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
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:
- The employer or the employer’s agent had actual knowledge of the injury;
- 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;
- The employer did not put its employees on notice it had opted out of coverage
as required by Florida Statute 440.055. or
- 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.