There are some notable exceptions that may allow for you to make a claim outside of these periods, but you really need to report your injury immediately.
Despite the fact that you have 30 days to report it, you should always do so immediately. The sooner you report it, the less likely you are to have your employer or the insurance company challenge your claim.
Even if you may be beyond the 30-day period, you may still file a claim. There may be reasons the 30-day period could be extended.
If you have a repetitive trauma injury (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), each day you work and are exposed may be considered a new injury. In these cases, the 30-day period becomes less clear.
There is a 2-year Statute of Limitations in Florida Workers’ Compensation Cases for actually filing a claim and a petition for benefits. If you do not receive a benefit or a file a petition for benefits within 2 years of your date of accident, you are forever barred from making a claim. As with the 30-day notice period, there may be exceptions to this rule that apply to you, so before you give up, consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Once your case is accepted and you are receiving benefits, the Statute of Limitations is extended to one year from the date the carrier last provided you with a benefit. This date changes every time you go to the doctor, receive a check or sometimes even take your medication. Again, if you are in doubt about this, consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer.
You may contact their workers’ compensation insurance company and file your own claim.
This is why many injured workers seek a lawyer. If you Employer refuses to cooperate by filing a claim with their insurance carrier, that may be the beginning of more fights to come.
If your Employer fails to secure workers’ compensation coverage, you may “elect a remedy” in either tort (personal injury) or workers’ compensation. If your Employer or a coworker were negligent, then you may be able to sue them for that negligence. If there was no negligence involved, you still have the right to bring a workers’ compensation claim against your Employer.
The decisions of whether to pursue a claim for negligence or workers’ compensation is a difficult one and one that should be made with the advice of a lawyer who practices in both areas of law.
You can sue your employer or coworker in very limited situations:
- They do not provide you with workers’ compensation coverage. By failing to provide WC coverage, they lose their immunity from lawsuits.
- They commit an intentional act, such as a battery. The law states you may sue your Employer only if the injury was “virtually certain” to occur. This is a very high standard, and one that is rarely met.
If a third party (not your Employer or Coworker) is negligent and you are injured as a result, you may have a claim for both workers’ compensation (with your Employer) and negligence against the third party.