Reporting your injury to your employer is the first step to the workers’ compensation process. From there, they should take it to your insurance provider. Failure to do so can lead you to lose your benefits. But what if your employer did not report your injury? What can you do?
Unfortunately, this scenario is common in workers comp cases. Many employers tend to “forget” or even refuse to report work-related injuries to their insurance providers. That’s because work-related injuries can drive up the cost of premiums. And if you’re running a business, the last thing you want is paying more for workers comp insurance.
This is why many injured workers are often left to the curb. Some employers will just tell them to use their personal health insurance. While others would even go as far as threatening employees who file workers comp claims. With no benefits, they often have to shoulder medical expenses from their own pockets. Plus, recovering from their injuries will cause them to miss work for days – most of the time without pay.
If you’re in this situation, know that all is not lost yet. Here’s a quick guide on what to do when your employer did not or refuse to report your injury.
What Happens If An Employer Failed to Report an Injury?
As mentioned, failure to report your injury to your insurance provider can cost you your benefits. Most states have a prescription period for reporting injuries.
In Florida, you only have 30 days to report your injury to your employer. They, in turn, need to inform the insurance company about it within seven days.
If your employer fails to report your injury to the insurance provider, they can use it to deny your claim. Section 440.185 of Florida Statutes states that failure to report an injury within the prescribed time frame shall render the claim invalid. This means you won’t receive any compensation for your injuries.
Since each state has different workers comp laws, the timeframe can also vary. To make sure you won’t lose your benefits, report your injury immediately after the incident or as soon as you have knowledge of it.
What Can You Do?
If the prescription period hasn’t expired yet, you can remind your employer to submit the report as soon as possible. But if that fails, you can go directly to the insurance provider.
Under Florida’s workers’ comp laws, employers are required to post workers’ comp insurance carrier information in the workplace. Contact the insurance provider and report your injury directly. If no such information is posted, you can contact the Employee Assistance Office. They can help you obtain that information.
After you report your injury to the insurance carrier, they should send you an informational brochure within three days. The brochure will explain your rights and responsibilities as an injured worker. It also contains additional information about the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
The insurance provider will also start evaluating your claim. If they see that the claim is legit and you’re eligible for workers comp, you should receive your benefits within a few weeks.
Penalties for Employers
If your employer fails or refuses to report your injury to the insurance carrier, will they pay a fine? In Florida, yes.
Florida’s worker comp law states that:
Any employer or carrier who fails or refuses to timely send any form, report, or notice required by this section shall be subject to an administrative fine by the department not to exceed $500 for each such failure or refusal.
So there it is. Your employer may pay up to $500 if they fail to inform the insurance carrier of your injury within 7 days.
Do All Injuries Need to be Reported to Workers Compensation?
Not all injuries show up on the day of the accident. Some may take a few days before you feel any symptoms. While other work-related injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome tend to develop over time. This is why all injuries, no matter how minor, should be reported to your workers’ comp provider. It may not look that much right now but if it gets worse later on and you didn’t report it, you could be in trouble.
Remember that prescription period? It starts on the day you got injured. So if you don’t report your injuries immediately, there’s a chance you won’t be able to claim any benefits.
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
Yes, hiring an experienced workers’ comp lawyer like Victor Malca would be very beneficial. With almost three decades of experience behind him, he knows the ins and outs of the state’s workers comp system like the back of his hands. He has already helped thousands of injured workers in Florida get the benefits they deserve. He can help you too. Call us now for a free consultation.
VICTOR MALCA LAW – A TRUSTED NAME IN FLORIDA
Victor Malca P.A. has over 25 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success in fighting for his clients puts among the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.
Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida. Book a free consultation today.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.