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What You Need to Know about the Most Important Parts of Chapter 440 Florida Statute
Like all other states, Florida maintains its own set of laws governing the workers’ compensation insurance industry and business regulations related to it. Found in Chapter 440 of the Florida Statutes, Florida’s workers’ comp laws have many similarities to other states’ laws along with a number of key differences.
Reviewing the information found in Florida Statutes Chapter 440 can provide invaluable information in the event that you are a business owner or employee who has questions about Florida workers’ comp laws. Knowing what the chapter says is especially important if you are an employee who was injured on-the-job and who wants to know what your rights and requirements are.
To simplify the often complex legal language found in Chapter 440 Florida Statute, you can consult the guide below. It will provide the key laws, requirements, procedures, and exceptions related to workers’ comp claims and the industry in general.
Remember that you always have the right to secure legal assistance from workers’ compensation attorneys in Port St. Lucie or anywhere along the Treasure Coast. A workers’ comp lawyer can assist with filing your claim, appealing a denied claim, or exploring your options for additional personal injury claims against third parties or the manufacturers of defective products that contributed to your injury. Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd has decades of experience assisting injured workers in central Florida with securing the compensation they need to heal medically and financially.
Schedule a free consultation with a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer today when you call 866-460-1990 or contact us online.
Requirement for Employers to Provide Workers’ Compensation to All Employees, with Few Exceptions
Florida Statute §440.02 provides the definitions of an employer that is required to provide workers’ compensation for all company employees, including the owners of the company. These definitions include:
- Any Non-Construction or Non-Agricultural Business with 4 or more employees, including all owners who are corporate officers or LLC members
- Any Construction Business with 1 or more employees, including all owners who are corporate officers and LLC members
- Any Agricultural Business with 6 or more regular employees or 12 seasonal workers. A seasonal worker is defined as someone who works over 30 days in a season but less than 45 days in a calendar year.
- Out of State Employers with employees working in Florida are required to provide a Florida workers’ comp policy from an approved insurance provider that complies with Florida laws and the state’s insurance code. Temporary out-of-state workers may be eligible to use their existing home state workers’ comp coverage (§440.094).
- Subcontractors and Subcontractors-of-Subcontractors must provide proof of workers’ comp insurance coverage to all contracting organizations. The contract-awarding business must provide workers’ comp coverage to everyone involved in the project who cannot provide this proof (§440.10).
440.04 and 440.05 allow certain businesses to waive the workers’ comp requirements for sole proprietors (owner/operator), corporate officers, and LLC members. However, anyone exempted from workers’ comp laws could potentially hold the company liable for injury torts.
Additionally, employees in industries covered by insurance policies related to federal acts are not required to be covered by a Florida workers’ comp policy (§440.09). Exemptions apply to those covered by the Jones Act, Federal Employer’s Liability Act, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
Incidents Covered by Florida Workers’ Comp Laws
Workers’ comp insurance provides benefits to pay for the cost of any injury or death that occurs as a result of “work performed in the course and scope of employment.” There are a number of caveats and exclusions to this requirement (§440.092):
- Accidents that occur while going to or coming from work
- Recreational or social activities organized by the employer unless they are mandatory
- Injuries that occur while the employee is “deviating from the course of employment,” such as leaving the workplace without permission
Accidents that occur during errands or travel that has been requested by the employer are covered so long as the employee is performing work-related duties.
Additionally, employees may not be covered if (§440.09):
- Their injuries were intentionally caused by themselves or while trying to injure someone else
- They were committing an illegal act when they were injured
- They are attempting to deceive or defraud the employer or their workers’ comp insurance carrier
- They were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their injury
Limitations on Timely Claims and Benefits
Workers have 30 days from the time of the incident or the time they notice their injury to report their injury to their employer, with few exceptions (§ 440.185). Employees also have up to two years to file for benefits related to the reported injury (§ 440.19).
Workers’ comp benefits provide replacement for employee wages up to a certain rate. However, employees cannot receive any weekly compensation higher than the average weekly wage for Florida as a whole. In 2019, this weekly benefit was capped at $939.
Employees with a temporary total disability (TTD) can receive 66.66% of their average weekly wages or 80% for severe injuries. Employees with a temporary partial disability (TPD) are eligible for up to 80% of the difference between 80% of their average weekly wage and the salary, wages, and other earnings (§440.15).
Restrictions on Treating Physicians
Injured employees must seek medical treatment from a medical provider approved by the employer and/or his or her insurance carrier (§440.13). This medical provider will determine the extent of your injuries, whether you have a total or partial disability that prevents you from working, and when you are healed enough to continue working again.
Working with a Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
The laws, rules, and regulations put forth by the Chapter 440 Florida Statute may seem restrictive, but injured employees still have a number of rights. If your employer denies your rights or you receive a denied claim from the company’s insurer, you can use the legal system to your advantage to secure the compensation you need to heal and thrive.
Injured employees also have the right to pursue possible injury claims against negligent parties that are not their direct employer. These third-party liability claims could apply to defective products manufacturers, organizations responsible for your working conditions that are not directly contracting you, and other third parties that could be related to your scope of work.
File a strong workers’ compensation claim, and explore what available legal strategies you have for seeking additional compensation when you speak to a Florida workers’ comp lawyer today.
You can schedule a free consultation with a workers’ comp attorney in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Okeechobee, or Vero Beach today. Simply contact us now or call 866-460-1990 to book your free initial case review.
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