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What You Need to Know about Florida Workers’ Comp Insurance
If you are an employee in the State of Florida, your employer will most likely need to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer doesn’t carry this insurance, he or she may face major fines and other penalties, as well as be subject to a personal injury lawsuit from an injured employee.
Florida workers’ comp insurance is intended to help both injured workers and their employers. When an employee is injured on the job, he or she simply needs to file a report with his or her employer, who then files a claim with the insurance company. The insurance company then provides compensation to the employee while he or she recovers from the injury and, in turn, the employee doesn’t need to file a lawsuit to recover compensation.
At least, that’s how Florida workers’ comp insurance is supposed to work. In reality, workers’ comp claims are often denied, if the claims are made at all. Employers may “forget” to file the claim to save money on their insurance premiums. The insurance company itself might outright deny the claim or deeply devalue it. No matter the situation, a Florida workers’ comp insurance lawyer can help you get the full compensation you deserve.
At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we have helped hundreds of workers throughout Florida get the compensation they deserve. Our legal team has taken on workers’ compensation insurance companies for over 30 years, and we know what it takes to get the full benefits you could be owed. Call us at 866-460-1990 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
Who Is Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation in Florida?
Most businesses that operate in Florida are required to carry workers’ comp insurance. This list commonly includes:
- All non-construction and non-agriculture businesses with 4 or more employees, including owners and LLC partners
- Agricultural businesses with at least 6 regular employees, or at least 12 seasonal workers (someone who works at least 30 days in a season, but no more than 45 days in a year)
- Construction companies with at least 1 employee, including the owner or any partners
- Out-of-state employers who have any regular employees in the State of Florida; workers temporarily in Florida may use their coverage from their home state
- Subcontractors must have their own workers’ comp insurance, and businesses who win a contract must provide workers’ comp to everyone on the project who doesn’t have their own insurance
Some businesses may waive workers’ compensation insurance, but by doing so they open themselves up to personal injury lawsuits. In addition, certain industries are exempt from workers’ comp requirements because they are covered by the Jones Act, the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, and/or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
How to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in Florida
If you have been injured at work, you may be able to file a workers’ comp claim. However, you must first determine if your injury qualifies for compensation. In general, your injury will qualify if it happened “in the course and scope of employment.”
Rather than listing injuries that qualify, it’s much easier to list disqualifying injuries. These include injuries:
- That occur while you’re off the clock
- That occur at optional recreational or social activities organized by your employer
- That occur when you deviate from the course of your employment, such as using heavy machinery when you aren’t qualified to do so
- Caused by intentionally trying to hurt yourself or someone else
- Caused during illegal activity
- That occur when you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol
There are a few other disqualifying injuries, but they aren’t as common. If your injury qualifies for workers’ compensation, follow these steps:
1. Report the Injury to Your Employer
In Florida, you must report injuries within 30 days of their happening. If you’re reporting an illness or other ongoing condition, you must report it within 30 days of you realizing it’s connected to your work. When you report your injury, you should include:
- When the accident happened
- The details of the incident
- Any and all symptoms you’re experiencing
2. Seek Medical Treatment
After you report your condition, your employer should choose an occupational doctor for you to visit. Unlike other states, the employer chooses the doctor, not you, unless it’s an emergency situation. No matter the doctor, you should discuss all of the symptoms you’re experiencing, as well as the cause of your injuries.
3. File Your Claim with the Insurance Company
After you report your injury to your employer, he or she should file a claim on your behalf within 7 days. If that doesn’t happen, you can file your claim directly with the insurance company. The insurance company will launch an investigation into whether you’re eligible for compensation. Florida law requires insurance companies to promptly approve or deny claims. Unfortunately, denials are quite common.
Benefits You May Receive from Florida Workers’ Comp Insurance
The State of Florida sets minimums and maximums that workers can receive in compensation while they are unable to work because of an injury. Employees with temporary total disability can receive ⅔ of their average weekly wages. For severe injuries, the limit is 80%.
Additionally, employees with a temporary partial disability are eligible for up to 80% of the difference in their wages between 80% of their wages before the injury and their wages after the injury.
No matter the rate, the weekly benefit cap for 2019 is $939.
Getting Help from a Florida Workers’ Comp Insurance Lawyer if Your Claim Is Denied
If your workers’ comp claim is one of the many that are denied, you have options. You must file a Petition for Benefits within 2 years of your initial injury or a year after your last wage loss or medical payment, whichever is later. This petition must be filed with the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
If your claim is still denied after you file your petition, you have legal options. The process can become quite complicated, and it’s important to speak with a Florida workers’ comp insurance lawyer as soon as possible. At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we have helped injured workers get the compensation they deserve for over 30 years. Call us at 866-460-1990 or contact us onlinefor a free, no-obligation consultation today.
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