When you are injured at work, you face many unknowns. Who will pay your medical bills? Who will pay your household bills if you can’t work? Will your boss fire you? In most cases, Florida’s workers’ compensation laws protect you from these concerns. But what do you do if your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim?
Understanding what the law covers
Any Florida employer with more than four employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover:
- An injured worker’s medical costs and disability payments
- Some of the injured workers’ missed wages
- Death benefits if a worker is killed on the job
- The company’s legal expenses if sued by an injured employee
This coverage protects most employers from personal injury lawsuits by employees.
Filing your claim and visiting the doctor
Following the law is your best path to defending your claim. You must first file a claim with your employer in order for them to either cover it or deny it. Under Florida law, you have a limited amount of time to file and it is usually under 30 days. Your best bet is to file as soon as possible.
Your company’s insurance carrier will require you to visit one of their approved doctors. Those doctors are looking out for the insurance company, not you. If you do not agree with the doctor’s opinion, you should consult with your workers’ comp attorney about your options. Do not stop the treatment plan your doctor suggests and keep all appointments.
Once you have filed your claim and attended a medical examination, the insurance company will try to find a way to deny your claim or offer as little coverage as possible to save money.
Petitioning the Division of Administrative Hearings
Don’t give up hope. You have options. An attorney can help you petition the Division of Administrative Hearings. At your hearing, you can argue that you should receive benefits and provide evidence to support your claim. Even if the hearing judge still denies your claim, you can appeal to the 1st District Court of Appeals.
No matter what your employer claims, you know that your workplace injury caused your medical problems. Don’t give up on fighting for the benefits that you deserve.