Workers’ compensation laws are there to protect workers who get hurt on the job. They are there to ensure that employees who are injured or disabled on the job are provided with a monetary settlement, without litigation. Workers’ compensation laws also provide benefits for dependents of those workers who are killed because of work-related accidents or illnesses. Some laws also protect employers and fellow workers by limiting the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer and by eliminating the liability of co-workers in most accidents.
The Federal Employment Compensation Act provides workers’ compensation for non-military, federal employees. Many of its provisions are typical of most workers’ compensation laws. Awards are limited to “disability or death” sustained while in the performance of the employee’s duties but not caused willfully by the employee or by intoxication. The act covers medical expenses due to the disability and could require the worker to undergo job retraining. A disabled employee receives two-thirds of their normal monthly salary during the time they are on disability, and may receive more for permanent physical injuries or if they have dependents.
If you’ve been injured or gotten seriously ill while at work, you may need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation pays for medical care, rehabilitation, and some wage replacement if you have to miss work. To get these benefits, you must file a claim and follow the procedures carefully. An attorney can assist you in filing your claim.
First, if you’re hurt, get medical attention. Then tell your employer of your injury as soon as possible. In Florida you have 30 days. Usually, your employer will have claim forms for you to fill out and submit or can obtain a form quickly. After that, it’s your employer’s responsibility to submit the paperwork to the proper insurance carrier. After you or your employer report the injury to the insurance company, many companies will have an insurance claim adjuster call you within 24 hours to explain your rights and obligations.
If your claim is not disputed, it will be approved and an adjuster for the insurance company will contact you or your employer with instructions on how to submit your medical bills for payment. Hopefully everything will go smoothly. But sometimes employers will fight your claim, in an effort to keep their workers’ compensation rates down. The best way you can counteract such disputes is by producing good documentation, including complete medical records, of your injury and treatment.
If your injury is not permanent and you didn’t miss any time from work, getting payment for your medical bills will probably be the extent of your claim; there won’t be much else for you to do. If you are temporarily unable to work because of your injury, you will also begin receiving checks to cover your wage loss, usually within a week or two after your claim is approved. Your employer will notify the insurance company to stop sending you wage-replacement checks as soon as you recover and return to work.