Frequently Asked Workers’ Compensation Questions*

Q. How long do I have to report the accident to my employer?

A. You should report the accident immediately to your supervisor in order not to cause a delay in receiving any workers compensation benefits.

Q. Do I have to pay for any of the medical costs?

A. No, the University or its insurance company must pay for all authorized and medically necessary care in accordance with a schedule of reimbursement allowances as authorized by the Division of Workers Compensation.

Q. How are the doctors and other health care providers paid?

A. All authorized health care providers must bill your employer s workers compensation insurance carrier directly. If you receive a bill, mail it to Risk Management. Do not pay it yourself. If you know the claim number the carrier has assigned to your case, write it on all bills and correspondence.

Q. Can I choose my own doctor?

A. No, the University or its insurance carrier has the right to choose the doctor who will treat the injured employee. Injured employees should not seek medical attention from their UM Care physician or primary care provider.

Q. If I am unable to work because of my job-related injury or illness can the University fire me?

A. The University is not obligated to hold an employees job. However, the law states that the employer can not “discharge, threaten to discharge or intimidate or coerce an employee because of the employees valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation.”

Q. Can benefits be reduced for failure to use safety appliance or follow safety rules?

A. Where injury is caused by the refusal of the employee to use a safety appliance or to observe a safety rule required by statute or lawfully promulgated by the Division, which was brought prior to the accident to his/her knowledge, or where injury is caused by the knowing refusal of the employee to use a safety appliance provided by the employer, compensation may be reduced by 25%.

Q. If my employer has a Drug Free Workplace Program, can I still get workers compensation benefits?

A. It depends, if you test positive for drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, you may lose your workers compensation benefits.

Q. Should I hire an attorney?

A. You are not required to have an attorney. Free assistance is available. Disputes between you and your employers workers compensation insurance carrier can usually be handled quickly by calling the Employee Assistance Office of the Division of Workers Compensation at 1-800-342-1741 or the Employee Assistance Office near you.

You cannot have a dispute heard by a Judge of Compensation Claims until you have participated in good faith in the Employee Assistance Office dispute resolution program.

You may hire an attorney to help you if you choose. If you do hire an attorney, you may be responsible for paying the attorneys fees.

* The above questions and answers were taken from the “Employees Rights and Responsibilities Under the Workers Compensation Law,” published by the Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security.