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When you’re injured on the job, your top priority is finding a way to feel better again. However, there is something you need to know. Once you become aware of a workplace injury, you have 30 days in Florida to notify your employer of your condition. If you don’t report it in time, you may have a harder time receiving Florida workers’ compensation benefits. In Florida, you have two years from the time you’re injured to file a workers’ compensation claim. Failing to meet these deadlines makes it challenging to receive the help you need. 

Notifying Your Florida Employer

Some workplace injuries are severe enough that you leave your job site in an ambulance. In other cases, you might injure yourself more mildly without any witnesses. Regardless of the seriousness of the injury, you should tell your employer as soon as you can. Ideally, you should notify them on the same day of the incident. Injuries and illnesses that don’t seem that serious can worsen quickly, and getting medical care is a necessity. 

When you inform your employer about your injury, you should provide as much detail as possible. Share the exact time and date of the incident, along with what you were doing and how it happened. You will also want to describe the symptoms that have resulted from the injury. Notifying your workplace of your injury starts the process of filing a Florida workers’ compensation claim.

You should file a claim as soon as possible because your employer might try to disprove your story and allege that your injury didn’t happen while you were working. Essentially, the longer you wait, the harder it can be to directly link your symptoms to a workplace incident. Once you notify your employer of the injury, they will send you to a doctor to treat your injuries. Your employer will tell its insurance company, and they will begin investigating the incident. 

Sometimes, you can’t open a claim within the ideal timeframe for various reasons. Maybe you didn’t know about the statute of limitations or didn’t realize the importance of filing promptly. Are you still able to get benefits? Florida Statute 440.185 outlines the state’s statute of limitations.

An employee who doesn’t notify their employer within 30 days of an injury cannot file a workers’ comp claim with some exceptions, including:

  • The employer had “actual knowledge” of the injury. If an employer witnesses or hears of a workplace injury, you may be able to file a claim outside of the 30-day window.
  • The employee needed a medical opinion to identify the cause. This occurs when an employee notifies their workplace of a medical opinion indicating that an injury “arose out of and in the course of employment.”
  • The employer didn’t properly notify its employees. Under Florida law, an employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have four or more employees. If they have fewer than four employees, they must provide clear, written notice that they do not offer coverage.

The statute also provides exemptions for exceptional circumstances. Outside of notifying your employer, claims must be filed within two years of the employee knowing about the workplace injury, which is usually the date of the incident. Exceptions apply if the injured employee is a minor, if the employer or insurance carrier misleads an employee about their right to file a claim, and cases where the injured employee is deemed mentally incompetent. 

Related: What Kinds of Workers’ Comp Coverage Must Florida Employers Offer?

Some workers’ comp claims are straightforward and can be resolved without any input from a Florida workers’ compensation attorney. After all, the system is designed to reduce the burden on the court system. But in special cases, including those where the claimant’s filing date is outside of the window set by the statute of limitations, an experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can help determine whether you meet any of the exceptions under Florida law. A Florida workers’ comp lawyer can also help you appeal a denied claim for these reasons. The Scott R. Marshall firm specializes in Florida workers’ compensation cases. For a free consultation, call us at 727-772-5900 or contact us online.

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