Florida workers' compensation benefits

Florida Workers’ Compensation Application Process

Important: We updated this article in March 2023 to ensure all information below is both current and correct. State law outlines who receives Florida workers’ compensation benefits and how the process works. If you were injured or got sick on the job in the Sunshine State, you should focus on feeling better ― not feeling anxious about the claims process.

We’ve gathered the information you need in order to get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve.

Florida Workers’ Compensation Eligibility

The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation requires these employers to carry workers comp coverage:

  • All non-construction industry employers with more than four employees, including part-time and full-time employees.
  • Construction industry employers with one or more full- and part-time employees and contractors must also have Florida workers’ compensation coverage.

Find out more about how to qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

Exceptions include:

  • Farmers with fewer than six regular/full-time employees or no more than 11 seasonal employees that work for less than 30 days.
  • Officers of any corporation who elect to exempt themselves from coverage.
  • Sole proprietors and partners are automatically exempt but may elect to purchase coverage on an individual basis.

Important: Federal employees are not covered by state rules. Learn how to file a federal claim.

How to File Your Florida Workers’ Compensation Claim

Important: Seek treatment immediately if you require emergency or urgent care. Tell the doctor your injury or illness is work-related, and make sure to keep all receipts and bills.

To qualify for Florida workers’ compensation benefits, you must prove your injury or illness is work-related. Every case is different, so your experience may vary, but most applications work like this:

1. Notify your employer within 30 days.

Failing to report your accident or illness within 30 days may put your claim at risk. Generally, the statute of limitations for workers’ comp is two years from your incident date.

Important: Florida workers’ compensation law allows employers to request a drug test for anyone hurt or sick at work. Employees who don’t pass are denied workers comp and may also lose their jobs.

2. Ask which authorized doctor can treat your injury or illness.

You cannot choose your own doctor – the insurer will choose one for you.

Important: See what a Florida workers’ compensation doctor can do for you.

3. Make sure your employer notifies their insurer.

They have seven days from your accident date to notify their insurer using Form DWC-1.

4. Wait for the adjuster to contact you.

You should get a call from the claims adjuster within 24 hours to explain your rights and requirements.

Important: If you don’t get a call, contact the Florida workers’ compensation hotline for assistance: 1-800-342-1741.

5. Review and complete forms.

Within 3-5 days after your employer submits the report, you should get an informational packet in the mail.

Important: You must sign and return the forms in this packet to start the workers’ comp reimbursement process.

6. Wait for a decision.

The insurer must either approve or deny your claim within 14 days. It takes about 3-10 days for medical expenses only, and up to 14 days for claims that include lost wages. If approved, you qualify for lost wages after missing eight work shifts. You get paid for that first seven days once you’ve missed 21 days of work in a row.

Important: You’re less likely to get workers’ comp if you have a preexisting health condition similar to your current injury or illness.

7. Take action if your claim’s denied.

Contact the claims adjuster to try to resolve your dispute. If that doesn’t work, then file a Petition for Benefits with the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims to appeal.

Important: We strongly recommend hiring a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer to help you appeal.

Get all the details on Florida workers’ compensation coverage.

When you’re living with a work-related illness or injury, navigating the Florida workers’ compensation system can make you feel even worse. And since your employer chooses the doctor who diagnoses your illness or injury, you may feel you aren’t being treated or compensated fairly.

That’s why we recommend working with an experienced workers’ comp attorney for free, confidential claim assistance. These specialists typically work on a contingency basis, which means you won’t pay a fee unless you win a cash settlement. You only pay a reasonable, one-time fee when your case is successful.

Want free expert claim help? Click the button below to sign up for a free phone call during regular weekday business hours:

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Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/X: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.