Over the past two decades, the Florida Legislature changed the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act and the law is ever changing.
If you have been injured on the job, Florida law has very specific guidelines regarding with whom and where you may obtain treatment. Employees are often afraid to file claims for fear of losing their jobs, and employers are often quick to question their responsibility. Therefore, understanding how to protect your health and your rights can be confusing.
In Florida, a worker has 30 days to report a work related accident. However, often the worker doesn’t immediately realize that the injury was caused on the job. Exposure to chemicals or other hazardous working conditions may result in illness months or years later, and a comprehensive investigation of your medical records may be required to establish responsibility. Additionally, your employer can determine which medical provider you can visit.
If you do receive care from a Workers' Compensation doctor, make sure your employer has completed the "First Report of Injury" form, and keep notes about the dates, times and details of your doctor appointments. Compensation for missed wages is based upon the number of days you are unable to work – and you still may not be eligible for full payment of your lost income. If the doctor advises you that your injuries are permanent, your employer may be obligated to provide job retraining or an alternate position – but legal representation can be necessary to ensure your employer actually provides you with viable work.
Serious medical conditions caused by work-related injuries demand serious treatment. It is therefore important that you follow Florida Workers' Compensation procedures, but when those aren't enough to obtain the help you need, an experienced Workers' Compensation attorney can be a valuable resource.