If you were injured at work in Florida, workers’ compensation benefits can help you pay for medical expenses and lost wages until you can return to work. However, you may lose your right to recover benefits if you’re not aware of the workers’ compensation statute of limitations in Florida that sets a deadline of two years for filing your claim.
Our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers explain what you need to know about the time limits for filing and how to ensure you don’t lose the right to recover the benefits you deserve.
Statute of Limitations in Florida Workers’ Compensation Cases
For workers’ compensation cases, the statute of limitations is how long an injured worker has to file a claim. If the statute of limitation expires, the injured party loses their right to receive compensation for their sustained injuries.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is two years from the date of the injury or knowledge of the injury.
Florida’s Secondary Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation Claims
Florida also has a secondary statute of limitations for worker’s compensation claims. This applies if your initial claim didn’t pay for all of your medical treatments or employer obligations.
After your initial worker’s compensation claim, you have one year from the date you last received a medical benefit or wage loss payment to file for additional benefits or re-open the claim. If you pass this deadline, you may lose the opportunity to receive these benefits.
Exceptions to the Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations in Florida
Certain situations can toll—or pause—the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims in Florida, extending the time you have to file, including the following:
- Mental incapacity: If the injured worker is mentally incapacitated and unable to file a claim, the statute of limitations may be tolled. Usually, the delay continues until a representative or guardian is assigned.
- The employer has denied an employment relationship: If an injured worker sues their employer directly, the employer may deny benefits by claiming that there is no employer-employee relationship. If the court determines that the worker was an employee when the injury occurred, the statute of limitations resets after the ruling.
- Fraud: If the employer or insurance company intentionally misleads workers about their rights, the clock may stop on the statute of limitations until the deception is discovered.
Call us today at (877) 245-6707 to learn more about whether exceptions may apply in your case.
When Does the Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation in Florida Start?
The statute of limitations typically begins on the date the workplace injury occurs. This date is easy to identify in cases involving immediate or obvious harm, such as a broken limb.
However, some injuries are not immediately apparent. In such cases, the statute of limitations begins when the victim should have reasonably known they were injured. For example, if you suffer from a repetitive stress injury or an occupational disease that develops gradually, the clock may not start until you get a medical diagnosis or start noticing symptoms.
Exceptions to the Starting Date
There are specific exceptions where the standard starting point for the statute of limitations may be adjusted:
- Delayed reporting by a third party: If someone else, such as a supervisor, was supposed to report your injury but failed to do so promptly, this delay might toll the statute of limitations.
- Underage or mentally incapacitated: For minors or those mentally incapable of understanding their injury, the statute of limitations may not begin until they reach the age of majority or regain capacity. In Florida, the age of majority is 18.
Deadlines for Reporting the Injury to Your Employer
Under Florida law, workers have a strict 30-day window to report a workplace injury to their employer. Failing to report the injury within this timeframe may result in a denial of benefits. The 30-day clock starts on the day of the incident or when you become aware of your injury.
Submit Written Notice
Immediately after your injury, it’s important to submit a written report to your supervisor. Although not legally required, a written notice ensures that there’s tangible evidence of the incident, which may protect you if your claim is disputed.
Employer’s Requirements for Reporting
Employers in Florida must submit a report to their workers’ compensation insurance provider within seven days of receiving your report. However, for accidents where an employee only needed treatment at the work site, also known as a “First Aid Case,” employers are not required to report to their carrier.
If your employer does not file within seven days in cases that require offsite medical treatment, they can face fines of $100 to $500.
If you must miss over seven days of work, your employer has to submit a First Report of Injury or Illness form (DWC-1) to their insurance company within seven days. After filing this form, the employer must file a 13-week wage statement within 14 days of finding out about the injury or accident.
Contact Our Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for More Information
Knowing the deadlines that apply to getting crucial benefits after a workplace injury is essential to ensure you don’t lose your right to that compensation. At Farah & Farah, our workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida have over 40 years of helping injured workers across Florida meet the deadlines that apply when filing a claim.
Call us at (877) 245-6707 or contact us online to learn more about the Florida workers’ compensation statute of limitations, how it applies to your specific case, and how we can help. Your initial consultation is free.