How to File a Workers' Compensation Claim in Florida

Learn when and where to start your Florida workers' comp claims.

Florida workers' compensation pays benefits to employees who are injured on the job. Workers may receive medical treatment, compensation for wage loss, and other financial assistance. To collect benefits, you must meet certain requirements, including reporting your injury to your employer within a certain time frame.

How Does the Florida Workers' Compensation System Work?

In Florida, most employers must have workers' compensation coverage—either by purchasing a workers' comp policy from a private insurance company or by receiving certification from the state to self-insure. The Florida Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) oversees all workers' comp claims in the state.

Like all other states, Florida has a no-fault workers' compensation system. You do not need to show that your employer acted carelessly in order to receive benefits. As long as your injury happened on the job or was caused by your work activities, you will typically be eligible for benefits.

Eligible workers may receive a variety of benefits, including:

  • temporary disability benefits (payments for wage loss)
  • impairment benefits (for amputations or permanent limitations)
  • reasonable and necessary medical care, and
  • vocational rehabilitation (training or education for a new line of work).

To learn more, see our Workers' Compensation Benefits page.

How Do I Report an Injury?

Notifying your employer is the first step to starting a workers' compensation claim. In Florida, you must report most injuries within 30 days. If a condition or illness develops over time, you must notify your employer within 30 days of discovering its relationship to your work. You may lose some or all of your benefits if you do not notify your employer within these deadlines.

When you notify your employer, provide as much detail as possible, including:

  • when the accident happened
  • how you hurt yourself, and
  • what symptoms you are experiencing.

Once you report an injury, your employer should send you to an occupational doctor. In Florida, your employer gets to choose your treating doctor unless you need emergency treatment. It is important to provide the doctor with accurate information about the cause of your injuries and the severity of your symptoms.

What Happens After I Report My Injury?

Once you notify your employer, it must report your claim to its insurance company within seven days. If it refuses to report your injury, you can contact the insurance company directly. The insurance company will then determine your eligibility for benefits. Its investigation may involve:

  • reviewing your medical records
  • analyzing your work experience, education, and wages
  • ordering a medical examination to assess your condition, and
  • sending you for a functional capacity evaluation (an assessment of your ability to perform work duties).

Under Florida law, the insurance company must either promptly approve or deny your workers' compensation benefits. If your claim is approved, you will start receiving disability payments and other benefits. Unfortunately, insurance companies deny many workers' compensation claims.

Appealing a Denied Workers' Compensation Claim

You do not need to file any paperwork with the DWC unless the insurance company denies your claim. To appeal a denied claim, you typically must file a Petition for Benefits within two years of your injury or one year of your last wage loss or medical payment, whichever is later.

Unless your claim is very simple, you should consider hiring a workers' compensation lawyer to handle your appeal. The insurance company will have a lawyer, and you may be at a disadvantage if you proceed without an attorney. To learn more, see Should I Hire a Workers' Comp Attorney or Can I Handle My Own Case?

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