How long do I have to report a worker’s comp accident to my employer in Florida?

A supervisor assists and workers' compensation claimI am asked this question almost weekly by potential clients.  Often, injured workers may not report the accident as they hope that the pain will go away in a few days or they are worried about getting in trouble.  Although holding off in reporting an work accident may be admirable, it is often not in your best interest and can hurt your ability to obtain benefits.

Florida law requires an injured worker to report the accident to your employer within 30 days (90 days if it is an occupational exposure case). If you fail to report the accident within this time-frame, then your employer can deny the claim due to “late notice”.  This does not mean that you should wait for 30 days to report your accident.  In fact, you should report your accident to your employer as soon as you possibly can. The longer you wait, the more the details of your accident will start to become cloudy and inconsistent, and the more your  employer will question if you are really hurt, and you can make your injury worse.

Don’t assume that your employer “must know” about your accident just because it happened in a public place and was witnessed by other people, either.   Often, the employer may ignore the accident and assume you are alright.   I recommend that you give them specific notice of the accident, verbally (with a witness), or via text or email.  That way, if you need treatment in the future, you have evidence to prove that you reported the injury timely. 

What if your Employers Refuses to Report Your Accident?  An employer is supposed to report the accident within seven (7) days, but they do not always follow the law.  If your employer is not cooperating or is mismanaging your claim, then you can report your workplace accident directly to the insurance company or you can contact the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation.  Your employer should have a poster near the time clock that list the name of the worker’s compensation insurance company.  If they do not have this poster, then you may need to talk to an attorney to help you identify the name of the insurance company.  Unfortunately, dealing with an insurance adjuster won’t be any more enjoyable than dealing with an uncooperative employer.  Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can make a huge difference in the success of your case.  For additional questions about Florida Worker’s Compensation injuries, please visit our frequent asked questions page.