Florida Workers’ Compensation Law Explained Simply

December 21, 2019
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Florida workers’ compensation law protects you if you get hurt on the job. For workers comp, Florida law requires most employers to carry an insurance policy that provides these benefits. If you sustain injuries at work, the policy should cover your medical bills. If you have to miss work due to your injuries, this coverage should also compensate you for a portion of your lost wages.

If you suffered an injury on the job, you may be wondering how to file a claim and get your benefits. If you are having trouble getting your benefits, a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can help you file your claim or fight a claim denial.

Meanwhile, these are the most important facts you should know about workers’ comp in Florida.

Does My Employer Have to Carry Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Florida law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation (WC) coverage if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • Construction industry employers with one or more employees, full- or part-time;

  • Non-construction industry employers with four or more employees, full- or part-time;

  • Farming or agriculture industry employers with six or more regular employees; or

  • Farming or agriculture industry employer with 12 or more seasonal employees who work for at least 30 days.

This law applies to private companies, governmental agencies, public entities, and employment agencies.

Does My Employer Have a Workers’ Compensation Policy in Place?

Although the law requires all qualifying employers to provide workers’ comp insurance, some companies fail to carry the required coverage.

You can verify online whether your employer has the necessary coverage in place. The Division of Workers’ Compensation’s Employee Assistance Office (EAO) offers a simple Proof of Coverage search page. Type your employer’s name and city in the search fields, click to submit, and you will have an answer in seconds.

Do I Qualify for Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Most full-time and part-time employees qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if they sustain injuries on the job. You may not qualify for benefits if you fall into any of these categories:

  • Independent contractors,

  • Seasonal farmworkers (if you work less than 30 days),

  • Professional athletes,

  • Volunteer workers,

  • Workers performing mandated community service, and

  • Domestic workers.

Sometimes, even if an injured employee should qualify for workers’ comp benefits in Florida, the employer will use one of these exclusions to deny coverage. If you encounter this scenario, contact a workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible to explore your options.

Will Workers’ Compensation Cover My Injuries?

The work-related conditions covered by workers; compensation insurance are:

  • Accidental injury,

  • Illness,

  • Disability, and

  • Death.

As long as you got sick or hurt on the job, you should be entitled to Florida workers’ compensation benefits. However, the insurance carrier can deny you benefits if they can prove that, at the time of the incident, you:

  • Had a preexisting condition,

  • Were drunk or high,

  • Broke the law,

  • Violated company procedures or policies,

  • Violated company safety rules, or

  • Engaged in unsafe or dangerous behavior.

For example, if you and a coworker engaged in horseplay and, as a result, you fell and broke your arm, your claim might be denied. However, as long as you were following company policy when you got injured, you should have a valid basis for a Florida workers’ comp claim.

What Does Workers’ Comp Pay For?

For a work-related injury, workers’ comp pays for all medical treatment and care. If you must take time off work because of the injury, the policy should pay a portion of your lost income. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation in Florida pays only about 65% of your hourly wage or salary, up to the state statutory maximum, currently $971 per week.

If the doctor clears you to return to work part-time or with modified duties, workers’ comp insurance typically compensates you for partial disability.

How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Florida law requires you to notify your employer of any job-related injury within 30 days of the incident. The employer must provide you with the workers’ comp insurance information within seven days of your notification. You must then file an incident report with the insurance company. In most cases, the workers’ compensation carrier will require you to see a medical professional of their choosing for an independent medical evaluation (IME).

When Should I Contact a Workers’ Comp Lawyer?

A substantial worker compensation Florida claim can cause problems for the employer, including higher premiums and denial of coverage. As a result, your employer may deny your eligibility or discourage you from filing a claim. These actions could be illegal.

If the insurance company denies your claim or you encounter any problems during this process, contact a Florida workers comp attorney immediately.

Rue & Ziffra can assist you with filing your claim or fight to overturn a denial of benefits. In some cases, you may have grounds to pursue legal action against a third-party or even your employer, if the employer does not have the required insurance coverage in place.

To learn more about your rights and what benefits you qualify for under Florida workers’ compensation law, contact us now.

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