If you are injured on the job in Florida and are covered by workers’ compensation, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier will be responsible for providing you with reimbursement of the costs of medical treatment for your work-related injury. However, there are limits on the type and extent of treatment that is compensable. Understanding these limits can help make sure you get the full benefits you deserve.
Your employer is required to pay for any health care that is medically necessary to treat your work-related injury. An injury is work-related if an accident that occurred on the job or an illness contracted as a result of working conditions is the primary cause of the medical problems for which you are being treated. To claim workers’ comp benefits, you must give your employer notice within 30 days of the accident or the discovery of the illness.
Medically necessary treatment includes medical tests, prescription medicines, surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy and medical equipment, as well as the cost of travel to and from a doctor’s office or hospital. The treatment must be provided by doctors authorized by your employer or by its workers’ compensation insurer.
On the other hand, neither the employer nor its insurer is financially responsible if you obtain treatment from a doctor that they didn’t authorize you to see. When you give your employer notice of your injury or illness, ask for the name of an authorized doctor so you can receive the medical help you need as soon as possible. You should tell the doctor about all of your symptoms and any facts that indicate that your work-related accident is to blame. However, you should be honest whenever you talk to the doctor, because there are legal penalties for making a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system that presumes an employer and its insurer will act in good faith to get injured workers the prompt medical treatment they need. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation has an Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office that you can ask for help if your claim is contested, but it won’t necessarily resolve the issue in your favor. You might have to file an appeal to get the medical benefits you need. At all stages of the case, you should seek counsel from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who is dedicated to advocating for your rights.
Vassallo, Bilotta & Davis helps injured workers in Florida with obtaining workers’ compensation benefits and with appeals of claim denials. Please call 561-471-2800 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation at one of our offices, located in West Palm Beach and Stuart.