Florida State Workers' Comp Law: What You Need to Know
Almost all Florida employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance to cover and on-the-job injuries suffered by an employee. The injured worker can receive compensation for lost wages and medical expenses associated with the injury, regardless of fault.
A company can either self-insure or obtain private or state insurance to cover its workers. The employee does not share in the cost of this insurance premium. In exchange, the worker is prevented from suing his employer for further compensation to cover the expenses from his injury.
What Does Workers' Compensation Cover?
About 100,000 Floridians apply for these benefits every year which can cover a temporary total disability, a critical injury, retraining benefits, permanent disability, as well as death benefits.
Because giant insurance companies provide workers' compensation insurance, the injured may not receive all the compensation they deserve under the law unless they have an Florida workers' compensation attorney on their side.
Workers' compensation is there for all of us - it is actually the oldest social insurance program. Florida adopted its workers' compensation program in 1935. Under Florida law, workers' compensation must be offered to all full-time employees if there are four or more employees, unless the business is a construction company, which must offer workers' compensation coverage to all of its employees.
Florida workers' compensation law can be found in Chapter 440 in the Florida Statutes.
Even though fault is not assessed, the employer is still required to keep the workplace safe. Some employers do not take this responsibility seriously and may expose workers to conditions that result in slip and fall accidents, chemical burns, toxin exposure, and heavy equipment injuries.
Florida Workplace Coverage Requirements
Employers in Florida are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, with coverage requirements determined by the number of employees and the type of industry, as stated by the Division of Workers’ Compensation:
- Construction industry: Workers’ comp coverage is always required, for any number of the number of employees, even one. This includes owners of a construction business who are corporate officers or members of an LLC.
- Non-construction industries (not including agriculture): Employers with 4 or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Sole proprietors or partners in a partnership are not considered employees unless they choose to be included under the business’ workers’ compensation policy.
- Agricultural industry: Coverage is required when there are 6 regular employees and/or 12 seasonal workers who work more than 30 days in a season but no more than 45 days in a calendar year.
Contractors have the responsibility of ensuring that all sub-contractors are carrying the required workers’ compensation coverage before they begin work on a project. If the sub-contractor does not have workers’ compensation coverage, the contractor is responsible for paying benefits if a sub-contractor employee suffers a work-related injury, illness, or fatality.
When out-of-state employers are working in Florida, they must notify their insurance carriers. If they do not have workers’ compensation insurance, they are required to obtain a policy with a Florida-approved insurance carrier that meets all requirements under state law. Call the workers comp attorneys at Farah & Farah toll free at (800) 533-3555.
Pain and Suffering
While workers' compensation will cover medical bills and lost wages for an injury at the workplace or on-the job, it does not compensate you for pain and suffering which you could expect to receive for an injury outside of the workplace.
Farah & Farah has found that even with this limitation there are some circumstances that would allow full recovery of a typical injury case.
Our Jacksonville workers' compensation lawyers will investigate whether a third party or defective product contributed to your injury. If so, they can be named in a lawsuit. And you may be able to sue your employer if you can show that his actions resulted in a situation where there was a "virtual certainty" an injury would occur; where he concealed the dangers; and where there had been prior complaints by other employees.
Changes in Florida Workers' Compensation Law
Workers' compensation law has changed over the years. In October 2003, changes were made to state law that curtailed the workers' right to a second opinion from a doctor of his or her choosing following an injury in the workplace. Instead, the insurance carrier selects the doctor to diagnose and treat your injuries.
Under new state law, attorneys' fees are limited. As a result, many law firms have made the decision not to invest time litigating a workers' compensation claim. The injured will have a tough time finding a law firm to represent them and insurance companies know this. It has emboldened the industry to deny more claims than ever.
Call a Jacksonville Workers' Comp Attorney at (800) 533-3555 for a Consultation
Jacksonville workers' compensation law attorneys at Farah & Farah are dedicated to representing the injured in workers' compensation claims up until the time the Florida legislature nails shut the doors to the courthouse.