I’m Late Reporting a Work Injury, What Happens Now?
Many people are either denied workers’ compensation benefits or have their benefits significantly reduced because they fail to ask their employer for medical care in a timely manner.
Oftentimes, we meet with people who have a work-related accident and sustain what they think is an insignificant injury – a small bruise for example. Because the injury seems minor, they fail to not only report it to their employer, but to ask for written permission to seek medical care. However, after several months, the pain that was once a bruise becomes more severe, causing him/her to struggle when performing normal work duties. After visiting a physician, the individual learns the injury is much more severe than he/she thought. In such a case, would the employee still be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits?
Unless you have a legal excuse for not notifying your employer on time (you were incapacitated and couldn’t get someone to give notice on your behalf, for example), or unless your situation is extremely unique, the answer is almost always ‘no.’ Here’s why: Florida law mandates that if an employee is injured at work, he/she has 30 days to report the incident and obtain permission from their employer to seek medical care. You do not have a high chance of obtaining benefits if you wait months or even more than a year to file a report. It’s also important to note that the workers’ compensation law protects you from being fired due to reporting your on the job injury. Employees cite fear of being fired as the #1 reason for not reporting their accident related injuries in a timely manner.
Though you have the right to file a Petition for benefits even if you have been untimely in reporting or requesting care, it is likely a denial will follow that filing. We urge you to report all work-related accidents and injuries as soon as they happen. Regardless of how minor the injuries are, the longer you wait, the harder it is to obtain the permission you need, and to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you feel you have a workers’ compensation case, we suggest you consult with an experienced attorney to review the details of the situation. Contact us today.