Timely Reporting of An Injury


Was the accident reported timely?

The question would appear to be quite simple, but in most cases, if you are questioning whether the accident was reported timely then the facts of that case may not be that simple.

According to Section 440.185, Florida Statutes, requires a claimant to report a workplace injury within 30 days of when he/she knew or should have known that his/her injury was caused by workplace activities.

If a claimant reports a workplace injury within the designated time frame to the employer and the injury was caused by the workplace activities, then essentially this was reported timely. However, there are always exceptions to the above Florida Statute 440.185, which include:

  1. The employer or the employer’s agent had actual knowledge of the injury;
  2. The cause of the injury could not be identified without a medical opinion and the employee advised the employer within thirty days of receiving such an opinion;
  3. The employer did not put its employees on notice it had opted out of coverage as required by Florida Statute 440.055. or
  4. Exceptional circumstances to justify such a failure.

Regarding the first exception, if the employer had actual knowledge of a claimant becoming injured within the 30 days of the date of accident, but the carrier does not learn of it until after that 30 day time period, the accident would still be considered reported timely.

Regarding the second exception, this typically arises when the claimant does not have a noticeable injury and not until the claimant obtains some type of medical opinion about the cause of injury. However, keep in mind even if the claimant then reports it within 30 days of obtaining a medical opinion, there possibly could be other defenses an employer or carrier could assert if that workplace injury seems questionable.

The third exception is straightforward in that an employer who opts out of coverage in accordance with applicable Florida Statutes must put the employees and other persons performing services for that employer on notice of their lack of entitlement to benefits under Chapter 440 by posting a clear written notice at each worksite of that employer.

And the fourth exception, essentially comes down to the specific facts of that particular case to see if the claimant was justified in his/her failure to report it within the time period allowed.

When you start to inquire further, then investigating the facts of a case is crucial to make the determination whether any of the above 4 exceptions could be applied to determine if that claimant timely reported a workplace injury.

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