Expert Questions & Answer About A Florida Work Injury

January 19, 2010

The following is an expert answer given by Florida work injury lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

I had an accident at my job where I badly hurt my ankle and foot. I did let a supervisor know about the accident but I told him I would be ok and that paperwork was not necessary. Well the next day my condition was worse. The pain was severe on my ankle and foot. So I told the supervisor that I need to fill out the paperwork. They sent me to their company doctor. Their doctor ordered me to stay home from work for two days and stay off my foot. This was written in black and white and I delivered the paperwork to my bosses. My pain was severe and I had to be laying down with my foot elevated to slow down the swelling. My supervisors said that I would have to immediately go on light duty right after my meeting with their doctor. Are they allowed to override the doctors orders? I declined because of the pain I was suffering. Can I lose my job for this? This was their doctor’s orders, not my doctor. I live in Florida. Thank you

Your answer raises many issues in Florida’s workers compensation system.  

When you have a Florida work injury from being injured on the job, presuming your employer has workers compensation insurance coverage, the employer is supposed to put their insurance carrier on notice of your injury and the claim is handled by the WC insurance company.  In some very large companies, a portion of the claim may be administered from within the company.  However, 9 times out of 10, the claim is handled by the WC insurance company or a Third Party Administrator hired by the insurance company.

It is the insurance company, or their Administrator, that makes the decisions regarding your medical care.  This includes choosing the doctor from whom you receive your initial medical care.  They will usually meet, or at least speak to your doctor after your appointment so that they know what type care the doctor is prescribing, and whether you can return to work. Your employer does not choose your doctor, and cannot override your doctor’s work restrictions or limitations.

I am unable to determine from your email who it is that chose this initial doctor.  Usually in a Florida work injury or worker’s comp claim, the initial medical care comes from a "walk-in" clinic.  However, if the doctor told you to stay home, you are supposed to stay home.  The employer exposes themselves to a more serious workers compensation claim, as well as OSHA violations, by forcing an injured worker back to work against his doctors orders.

The first thing you should do is verify that the employer has notified their WC insurance company.  The employer is required to fill out a "First Report of Injury", which is signed by you and the employer, then forwarded to the WC insurance company.  Once this happens, a WC adjustor takes over the management of your claim.  The WC adjustor will understand that a "no work" restriction means you stay home from work, even if the company wants you back right away.

If there is a WC insurance company involved, you should contact your adjustor to discuss the issue.  The adjustor can get the employer straightened out.

There are many variables that could affect my advice to you.  These include the name of your employer, whether you work for a government or municipality, the size of the employer and whether they have WC insurance coverage, the doctors report and specific limitations, and a few other factors.  Florida workers compensation system can be a frustrating and aggravating experience.  It’s important to make sure your claim is set up correctly when it first occurs, and that you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to receive.  This includes having an adjustor, or a workers compensation lawyer stop an overbearing employer from forcing an employer back to work against his doctors restrictions.

For more information about a Florida work injury, contact Florida work accident compensation lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.

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