Whether you are a construction worker who suffered a back injury or an accountant who slipped on a wet bathroom floor, a work injury can leave you with pain and a stack of medical bills.
Some work injuries are minor, but serious injuries can put you out of work and even change the course of your life.
If you have been involved in a work injury, read our blog post to learn how you can get the help you need to support you and your family.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Get medical care as soon as possible after your injury. At the hospital, request that your medical treatment be billed through your employer's workers' compensation insurance.
Common work place injuries include:
Amputation Eye injury
Traumatic brain injuries
Shoulder, arm, wrist or elbow injuries
If you decide to pay for medical treatments yourself, keep your receipts and submit them to your employer's insurance company for reimbursement.
If you cannot contact the insurance company, you will still have coverage as long as the treatment was reasonable, happened because of the work place injury, and was reported in three business days.
When you meet all three of those conditions, but the insurance company still denies you coverage, hire legal counsel. An attorney familiar with workers' compensation law will help you get the reimbursement you deserve.
2. Notify Your Supervisor of Your Injury
Current Florida compensation laws require you to notify your supervisor within 30 days of the injury. Your employer will ask you to fill out a First Notice of Injury Form for workers' compensation claim. Along with the form, take pictures of the accident scene, injuries, and anything else involved with the incident.
It is important to note that each state's workers' compensation laws are unique. Florida workers' compensation laws stipulate that workers injured at their job may receive medical benefits and may be eligible for wage replacement benefits.
3. Know Your Workers' Compensation Benefits
Once your employer's workers' compensation insurance company has approved your claim as a work-related injury, you are entitled to medical benefits and may have eligibility for partial wage replacement benefits.
Medical benefits of workers' compensation include:
An assigned physician
Insurance coverage for all authorized necessary medicalcare and treatment related to your injury
A one-time change of physician within five business days of a written request
Your authorized care and treatment may include:
Travel expenses to and from authorized medical treatment or a pharmacy
These benefits will get you the necessary treatment you need to recover from your injury. Additionally, if you cannot work due to the accident, you need to see if you have eligibility for wage replacement benefits.
Wage Replacement Benefits
There are three basic types of wage replacement benefits:temporary, permanent, and death. Temporary wage replacement benefits cover your financial needs until you have the capacity to return to work.
Permanent wage replacement benefits protect you when your injury causes permanent physical, psychological, or functional loss. In some cases, those who qualify for permanent wage replacement benefits may have eligibility for reemployment services.
If for any reason you died from a work place injury or accident, your family would receive compensation for funeral expenses and dependency benefits. Your spouse may also be eligible for job training benefits.
4. Understand Your Responsibilities
While you are injured, regularly update your employer, your employer's insurance carrier,and your assigned physician on your progress or any changes that may have occurred.
Give your employer a copy of the Medical Treatment/Status Report form (DWC25) after every medical appointment.
Only return to work when you are cleared by your physician and when your job position is within your physical capabilities. This strategy will help you avoid suspension of lost wage benefits.
Review, sign, and submit the mandatory fraud statement to the insurance carrier. When you sign this document, you agree not to commit injury fraud. If you refuse to sign the document, your benefits will be suspended.
Inform your adjuster of any changes to your claim, any medical authorizations you need, and any wages you have earned. If a lawyer represents you, he or she will handle this part of the process.
Tell your doctor about all injuries, or potential injuries, caused by your work place accident. Make sure to be as specific as possible.
Let your doctor know your work status at every appointment.
Follow your doctor's treatment plan.
Ask for a patient copy of the Medical Treatment/Status Reporting form (DWC25)
5. Talk to a Lawyer
Injuries at work can lead to difficult, complex, and stressful situations. Your employer may try to deny your claims or give you inadequate coverage. If you need help with compensation after a work injury, contact a personal injury lawyer to help you get back on your feet.