If you are on workers comp, you need your benefits to be paid on time, so you can pay your bills. Your landlord, the electric company or the bank that financed your car will likely not care why your payment is late. They just want their money.
As an experienced workers’ comp lawyer, I know how infuriating it can be when your check is late or when your checks arrive sporadically.
Your workers’ comp disability checks may be late for several different reasons.
It’s Just a Mistake
The claims adjuster is the person at the insurance company who is responsible for issuing your check. Unfortunately, most adjusters have many other claims they are working on as well. It is not uncommon for a single adjuster to work several hundred files at the same time. This, of course, can lead to problems.
If your adjuster is ill or goes on vacation, it could cause your check to be late. If your adjuster is overworked or inexperienced, your check could also be delayed. Files are frequently transferred to different adjusters during the course of a claim. Switching your claim to a new adjuster could also delay payment.
Computer errors can also cause delays in payment of your benefits. Your adjuster may give you any number of excuses as to why your check is late. Your adjuster may even rudely insist that your check has not been paid late, even though it clearly has. Regardless of the excuse, you deserve truthful answers to your questions and fair treatment.
Some situations may arise which cause your check to be late that are not the fault of the insurance company. Anything which delays the mail, such as a federal holiday or bad weather, could cause your check to be late. Even though we are in Florida, it is quite common for checks to be late during wintertime, due to snowy weather in other parts of the country.
In these situations, there is not much you can do. You will just have to wait it out.
However, don’t hesitate to let the insurance company know your check is late. It is best to be courteous and polite with the adjuster when calling about a late check. Remember, this is the person that is controlling your money.
An Intentional Delay or Denial of Your Benefits
Unfortunately, your check may be late because the insurance company has a specific reason for not paying you. This reason may be justified or it may not. Here are some common reasons why your checks may have stopped.
- You have reached Maximum Medical Improvement.
- You have been placed on light duty, and your employer has light duty work available.
- The insurance company no longer believes your injury is work related.
- The insurance company suspects you of fraud.
Whether or not the insurance company’s reason for stopping your checks is justified is a matter for the law to decide. Most workers’ comp benefits don’t go on forever and will eventually come to a stop. However, it is important to ensure that your benefits stop at the correct time and not as the result of a negligent or malicious act on the part of the insurance company.
Most states, including Florida, impose penalties on insurance companies for making late payments. In Florida, the insurance company may have to pay up to 20 percent in penalties if your workers’ comp check is late beyond a certain time.
What You Can Do
Workers’ compensation benefits are vital for injured workers. In 2014, almost 3 million people were injured on the job. That’s 3.2 injuries per 100 workers.
When you are hurt at work, your family’s financial future is placed in jeopardy. The workers’ comp system is supposed to pay you when are unable to work as the result of an on-the-job accident. When your checks are late, it can add stress to an already stressful situation.
If your checks are routinely being paid late, you need to do something about it.
- Contact an experienced Gainesville workers’ comp lawyer. Our office has experience in solving the problems behind late and denied work comp benefits.
- If you have had a hard time dealing with the insurance company on your own, a knowledgeable attorney can often stop the late payment of your checks through a simple phone call, letter or email.
- The most extreme action that can be taken is to file a Petition for Benefits. A Petition for Benefits is like a lawsuit that gets the workers’ compensation judge involved to help determine whether or not your benefits have been properly delayed or denied, and can be used to force the insurance company to take the correct action.
Delayed Workers’ Comp Benefits? Consult an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If your workers’ compensation benefits have been cut off, or if your work comp checks are consistently late, you need to talk to an experienced Gainesville workers’ compensation lawyer.
We can help you explore your options and take the appropriate action to help you. We will work diligently to ensure that your workers’ comp checks arrive on time, so you don’t have additional stress over paying your bills and taking care of your family.
Our office has a reputation for quickly fighting back against insurance companies when work comp benefits are not being paid. We will take swift and decisive action to ensure that your benefits are paid correctly and on time.