When you suffer an injury at work, you have a right to collect workers’ comp benefits under Florida law. However, it’s not uncommon for your employer and their insurance provider to refuse to pay the workers’ comp benefits that you believe you rightfully deserve.
While many such disputed workers’ compensation claims are settled with the help of an attorney, some are resolved through a formal hearing before a workers’ comp judge. During this hearing, the judge will review all the evidence available, rule on objections, and then issue a final ruling either awarding or denying your benefits.
Because of the numerous rules and procedures involved in a Florida workers’ comp hearing, it is critical that you prepare well in advance. Consulting with an experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can help you prepare thoroughly and present the proper evidence during the hearing.
Gathering all the evidence
When preparing for a workers’ comp hearing in Florida, the first thing you need to do is gather all evidence you can to show that you were wrongfully denied your benefits.
Usually, evidence will include:
- Unpaid medical bills.
- Certified copies of medical records.
- Doctor’s testimonies, and,
- Any other supporting documentation you may have.
Due to Florida’s hearsay rule, you cannot testify about the things other people told you. Instead, you can only testify about something you experienced, said, or saw.
Therefore, make sure that you have the correct documentation and organize your thoughts well before your workers’ comp hearing. It might be even more helpful if you write down a timeline of your claim. This should include:
- When you got injured
- The date and time you reported the injury and requested benefits
- How your injury symptoms progressed over time
- Important medical events such as surgeries
Building a workers’ compensation case in Florida
As soon you request a workers’ comp hearing, you’ll be notified of the initial date. Most likely, you will be allowed ample time to prepare for the initial hearing. From the date of notification to the date scheduled for the initial hearing, the workers’ comp discovery process may be carried out as per Chapter 60Q-114 Rules of Procedure for Workers’ Compensation Adjudications.
During this process, you and your employer’s insurance provider will exchange information and documentation. You must adhere to all the rules regarding sharing and submitting information, especially if you decide not to work with an attorney. Doing this will ensure that you are not barred from presenting your evidence during the hearing.
Why is having a lawyer critical?
For most injured employees in Florida, handling a worker’s comp hearing with no legal assistance can be too difficult. You may not know what legal arguments you need to make to invalidate your employer’s or their insurance provider’s claim. Besides, you may not understand all the rules and the kind of evidence you need to show the court that you deserve a certain amount of benefit.
Given the complexity of the hearing process and the many rules involved, you owe it to yourself to hire a skilled Florida workers’ compensation lawyer. The right attorney knows what evidence to gather, what to say in court and everything else that needs done from the beginning of your workers’ comp hearing to its conclusion.
Hire an experienced Florida worker’s comp lawyer before the hearing
If your workers’ comp case is in dispute, our Florida workers’ comp lawyers can help. We can help you prepare adequately for the hearing. We can also help you negotiate with the insurance company – potentially eliminating the need for a workers’ compensation trial.
Get in touch with our law firm today at 561-513-4376 to schedule a free consultation.