If you are one of the 2.8 million workers injured on the job every year in the U.S., being unable to work is a stressful situation, especially as bills pile up while you wait for the insurance company to make a decision about your case. So how long should it take for you to hear back from the insurance company, and what happens if your claim is delayed or denied? Our Clearwater workers’ compensation attorneys explain the steps in the process of filing a worker’s claim, checking the status of the claim, and what to do if you need help along the way.
What Is the Process of Filing a Worker’s Comp Claim in Florida?
The first step to initiate a worker’s compensation claim in Florida is to notify your employer, preferably in writing. This needs to be done not more than 30 days after the accident. Your employer will then be expected to file an injury report with the insurance company within 7 days of being notified about your accident.
Next, the insurance company will evaluate your case and provide an answer within 14 days. They can either initiate benefits, send the worker a denial letter, or delay making a final decision for not more than 120 days, during which the worker must be notified and must be paid benefits during the investigation period.
How Soon Will I Receive Medical and Wage Payments After Filing My Claim?
In most cases, if your claim was accepted, you can expect to begin receiving wage benefits within a few weeks. In cases that require immediate medical attention or hospitalization, the employer can request that the insurance company allow for payment of emergency room visits or emergency treatment with a professional outside their network.
In many cases, workers should be prepared to pay out of pocket for these initial expenses which may later be reimbursed by the worker’s comp insurance.
Where Can I Check the Status of My Florida Worker’s Comp Claim?
Filing a Florida worker’s compensation claim is a process that requires multiple steps. While you might want to return to work as soon as possible, patience is essential to not only secure the benefits you deserve but also to make sure your injury will not become more serious and cause even more problems down the road.
If you are anxious to find out about the status of your ongoing claim, it is best to contact the insurance company directly, as your employer does not take part in the process of a claim and will likely not be able to give you any information. It is important to remember to be careful about what you say anytime you are interacting with your employer and with the insurance company, as they may be constantly looking for a reason to reduce the amount of benefits you are paid.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Worker’s Compensation Claim?
You do not need an attorney to file a worker’s compensation claim in Florida, but there are many reasons why you may consider hiring one. First, while the insurance company may seem like they are on your side, they are a business and as such are more inclined to protect their bottom line rather than giving out large amounts in benefit payments. Anytime they can find a reason to deny or reduce your benefits, they will try to do so. Having a seasoned worker’s compensation attorney on your side can help maximize your chances of receiving maximum benefits with fewer hassles and delays.
The worker’s compensation legal team at the Carson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett Clearwater office have handled countless worker’s compensation cases and are ready to sit down with you and discuss your case at no cost when you schedule a free case evaluation. Contact us to see how we can help.