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Can Union Employees Collect Workers Compensation Benefits?

Every state, including Florida, has their own rules and regulations when it comes to workers compensation. Not only does each state have their own rules about how much you can collect in workers comp benefits, but they also have their own guidelines as to how long you’re allowed to stay out on workers comp. Aside from that, the requirements to qualify for workers compensation benefits are practically the same in all 50 states. Our Miami workers comp lawyers are very familiar with Florida’s workers compensation laws. They’re also very familiar with which categories of workers are not eligible for workers compensation benefits.

When you meet with one of our Florida injury lawyers for the first time, they’ll go over these categories of exempt employees and make sure you don’t fall into one of these groups. They can also discuss the fact that you are in a union and explain how that may impact your workers compensation claim.

If you still have questions about your own workers comp case, feel free to contact our office directly. We do offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose by sitting down and discussing your case with one of our seasoned associates.

Almost All Employees in Florida are Eligible for Workers Compensation

For the most part, all employees who work in the State of Florida are eligible to collect workers compensation benefits. The keyword there is “employee.” If you’re not categorized as an employee for workers compensation purposes, then you will have to find some other recourse against your employer if you get hurt at work.

For example, consultants and independent contractors are not considered employees. Therefore, if they get injured on the job, their only option will be to file a personal injury lawsuit against the company they’re doing work for. There are also plenty of other groups of employees that are not eligible for workers compensation in Florida. We will discuss these groups in detail in the next section.

There are Certain Categories of Workers Who Aren’t Entitled to Benefits

As in most other states, Florida excludes certain categories of employees from collecting workers compensation benefits. For some of these, such as railroad workers and federal employees, there are other governmental programs that offer them medical coverage and replacement wages. For some of the other exempted groups, there are no other avenues of redress. Their only hope is to either sue their employers personally or see if they qualify for disability.

In Florida, any company that has four or more employees is required to carry workers compensation insurance. The same is true for any agricultural operation that employees more than five workers. As for companies that employ seasonal or casual workers, they’re only required to carry insurance for these workers if there are at least 12 of them within the organization.

Aside from these specific guidelines, there are also entire categories of workers who are not entitled to workers compensation. These include the following:

  • domestic servants such as nannies, housekeepers, and au pairs
  • federal employees
  • railroad workers
  • temporary workers
  • independent contractors
  • consultants
  • employees who work for a company with less than four employees
  • agricultural workers who work for small operations with less than six people on staff

This list seems rather long, and it is. This is because the whole point of Florida’s workers compensation program is to protect both workers and employers. The program was designed to help employers in the sense they would no longer be required to defend themselves in a personal injury lawsuit every time somebody got hurt while on the job. Likewise, the program was meant to help workers by ensuring that they had a way to cover their medical bills and living expenses while they were out of work recovering from their injuries.

workers compensation

Being a Union Employee Does Not Disqualify You from Workers Compensation

As was made very clear in the introduction to this article, being a union worker does not prohibit you or preclude you from filing for workers compensation benefits in the state of Florida. You will be entitled to the same benefits as anybody else. These benefits include medical coverage for any injuries related to your workplace accident. You would also be entitled to weekly replacement wages equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wages. If needed, you will be entitled to occupational rehabilitation or career training in case you can no longer do the same kind of work you did prior to your injury.

It is important to point out however that any fringe benefits you normally receive while working as a union employee will not be considered for workers compensation purposes. That is something you would have to work out with your union representative, if applicable.

For Peace of Mind, Meet with a Skilled Miami Workers Comp Lawyer Right Away

If you are a union worker and you’ve been injured on the job, you may be wondering if you’re entitled to file a workers compensation claim. One of the reasons some people question this is because there are many programs that union workers are exempt from. For example, if you do the kind of work that’s only available for 3/4 of the year, you may not be entitled to unemployment. Likewise, if you have grievances against your employer, they would be handled through your union representative and not through a state office. But any Miami workers comp lawyer will reassure you that being a union employee does not prohibit you from collecting workers compensation benefits in Florida.

What we recommend is that you contact our office as soon as possible after your workplace accident. Technically, you have 30 days to notify your employer of your injuries. In our opinion, there’s never a good reason to wait that long. Your best option is to meet with one of our Florida injury lawyers within a few days of your accident. This way, they can help you with your workers compensation claim and make sure it’s handled properly from the start. This will also ensure that any correspondence or inquiries from the insurance company or your employer will go directly to our office instead of to your home.

Since we offer all potential clients a free, initial consultation, you have nothing to lose by scheduling an appointment with one of our associates.

 

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