Workers compensation is a vital system designed to protect employees who suffer injuries or illnesses while performing their job duties. Florida laws governing workers’ compensation are quite specific, and many employees have questions about who qualifies for benefits.
This blog post will provide a detailed overview of the eligibility criteria for workers’ compensation benefits in Florida. Our Tampa workers compensation lawyers are here to help you with your claim.
An Overview of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides financial assistance to employees who have incurred medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and wage loss due to a work-related accident or illness.
Chapter 440 of the Florida Statutes outlines the specific requirements and provisions related to workers’ compensation.
Coverage of Medical Expenses
In Florida, medical treatment authorized by your employer or your employer’s insurance provider will be covered under workers’ compensation. This means that in most cases, you can submit bills for services such as doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, and prescription medication for reimbursement.
Florida workers’ compensation also provides wage replacement benefits. Workers comp benefits for temporary disability are 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage.
Which Companies Must Have Coverage?
Florida Statute 440.02(15)(a) outlines the requirements for employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance. The requirement varies based on the number of employees and the industry.
Some categories of workers such as railroad workers are not covered by workers’ compensation in Florida.
In the non-construction sector, employers with four or more employees, whether full-time or part-time, must provide workers’ compensation coverage for all their employees. This applies to businesses across various sectors such as retail, healthcare, education, and more.
In the construction sector, employers with one or more employees, whether full-time or part-time, are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for all their employees. This includes workers directly involved in construction activities as well as those in related roles such as site supervisors, project managers, and even administrative staff if they are considered employees.
These employers are also responsible for ensuring that any subcontractor complies with coverage requirements before the subcontractor begins work on the project.
In the agricultural sector, farmers with six or more regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal employees who work for 30 or more days are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for all their employees. This includes not only field workers but also those involved in related activities such as packing, processing, and transportation.
Provisions for Out-of-State Employers
Out-of-state employers who have employees working in Florida must immediately inform their insurance carrier. They must either have a Florida workers’ compensation insurance policy or add an endorsement to their out-of-state policy that includes Florida in section 3.A. of the policy.
To be eligible for workers’ compensation, individuals must be employees and not independent contractors. Independent contractors essentially work for themselves and are therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation insurance benefits.
However, employers may misclassify employees as independent contractors. If you aren’t sure whether you qualify, talk to a Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer.
Injuries and Illnesses Related to Work
For workers’ compensation eligibility in Florida, it’s crucial that the injury or illness is directly related to the individual’s job. Work-related injuries are usually straightforward, such as injuries sustained from machinery at work or falls at a construction site.
Occupational illnesses may require a more comprehensive approach, but they do occur and significantly impact many people’s lives across the U.S.
Reporting a Workplace Injury
In Florida, employees have a 30-day window from the date of the accident to report a workplace injury to their employer. If the injury or illness is not immediately apparent, the 30-day period begins from the date the employee is informed of their disability by a medical professional. The deadline for filing a claim is two years from the date of the accident.
Exceptions to the Reporting Requirement
Florida law acknowledges several exceptions to the 30-day reporting requirement. These exceptions apply when the employer has actual knowledge of the injury, or when the employer fails to comply with the statutory notice requirements of the workers’ compensation law.
Florida law also recognizes “exceptional circumstances” that may justify missing the deadline, but these are determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the specific facts of the case.
Call Our Tampa Workers Compensation Lawyers
Understanding the eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation benefits in Florida is crucial for all employees. It’s important to be aware of your rights and obligations in the event of a work-related injury or illness.
If you find yourself in such a situation, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel from Work Injury Rights to ensure you receive the benefits you’re entitled to. Contact us at 954-833-5226 for a free consultation.