Every year, tens of thousands of individuals get injured on the job in Florida. And although Florida law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance, injured employees often don’t receive the compensation they deserve. In many cases, this stems from confusion surrounding Florida workers’ compensation laws and the process of filing a claim.
Let’s explore some of the most common questions and answers concerning workers’ compensation in Florida.
In Florida, employer coverage requirements depend on the industry and the number of employees, and are laid out by the Bureau of Compliance in Florida:
An independent contractor is not considered an employee, which means that unless you work in the construction industry, your employer is not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for you.
If you are in the construction field, then your employer must provide workers’ compensation insurance, even if you are a contractor. Contractors must ensure that all sub-contractors have workers’ compensation insurance; if they do not, then those sub-contractors will be treated as employees of the contractor, and as a result, the contractor will be required to cover the damages associated with a work-related injury.
Florida has a no-fault workers’ compensation system, which means that even if you were entirely at fault for the injury you sustained, you can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The flip side of the coin is that by filing a workers’ compensation claim, you waive your right to sue your employer for your injuries.
It is illegal for an employer to fire you or even threaten to fire you for bringing a workers’ compensation claim. If you feel your employer is treating you unfairly, intimidating you, or suggesting that you will suffer negative consequences if you file a workers’ compensation claim, it is crucial that you contact an attorney who can defend your rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
There are many reasons you might hesitate or altogether avoid reporting an injury to your employer. You might initially believe you aren’t seriously injured, you might feel embarrassed, you might assume that since you caused the injury you aren’t eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, or you might think that your injury wasn’t sustained while you were actually “on the clock.”
However, it is ALWAYS best to report an injury to your employer as soon as it happens, both verbally and in writing—even if you don’t feel very injured or are not in very much pain. In addition, don’t assume that you don’t have a valid claim, as Florida workers’ compensation laws can be complex and difficult to apply to specific scenarios.
In general, an employee has 30 days to report an injury to their employer or else risk their claim being denied.
If you are unsure whether you have a valid workers’ compensation claim and/or have waited too long to report your injury, you should speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Doing so will protect you in the event that you do have a valid claim, and that what began as a small injury worsens over time, requiring medical intervention, physical therapy, and/or time off work.
The statute of limitations for a workers’ compensation claim in Florida is two years from the date the injury was sustained, OR from the date that you realized you sustained an injury or should have reasonably recognized the injury. However, there are some exceptions to this law. If you think your situation might warrant an exception, contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Florida as soon as possible.
Workers’ compensation benefits could cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and legal fees.
If you have a family member who died while on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits. The best way to learn more about obtaining death benefits is to talk with a workers’ compensation attorney who can evaluate the details of your specific situation.
The questions covered in this article represent just a small percentage of the questions that can arise while dealing with a work-related injury or death.
At Fenstersheib Law Group, P.A., we put our clients first, which means working with them on their cases, taking the time to make sure that they always understand what’s going on, and truly listening to and addressing their concerns.
Our goal is to achieve the optimal outcome in every case, whether that means finding a liable third party who should be held accountable (in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim), strategically tackling the appeals process if a claim has been denied, and making sure our clients walk away feeling all the benefits of having hired our firm.
Our main office is located in Hallandale Beach, Florida, and we have secondary Florida offices located in Hollywood, Miramar, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa, & Jacksonville.
Call Fenstersheib Law Group, P.A. at 800-TELL-ROBERT