Job-related injuries and illnesses can mean you need time from work while you receive medical care, and it is not long before the bills start piling up. Getting workers’ compensation payments is a vital lifeline for many injured people to make up for lost wages, medical expenses, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and more.
Our North Fort Myers workers’ compensation lawyers regularly help clients with their workers’ compensation claims. If you are making a new claim, appealing a denied claim, or are concerned about the settlement you were offered, we will manage everything to ensure your case is fairly resolved.
How does the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process Work?
In theory, the claim process is pretty straightforward. Here is how it works, assuming there are no bumps in the road along the way:
- You have 30 days to report the injury to your employer, or your claim could be denied. We recommend notifying your employer as soon as possible. (The report can be oral or in writing, be sure to check your employer’s injury reporting process).
- Your employer has seven days to report the injury to their insurance company.
- The insurance company must send you information about claiming within three days after being notified by your employer.
- The insurer arranges an independent medical exam using one of their approved doctors.
- Their doctor will file a report to the insurance carrier, which is used to create a settlement offer if they accept your application.
- The initial settlement can include coverage for medical bills, treatment costs, a percentage of lost wages, and temporary disability payments.
- If you qualify for benefits, you should receive the first check within 21 days after reporting your injury to your employer.
Simple, right? Unfortunately, for many people, this is not the case. Further, claims can be complex because many parties are involved, such as your employer, the insurance company, healthcare providers, and the workers’ compensation board.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
While you have the option to represent yourself in a case, tackling the legal process alone while recovering from injuries can become challenging. You have the right to legal representation. There is no harm in discussing your legal options with an attorney before filing your claim, whatever your circumstances. Many law practices provide a free consultation (us included) where you can learn about your legal options at no obligation.
Our workers’ compensation lawyers in North Fort Myers regularly help clients with more complex cases involving:
- People who had their claim denied and want to appeal the decision
- Low settlement offers
- People who are unfairly dismissed from their job or demoted at work because they filed a workers’ compensation claim
- People who were injured by someone other than their employer
- Injuries or an occupational illness that limits a person’s ability to work or prevents them from returning to work permanently
- People who are worried their injury or illness could worsen over time or are unsure about the value of their claim
We could list many other examples, so if you have questions about making a claim, accepting a settlement offer, appealing a decision, or using a third party, we are on hand to help.
We Can Help You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Every state has rules for reporting an injury and applying for work injury benefits. As we mentioned, the first thing to do is report your injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible, but definitely within 30 days, or your claim could be barred. Notifying your employer about an injury or illness in time sets your claim in motion.
After this, you will need to check whether there are forms to fill out. Sometimes your employer will do this, but it is a good idea to write down everything that happened in as much detail as possible for your own records. Take photographs at the time, if possible, and note any witnesses’ names and contact details at the time of the accident.
If you do run into problems later on, this information will be beneficial, especially if you experience the following issues:
- Your employer did not report the accident to their insurance carrier.
- Your employer changes your hours or pay, demotes, or dismisses you because you filed a claim—this is illegal, and you have rights.
- You are unsure of the information you need to gather to make your claim.
Our lawyers will handle everything you need to file your claim correctly and on time. Further, if your application is accepted, we can advise whether you should accept the initial settlement offer. Remember that insurance companies often seek to keep their costs down to protect their profit margins. They may try to undervalue your claim with a lowball initial offer.
We Can Help You Appeal If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Was Denied
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation claims can and are often denied. If you think the decision is unfair or wrong, we can help you through the appeal process.
Initially, we will analyze why you received a denial notification and then gather the evidence required to support your appeal before petitioning the appropriate channels for reconsideration.
This could be with your employer or their insurer initially and then with the Office of Judges Compensation Claims if we cannot agree to a suitable resolution beforehand.
We Can Help If Someone Other Than Your Employer Caused Your Injuries
If someone other than your employer caused or contributed to your injuries, you might be able to recover compensation in addition to workers’ compensation benefits, such as pain and suffering. Our attorneys can review your situation and help you determine whether you have grounds to file a third-party lawsuit for your injuries and other related losses.
Get a Free Consultation to See What Our Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Do
If you want help with a new claim, want to appeal a decision, or if someone other than your employer caused your workplace injury, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help. Reach out for a free consultation about making your workers’ compensation claim work for you today.
We Can Help.