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What do you need to do for workers' compensation benefits?

When Florida workers suffer an injury that leaves them unable to work, it is imperative to get the proper treatment as soon as possible. Once that is done, the inability to work will often leave a person unable to make ends meet due to lost wages. This is why workers' compensation benefits are so important. There are certain duties that a worker has when there has been a work accident or a condition suffered because of work. Knowing these duties is similarly crucial to getting medical care from an authorized treating physician.

When there is an injury from work, the employee must inform the employer as soon as possible. The law says that workers must inform the employer of the accident or of finding out that there was an injury stemming from work within 30 days. The employer will tell a worker what doctor is authorized to provide care. The employer might say that it is up to the worker to contact the insurer. There will be a poster at the place of work that has the number to call. When the accident happens and emergency treatment is needed without the employer present to tell the worker where to go to get it, the worker should go to the closest emergency room and tell the employer what happened as soon as possible.

After the injury has been reported to the insurer, the company might have an adjuster contact the worker within 24 hours to give an explanation as to what the rights are and what must be done. Between three and five business days, the worker or the employer will get a brochure explaining the rights and obligations of the worker. There will also be a letter that explains the services that the Employee Assistance Office of the Division of Workers' Compensation provides. Within this packet, there is often a copy of the accident report or other information regarding the accident; a statement regarding fraud that must be read, signed and returned by the worker; and a release of the medical records that must be signed and returned.

While many workers might know that they have the right to receive workers' compensation benefits after work-related injuries, they are frequently unaware that there are certain things that they must do as part of the process. When there is confusion or an issue with reporting and receiving workers' compensation, getting the right information can help.

Source: myfloridacfo.com, "Workers' Compensation System Guide -- Injured Worker Duties, page 4," accessed on Feb. 12, 2017

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