Did you know?
While there are well-intentioned workers’ comp doctors and adjusters out there, many believe that the majority of injured workers are fakers trying to “milk the system”.
In fact, throughout your workers' comp claim, the workers' comp insurance adjuster may even be actively looking for evidence that you are faking your injury.
But, there are 6 things you can do to avoid the "F Word" and protect yourself from potential problems in receiving workers' comp benefits.
1) Notify Your Employer or Supervisor Within 30 days of the Accident/Injury
If you were injured on the job and haven’t notified your employer, stop reading this and do it right now! In Florida, you have 30 days from the day that the accident happened to notify your employer about it.
Although verbal notification is acceptable (such as simply telling your boss about the accident), you can protect yourself even more by making sure that a First Report of Injury is filed.
Absence of a formal notification can create major problems for you. For instance, the longer you delay in notifying your employer, the more likely they will be suspicious of your injury.
2) Treat With a Workers’ Comp Authorized Doctor
When it comes to Florida workers' comp cases, medical care is either authorized or unauthorized. The difference between authorized medical care and unauthorized medical care is that the workers’ comp insurance company approved the authorized care and plans to pay the bill.
- Authorized Care/Authorized Doctor = Workers’ comp approved of the care and plans to pay the bill.
- Unauthorized care/Unauthorized Doctor = Workers’ comp did not approve and most likely will not pay the bill.
An injured worker is assigned one authorized doctor, and must treat with this doctor for his or her work-related injuries. Most workers’ comp benefits are received only because of of the opinion of the workers’ comp doctor.
If a worker’s comp authorized doctor says you need surgery and cannot work, then you are eligible to receive wage loss benefits and get your surgery paid for by workers’ comp.
3) Schedule and Keep Your Follow-up Appointments
After your first visit to the doctor, make sure to schedule a follow-up appointment. Some injured workers don’t schedule a follow-up, so the workers’ comp doctor will assume you no longer need care.
Going to your follow-up appointments has to be your absolute first priority. If you do not show up for your appointments, then it is very possible that the workers’ comp doctor will stop seeing you. And if the workers’ comp doctor stops seeing you, then your benefits might also stop.
4) Have a Clear Understanding of the Doctor’s Orders
Throughout your workers’ comp treatment, you need to make sure you have a clear understanding of the doctor’s orders, work restrictions,and the duration of those restrictions.
There are different levels of “light duty” work restrictions that an authorized doctor may assign to you, such as…
- No lifting more than 10 lbs
- No repetitive use of the right hand
- No overhead reaching
- 5 minute breaks every hour to stand and stretch
- Sit/stand option available
I personally recommend bringing a journal to your appointments and asking several questions to make sure you fully understand the scope of your restrictions.
5) Document Your Interactions With Your Employer
Make sure to thoroughly document your interactions with your employer, and make sure there are no misunderstandings involving your work restrictions.
6) Complete the Employee Earnings Report by the Deadline
The workers’ comp insurance company may periodically ask you to complete an employee earnings report. Failure to complete and return the form within ten days after receiving it may stop your benefits.
If you have further questions about your Florida workers' comp claim, download a FREE copy of Wade Coye's book, Sharing the Secrets, Learning the Lies: A Guide to Florida Workers' Compensation. You can also contact call us today at (407) 648-4940 or by clicking here to fill out a contact form.