How Florida Workers' Compensation Works- Reporting the Injury & Major Contributing Cause
The Florida workers’ compensation law was created to provide benefits for injured workers. The legislature expressly stated its intention to create laws that would be relatively easy to navigate and would allow employees to obtain benefits quickly and easily. The reality is that the laws governing workers’ compensation are not easy to understand or navigate, and at times, they make it extremely difficult to obtain benefits. That’s why injured workers often have many questions regarding what benefits they’re entitled to and how to get them. This book is designed to provide some of those answers.
First Hurdles: Reporting the Injury & The Major Contributing CauseStandard
Notice to Employer
If you suffer an injury at work, you should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. The report should be made to a supervisor, not a co-worker. You can make the report either verbally or in writing. Failure to report your injury in a timely manner (within three days) could result in your losing your right to benefits.
The purpose of the reporting requirement is to give your employer an opportunity to report your injury to its workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If your employer refuses to report your injury to the insurance carrier, you can do it yourself. You should call the Employee Assistance Office immediately at (800)342-1741. You can also send an e-mail to [email protected].
You may have been unaware that you had suffered a work injury until you saw a doctor. In that case, you have 30 days from the date you discover that the injury is work-related to report it to your employer or to the state.
If you’ve been hurt at work and you’re unsure about what to do, or if your employer refuses to report the injury, you should contact an attorney immediately. Your attorney can help report your injury for you, but it must be done within the 30-day time limit.
Major Contributing Cause
Under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, an employer must pay indemnity (money) and medical benefits if an employee suffers an injury “arising out of the course and scope of employment." The injury must be the major contributing cause of any lost wages or need for medical treatment. According to the law, this means that the work injury must be at least 51% responsible for the disability.
Major contributing cause must be proved by medical evidence, not just complaints of pain. You will not receive benefits unless you have medical records to support your claim.
If your work injury aggravates or accelerates a pre-existing injury, the employer is required to pay you benefits as long as the on-the-job injury remains more than 50% responsible for your condition.