Sustaining an injury or illness at work can be devestating – both physically and financially. This is where Workers Compensation comes in; the majority of employers in Florida are required to carry this insurance. If an employee is injured or made ill in the course of their work, Workers Comp is designed to cover medical costs and wage replacement. What do you need to know about this insurance?
Workers Comp and Proper Documentation
There are several aspects of Workers Compensation which need to be documented properly. If not, your claim could be denied by the employer altogether. The first and most important documentation required is proof that an actual injury occurred during the scope of your employment. How do you obtain this documentation?
- By notifying your employer. This notification can be made to any supervisor or manager within the company within 30 days of the incident/injury.
- Through medical treatment.
- Through witnesses to the incident.
Of these options, the best source of documentation comes from first notifying the employer of the incident. This not only puts the employer on notice of the injury or illness but it also helps ensure you receive immediate medical treatment covered by the employer’s insurance.
Workers Comp Errors
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an injured employee is not telling your employer about the incident. This documentation or notification must be done within the first 30 days of the accident. If you notify the employer after the 30 days, it gives the employer grounds to deny your injury claim altogether.
A second big mistake is not receiving medical treatment for the accident/incident. As soon as you are injured or have contracted an illness as a result of your work, seek a medical evaluation from a Compensation doctor provided by your employer’s insurance carrier. Simply reporting your injury to your employer is not sufficient.
This medical treatment will document the injury and diagnose you with a condition. This will be solid proof that you actually suffered an injury on the job. Keep in mind, you must have an injury from the incident. For example, if you trip and fall over a rug but you do not sustain any injuries, a claim for workers’ compensation benefits will be denied.
There is a caveat here: the injury can be mental in nature as long as a physical injury also occurs. For example, if the stress of your job leads to a heart attack (even if you are not at work at the time), you may be able to file a claim and receive compensation through Workers Compensation insurance. If you are not sure, contact an attorney specializing in this area of the law.
If you sustained an injury at work, the best practice is to notify your employer immediately of the incident. Again, make sure you report to someone within the management team. The second step: make sure you seek medical treatment so as to document the injury.
Following these steps helps you build the best “case” for a Workers Compensation claim.