If you are involved in a work accident and suffer an injury, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities. After an accident, you should contact a workers compensation attorney to make sure that you do not say or do anything that could compromise your rights under the workers’ compensation statute. However, there are a few things important to know about at the onset of your workers’ compensation claim.
Notify your employer. While many employers have a requirement that employees report accidents within 24 hours, state law requires an employee to report an injury within 30 days after the date of accident or initial manifestation of the injury (Section 440.185 Fla. Statute). Keep in mind that if you violate your employer’s reporting policy it may result in your termination and/or eligibility for lost wages. However, your right to medical benefits via workers’ compensation would remain if you comply with the notice requirement of 30 days.
Make sure to report prior injuries or treatment. When evaluated by a medical provider, whether at the emergency room, walk-in clinic or specialist, the physician will have you complete a medical history form or ask you about past injuries/conditions. If you fail to disclose a prior medical condition, the physician will question your truthfulness, the insurance company will likely deny future benefits based on an allegation of fraud pursuant to Section 440.105(5) Fla. Statute and refer your claim to the Division of Insurance Fraud. Take time to accurately report your medical history every single time you see a physician to avoid this.
Present your work restrictions to your employer. Often, your authorized doctor will limit work activities while you recover from your injuries. Make sure to provide a written copy of your restrictions to your employer each and every time. Do not presume that the doctor is sending your employer the restrictions. If you do not contact your employer, you could be terminated for no-show, no-call. This could impact your right to temporary lost wages pursuant to Section 440.15 Fla. Statute.
Most importantly, contact an experienced workers compensation attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights and benefits under the workers’ compensation law. Contact Brian Carter of Michles and Booth for a free consultation.