Rights of Injured Workers in the Florida Hospitality Industry

The Sunshine State is famous for its beach resorts and luxury hotels, restaurants and clubs. A lot of hardworking Floridians make sure that all the guests have the best experience possible. But what happens when hotel and restaurant staff members suffer an accident? Can they rely on workers comp for hospitality workers?

Here are the insights of an experienced Cape Coral workers comp lawyer on this topic.

Are Hospitality Workers at Risk?

People who work in the hospitality sector have to do a lot of legwork and various types of physical labor to keep everything running smoothly. As a result, workplace injuries are not unheard of among hotel, restaurant and casino workers.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes a constant increase in fatal workplace accidents among hospitality workers at national level:

  • 2020: 230 cases
  • 2021: 255 cases
  • 2022: 316 cases

Also, the average rate of injury among workers in the hospitality sector is 2.9 per 100 full-time workers. This means that nearly three out of every 100 hospitality workers is likely to be injured in a workplace accident.

The question is: does workers comp provide them with benefits?

Florida Law Covers Employees from Most Industries

With the exception of a few specific categories, the Florida workers compensation system includes all employees, irrespective of their type of employment: full time, part time or seasonal.

The key requirements for qualifying to file a claim are:

  • You are an employee of the company
  • Your accident happened while on the clock
  • You suffered the injury in the course of your regular duties
  • You were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Many Hospitality Workers Are Hired as Independent Contractors

One of the main problems encountered by lawyers is that many injured workers who want to file a claim are independent contractors. This is a widespread issue, especially among seasonal workers in the marinas, hotels and beach bars.

The law does not offer coverage to independent contractors, because it is deemed that they are not under the employer’s full control. However, a skilled attorney may find out that the injured worker should be included in workers comp for hospitality workers.

hospitality workers are covered by workers comp

Many workers are misclassified as independent contractors. In reality, the true nature of their relationship with the company is that of an employee. Therefore, even if you employer says that you do not have the right to file a claim, consult with a Cape Coral workers comp lawyer.

What Benefits Are Available for Injured Hospitality Workers?

The workers compensation system aims at helping workers recover from their injuries and returning to work fully healed. To this end, the system offers the following:

  • Coverage of medical care costs
  • Replacement wages
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Disability benefits

Let us explain what each of them consists of in more detail:

1. Medical Care Costs

You will receive treatment covered by the workers comp insurance company, but only if you go to the doctor they appoint. You cannot see your own doctor, or take any medication/treatment not approved by the workers comp doctor. If you do these, the costs will not be covered by the insurer.

2. Wage Replacement

While you are under treatment, you will receive 2/3 of your regular weekly wages, calculated as an average for the last 13 weeks before your workplace accident. However, the replacement wages cannot exceed the state maximum – $1,197 per week.

3. Vocational Rehabilitation

Workers comp for hospitality workers also includes vocational rehabilitation services, if your workplace injuries do not heal completely and you cannot return to your previous job. You will receive counseling, training and support to qualify for a new job.

4. Disability Benefits

These benefits are available to injured workers who are left with permanent disability. A special commission will evaluate your disability rating and determine the value of your benefits.

Schedule a Free Case Review with a Cape Coral Workers Comp Lawyer!

If you work in the hospitality industry, you may find it difficult to file a workers comp claim. However, an experienced Cape Coral workers comp lawyer may be able to prove that you qualify for these benefits.

We encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible after your workplace accident and schedule a free case review at 954-324-COMP!

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