As workers’ compensation lawyers, we often get questions from employees who want to know what the workers’ compensation plan covers. Therefore, we’ve decided to write this article to explain what is covered by workers’ compensation in Florida.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private-sector employers reported 2.7 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2020. According to the report, these figures were lower than the numbers recorded in 2019. With many Americans getting injured at work, knowing what to do when injured is important.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation in Florida is a form of insurance for employees who are injured or disabled while doing their job. It is provided by the employer and gives them an incentive to prioritize their employees’ safety. Typically, it covers the cost of medical care for the injured employee, including physical therapy, prescription drugs, and visits to the doctor.
In addition, travel expenses to and from approved healthcare providers, wage replacement benefits, and temporary disability benefits are covered. In some cases where an employee dies on the job, their family is also entitled to death benefits.
Employees who are provided with workers’ compensation waive the right to sue their employers should they get injured on the job. In return, the employers work to keep the workplace safe. Unlike most personal injury cases, workers’ compensation is paid regardless of who is at fault for the injury. Therefore, workers’ compensation will be paid to employees regardless of whether they or the employer are responsible for the injury.
Who Is Required to Have Workers’ Compensation in Florida?
Laws concerning workers’ compensation differ from state to state. In Florida, all businesses with four or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. This is regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time. There are some exceptions to this. For example, sole proprietors are excluded, although they can purchase coverage by filing for election of coverage.
Agricultural businesses with at least six regular employees and a minimum of 12 seasonal employees are required to have workers’ compensation, while construction companies must have coverage for all employees. To ensure that all eligible businesses provide workers’ compensation, defaulting businesses could see their operations halted until they comply and pay a penalty. Not complying with this could see the company facing civil charges.
What Is Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Florida?
Under Florida law, workers’ compensation mainly covers medical benefits and lost wages. This section explains some things not covered by workers’ compensation.
Pain and Suffering
Most personal injury lawsuits cover pain and emotional distress, but workers’ compensation does not. While workers can file for pain and suffering, even with strong evidence, there’s a slim chance that they will receive any compensation.
Injuries That Occurred Outside Work
Workers’ compensation in Florida only covers injuries that employees sustained while carrying out their duties. Injuries sustained during the course of a working day but not while carrying out their duties are not included. For example, if a worker had an accident while driving to work, they will not be covered under workers’ compensation. However, if the injury occurred while driving the company car for an official task, then they are covered by workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation does not cover injuries caused by an employee’s behavioral issues. This includes injuries sustained while fighting or drunk.
In addition to these conditions, here are some other conditions not covered by workers’ compensation:
- Pre-existing injuries (unless aggravated by a work injury)
- Acts of God
- Basic injuries and illnesses like cuts, flu, and bruises
What To Do After an Injury at Work
What you do after an injury is dependent on the severity of the injury. If you’re seriously injured, then you should see a doctor immediately. If that is not the case, you should report the incident to your employer, who will begin your compensation process. Your employer will most likely recommend a medical practitioner for you. However, you can choose a different one if you feel uncomfortable with their recommendation.
Here’s How Florida’s Best Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help You
We hope all workers in Florida are aware of the benefits that come with workers’ compensation. However, we also recognize that not everyone is aware of these benefits, while some situations look like grey areas.
If you’ve been recently injured while at work, you may be covered by workers’ compensation. However, if you are not certain, you can reach out to us for a free consultation. We’ll go through the events leading to your accident to determine if you are covered by workers’ compensation. Contact us today for a free case review.