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Workers’ Comp FAQ

Law Office of Olivia Devonmille, P.A.   June 11, 2024

Workers' compensation is a crucial safety net designed to protect employees who suffer injuries or illnesses while performing their job duties. This system ensures that workers receive the necessary medical care, wage replacement, and rehabilitation support they need, allowing them to focus on recovery without the added stress of financial burdens.  

However, filing a workers' compensation claim can be daunting, and having a skilled attorney by your side can make a substantial difference. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you understand your rights, gather necessary documentation, and advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. 

At the Law Office of Olivia Devonmille, P.A., I’ve seen firsthand how pivotal this system is in protecting employees' rights and providing financial assistance. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions that can help you better understand workers' compensation in Florida and how it can be used to your advantage. 

1. Who is eligible for workers' compensation in Florida? 

Workers' compensation in Florida is available to nearly all employees. The state mandates that most employers with four or more employees carry workers' compensation insurance to ensure coverage for their workers in case of a workplace injury or illness.  

Eligibility extends to full-time, part-time, and even some seasonal workers. However, independent contractors are generally not eligible unless specifically included in the coverage policy. 

2. What types of injuries and illnesses are covered under workers' compensation?  

Workers' compensation in Florida covers a wide range of injuries and illnesses that occur within the scope of employment. This includes: 

  • Physical injuries: Such as broken bones, sprains, fractures, lacerations, and burns

  • Repetitive strain injuries: Such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis

  • Occupational diseases: Such as respiratory conditions caused by exposure to hazardous or harmful materials

  • Mental or emotional conditions: Such as those stemming from a physical workplace injury or a traumatic event at work

It's essential to note that workers' compensation often does not cover injuries sustained while commuting to and from work or during breaks for personal activities. 

3. How long do I have to file a workers' compensation claim? 

In Florida, you should report your injury or illness to your employer within 30 days. Once reported, you generally have two years from the date of your injury or illness to file a formal workers' compensation claim. However, failure to report your injury to your employer within 30 days could be used as a defense to deny your claim for coverage. 

4. What should I do if I suffer a workplace injury or illness? 

If you sustain a work-related injury or illness, it's crucial to report it to your employer as soon as possible. Remember, you have 30 days after the injury or illness occurred to report to your employer. Failure to report within the allotted time frame can result in the denial of benefits.  

After reporting your injury, seek medical attention and inform your healthcare provider that it is a work-related injury or illness. Your employer should provide you with a list of approved doctors who are authorized to treat work injuries, but you may also choose to see your preferred doctor if they are on the list. 

5. Can I choose my own doctor for treatment?  

In Florida, you generally have to choose a doctor from a list of healthcare providers approved by your employer's workers' compensation insurance company. However, if you are dissatisfied with the initial doctor, you may be allowed to request a change. 

6. How do I file a workers' compensation claim? 

To file a workers' compensation claim, you should notify your employer as soon as possible after the injury or illness occurs. Your employer will then provide you with a workers' compensation claim form (DWC-1) to complete. You must submit these completed forms to the state's workers' compensation board and seek medical treatment from an approved healthcare provider. 

Upon receiving your claim form, your employer is responsible for reporting the incident to their workers' compensation insurance carrier, ideally within seven days. The insurance carrier will review your claim, investigate the circumstances surrounding the injury or illness, and determine eligibility for benefits. If your claim is accepted, you will start receiving workers' compensation benefits. 

Be sure to continue to follow your healthcare provider's instructions and attend all medical appointments and treatments required for your recovery. Also, be sure to maintain open communication with your employer, healthcare provider, and insurance company. Document all interactions and keep copies of any correspondence for your records. 

7. What benefits or compensation are available under workers' compensation?  

Benefits under workers' compensation cover the costs of medical treatment, lost wages, and rehabilitation services related to your workplace injury or illness. The specific benefits you receive will depend on the nature and severity of your injury or illness. Workers' compensation benefits in Florida can include: 

  • Medical care: Coverage for necessary medical treatment related to the injury or illness. 

  • Temporary disability benefits: If you are unable to work due to your injury or illness, you may receive a portion of your lost wages. This includes temporary total disability (TTD) and temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. 

  • Permanent partial disability benefits: These benefits cover losses in physical function and impairment caused by a workplace injury or illness. 

  • Vocational rehabilitation services: If you are unable to return to your previous job, workers' compensation may provide support for job training, placement services, and sometimes additional education. 

  • Death benefits: In tragic cases where an employee dies from a work-related injury, death benefits are available to the deceased worker’s dependents. 

8. What should I do if my workers' compensation claim is denied? 

If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision with the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation. This typically involves requesting a hearing before a judge to present evidence supporting your claim. It is often beneficial to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney to help with the appeals process. 

9. Can I still receive workers' compensation if the injury was my fault? 

Yes, workers' compensation in Florida follows a no-fault system, meaning you can receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury. However, there are some exceptions, such as injuries resulting from willful misconduct, intoxication, or intent to injure oneself or others. 

10. Can I be fired for filing a workers' compensation claim?

No, it is against the law for an employer to retaliate or discriminate against an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim. If you believe that your employer has terminated your employment or taken other adverse actions in response to your claim, you may have legal recourse. 

Experienced Legal Counsel You Can Trust

The workers’ compensation system in Florida can be challenging to understand, but knowing your rights and the support available can make a significant difference. If you have further questions about workers' compensation or need assistance with a claim, contact me at the Law Office of Olivia Devonmille, P.A.  

I am dedicated to helping injured workers obtain workers' compensation benefits. I provide personalized and compassionate representation to make sure you receive the support and compensation you deserve. Remember, it's important to understand your rights and options under workers' compensation law as it can greatly impact your health, well-being, and recovery. 

Located in Vero Beach, Florida, I serve clients in Sebastian, Indian River County, Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, Port St. Lucie, Palm Bay, Brevard County, Melbourne, and Viera, Florida.