You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you suffer a workplace accident in Florida. However, not all claims are approved at first for various reasons, such as incomplete information on your application, uncertainty about your accident or because you missed a deadline.
It can be frustrating and costly to have a claim denied. You may have to foot the resulting medical bills by yourself, not to mention the missed wages when you cannot work due to your injuries or a disability arising from your workplace accident.
Fortunately, all is not lost. You can appeal the decision to deny your claim and get your benefits approved. Here is what you need to do.
Informal negotiations with your employer or the insurance company
Before formally launching an appeal, it is best to talk to your employer or the insurance company about what can be done to resolve the matter. It is the easiest and fastest way of handling a denied claim, given that some issues can be resolved without external intervention. However, if such talks do not bear fruit, it may be time to take things to the next level.
Filing a petition
A petition for benefits form is filed with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims (OJCC). In the petition, you will be required to shed further light on the details of your accident, the injuries and losses you suffered and the benefits you seek.
The OJCC may involve a neutral mediator to find a viable solution. If that proves unsuccessful, and there are disagreements on the benefits to be paid, there will be a formal hearing chaired by a workers’ compensation judge. The judge will decide whether to approve your claim after reviewing the evidence from all the parties.
You can take your appeal further up to the First District Court of Appeals if the judge’s decision does not go your way.
Consider seeking legal guidance
The appeal process can be overwhelming, with a lot of back and forth involved before the final verdict. There are also crucial timelines that you must observe during the appeal process.
Therefore, it is best to reach out for legal guidance to protect your interests and increase your chances of a successful outcome if your workers’ compensation claim was denied.