Getting injured at work is tough and a denied worker’s compensation claim will make it even worse.
Let’s admit it. Not all of us are lucky to have employers willing to pay for workers comp. Most compensation claims get routinely denied without thorough evaluation. Fortunately, injured employees can still appeal a denied worker’s comp claim.
In Florida, the appeal process starts with filing a Petition for Benefits at the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims. It must be filed within two years from the date of the accident or when the employee has known of the injury.
The judge will then schedule a mediation between you and the insurance provider. While waiting, you may be asked to submit more evidence of your injury or undergo a medical exam. If a settlement agreement isn’t reached at this point, you will proceed to a pretrial hearing.
During this hearing, you will need to prove why you deserve the compensation benefits. After hearing the arguments from both sides, the judge will then make a decision.
If you want your appeal to go in your favor, here are the things you need to know.
You’ll Need a Reliable Doctor
The extent of your injury is a major factor in determining how much compensation you’ll get. This is why you need a reliable doctor. They will conduct a medical examination on you and testify about your injury at court. They must be able to reliably assess your medical condition so you won’t be short-changed.
It’s Best to File an Appeal ASAP
Florida’s workers’ compensation law can be complicated. The Office of the Judges of Compensation also receives a lot of appeals a day. This is why your case can take months before a final decision is reached.
During this waiting period, you most probably are out of work. But you still need to provide for your medications, pay your bills and buy groceries. Thus, it’s best to file an appeal as early as possible so as to avoid missing out on benefits.
Having an Experienced Workers Comp Lawyer is Essential
Appealing your denied worker’s comp claim will be an uphill battle. You need to prepare the right evidence and make a solid argument to win your case. Not to mention all the legal and bureaucratic processes that you have to hurdle.
This is why having an experienced workers compensation lawyer like Victor Malca is essential. He’s been in the practice for over 23 years thus he knows the system like the back of his hand. The expertise of a workers comp lawyer will surely turn the tides in your favor.
Besides, your employer and the insurance company will have their legal them. Thus, it just makes sense that you’ll also have yours to level out the playing field.
You Can Track Your Appeal’s Status Online
After you’ve filed the appeal, you will receive a case number assigned to your claim. What few people know though, is that they can actually track their application’s status online.
Just go to the OJCC website and enter your case number. You can also search the case attributes such as the accident date, claimant’s name and employer.
Information Disclosed During Mediation is Confidential
Both you and your employer and insurance company are legally prohibited from divulging any information disclosed during mediation. So you can discuss sensitive medical or personal issues without worrying about it becoming public knowledge.
You Need to Give The Insurance Company a Copy Of Your Medical Reports
If you failed to reach a settlement during the mediation, your case will then be up for a final hearing. During this hearing, you need to present your evidence and testimony from witnesses. Your medical records would be a great help at this point.
But if you want to use your medical reports as evidence, you need to furnish a copy of it to the insurance company 30 days before the hearing.
You Only Have 30 Days to Appeal the Judge’s Decision
After evaluating the evidence and testimonies from both sides, the judge will then issue a final decision. If you have any objections to the jury’s decision, you can file an appeal at Florida’s First District Court of Appeals. But you must file it within 30 days of receiving the jury’s decision.
If you have some questions about your compensation benefits, you need to seek advice from an experienced workers compensation attorney. It’s important to make sure that you will get all the benefits that you deserve.
Victor Malca Law P.A. has been defending the rights of Florida’s workers for more than 23 years. We specialize in workers’ compensation and social security benefits. We’ve helped thousands of workers to fight for their rights and get what they deserve.
If you need help with your workers’ compensation benefits, contact us and get a free consultation.