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Are You Covered? Florida Workers Compensation Information

July 18, 2010

We all feel confident that we’ll be taken care of if we are hurt on the job. After all, laws have been put in place to protect workers, right? Not always! The Miami Herald reported recently that 24 firms in South Florida were closed down due to violations of the Florida workers compensation laws. These closures were part of a state-wide sting operation that led to the closure of 70 businesses across the state. Through random visits to the companies, officials found that these firms had failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

Assuming you are covered by your company, there are still many details and rights to be aware of when filing a Florida workers compensation claim:

  1. To avoid the risk of having your workplace injury claim denied, report it to your employer as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after the injury occurs.
  2. After you report to your employer, they are required to report your injury to their insurance company within seven days. The insurance company must give you an informational brochure that outlines your rights and responsibilities concerning your injury.
  3. Section 440.185 of the Florida Statutes gives you the right to report your injury yourself if your employer will not report the injury to their insurance company.
  4. You must choose a provider from a list of authorized medical providers in order to get coverage for medical care, prescriptions, and treatment for your injury. This list is either available through your employer or through their insurance company.
  5. If you are not happy with your treatment, you may petition for a one-time change of physician, but, since you can only change providers once, exercise this right carefully.

What about your job? Will your employer hold your position for you? What if you can not go back to the same job you held before your injury?

  • Florida workers compensation laws specify that you will not be paid for the first seven days of work-related disability, however the insurance company might pay you if your disability lasts more than 21 days.
  • Florida law does not require your employer to hold your work position for you until you are released to work again, however you may be protected under the Family Medical Leave Act..
  • You are entitled to vocation counseling, transferable skills analysis, job-seeking skills, job placement, on-the-job training, and formal retraining (all at no cost to you) if you can not return to the type of work you did before your injury.
  • Be careful if you settle your claim for medical benefits with the insurance company! If your condition gets worse after you have settled, you are responsible for your future medical needs and bills.
  • Injured workers have the right to hire an attorney to help make sure their rights are protected and their injuries are properly compensated. Be sure to hire an experienced Florida work accident compensation lawyer: the Florida workers compensation laws are complex and go through an annual amendment process in the Florida Legislature.

Florida state law says construction-related companies must have workers’ compensation coverage if they have one or more employee, including the owner. Other businesses must have the coverage if they employ four or more employees, excluding business owners. Are you certain that your company is watching out for you by providing Florida workers compensation coverage?

For more Florida workers compensation information, contact Florida work accident compensation lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, log on to his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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