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Medical Care And The Importance Of Documentation:the Reporting Rule
When an injury occurs at work, the two most overlooked aspects of the process are requesting medical care and documenting the accident. Most injured workers will ask for the day off to recover from their traumatizing injuries. Some are in such shock that their first inclination is to go home and attempt to mitigate the injuries. Most employers do not hold workplace seminars, and thus, their employees are not apprised of the Florida Rules of Workers Compensation.

Reporting Workplace Injuries

The first arbitrary rule in the Florida Workers Compensation law is that an employee must generally report his/her accident within 30 days of the occurrence of the accident… or within 30 days that the Employee had knowledge of the accident manifesting from the workplace. The latter part of the law addresses repetitive trauma injuries, injuries that occur over time from stressful heavy lifting or other such repetitive movements. An injured worker should contact a manager or at the least, a co-worker, to ensure that the accident is documented. An incident report should be filled out by a supervisor which at a minimum, evidences: the date of the injury, the mechanism of  injury, the presence of any witnesses, the body parts injured, and the location of the injury. This report is crucial, and is essential in situations in which an insurance carrier denies the case for lack of reporting. The incident report will serve as the proper document to contest the “lack of reporting” defense. Most carriers will authorize treatment immediately upon receipt of an incident report.

Requesting Care after a Workplace Accident

Next, an employee should request medical care. Most employers will ask their employees whether or not the injuries are severe enough to require medical attention. This is not the time to attempt to “brave it” or “take one for the team.” Most employers will call their risk insurance representatives immediately after hearing a no and will indicate that the employee refused medical care. It follows that when an employee later requests care through an attorney or pro se, most insurance companies will deny all future medical care in those instances where an injured worker refused treatment. It is equally as important to request medical care from a supervisor/manager. All companies with 4 or more employees have the duty and obligation to carry Workers Compensation insurance.
 Thus, when an accident occurs, an employee should report the accident immediately, and ensure that an actual document is filled out. This document will serve as the all-encompassing “incident report.”
Next, one should request medical care from a manager/supervisor as soon as he/she feels pain in relation to a workplace accident.
These crucial steps will ensure that a claim is authorized by the insurance carrier, and that the proper medical treatment is provided.


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