury, however the law requires an injured worker to notify their employer of the injury within 30 days of when they knew or  should have known of the injury. In many instances this 30 day time limitation may be extended beyond the 30 day time limitation. Attorney Kevin A. Moore will be able to assess the specific facts and circumstance in your case to help you. 30 days

When reporting an injury to the employer, workers must consult with their employer about which doctor they can see as the doctor must be authorized by the workers’ compensation insurance company or the employer. Treating outside of the workers compensation system may result in unpaid medical bills for the injured worker. The employer may have the injured worker call the workers’ compensation insurance company after the employer has notified the carrier of the injury. The names and phone numbers of the insurance company should be posted in an easily accessible location in the workplace, such as a breakroom according to Florida law. If you do call the insurance company without having Attorney Kevin A Moore present on that call make sure that you do not give a recorded statement.

The employer is bound by law to report workers’ injuries to their workers’ compensation insurance company within 7 days of the employee’s report. If they do not remit the injury report to the insurance company or if they do not have a number for the insurance company, Florida workers can call a hotline for assistance at 1-800-342-1741.

Within 3-5 business days of the initial report, the worker should receive a brochure explaining their rights under the law. The packet should also include a copy of the “First Report of Injury or Illness,” or the accident report. Workers should carefully examine this report for any inaccuracies and notify their employer and the insurance company of these changes.

Workers also need to read, sign, and return a fraud statement to the insurance company as soon as possible. Workers’ compensation benefits may be withheld until this form is submitted. Although the insurance company may request a recorded statement from the injured worker, we highly discourage allowing this questioning without retaining a qualified and experienced workers compensation attorney.

The mailing from the insurance company will also include a release form for the worker’s medical records. Do not sign and return any releases without an attorney reviewing the documents to ensure you are not releasing information that the insurance company is not entitled. Finally, the packet will include reimbursement forms for the mileage incurred during treatment for the workers’ compensation injury. These forms should be maintained with all the mileage the injured worker incurs while going to and from any medical appointments including doctors, physical therapists, diagnostic imaging and hospitals.

Statute of Limitations

The final statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims under Florida law is two years. (FLA. STAT. § 440.19 (1) and (2)) This means that if a worker or their physician did not realize that an injury was due to workplace conditions, they can still file a claim up to 2 years after the date in question. It is generally much easier to file a claim if the general 30-day deadline is adhered to, but the law allows for up to 2 years as a statute of limitations. This time limitations may be extended if the injured worker is receiving lost wages or medical care for their injuries.

The Basics of Filing a Claim

The employee should keep detailed records of their injury starting as soon as possible after it occurs. Having a documented “paper trail” can help them overcome problems during the workers’ compensation process. The initial injury or illness must be reported to the employer as soon as possible. The employer must then report the claim to their workers’ compensation insurance company. Optionally, the employee may report the claim to the insurance company themselves.

The employee should take notes when they visit the doctor provided for them by their employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company. They should be detailed and include the particulars of the injury and its effects on their daily life.

The employee should also keep records of exactly when they received all of their payments. If payments are delayed past a 7 day period after the employee’s normal biweekly pay period, they may be eligible for a 20% penalty plus interest paid by the workers’ compensation insurance company.

Workers’ compensation law firms, including The Law Firm of Kevin A. Moore, are experienced in handling all issues regarding workers’ compensation in the state of Florida. They can help an injured worker receive the proper compensation for medical care and lost wages. When an employee cannot handle the process of workers’ compensation claims on their own or are hindered in their attempts to do so, it is recommended that they consult a qualified attorney.

The main points to keep in mind are that a claim should be filed within 30 days of the initial illness or injury, though there is a statute of limitations of 2 years.

Workers should be sure that they are keeping adequate, detailed records of their injury and all communications with their employer and with the insurance company. If the employer or insurance company does not fulfill its obligations to the injured worker, a qualified workers’ compensation attorney should be able to help.

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