Workers’ compensation is provided by a majority of companies across the state. However, there are specific eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation in Florida and the available benefits they can receive.
Florida workers’ compensation lawsare in place to provide much-needed benefits, although the process of getting them can be complex. All necessary documents must be accurate and thorough, and each step needs to be precisely followed under the requirements for workers’ compensation in Florida.
Employers may even push back on a workers’ compensation claim. They may also try to claim they are exempt when this is false. This can be very challenging when you are already in a difficult situation, stressed, and in pain.
When you or a loved one needs Florida worker’s compensation, it is recommended to consult a lawyer for assistance to obtain financial benefits. They will work hard to get the best possible outcome for you.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation in Florida
In Florida, employees injured on the job or who become ill due to their job may be eligible for workers’ compensation. All construction-related companies must get coverage regardless of the number of workers they have on staff. The only caveat is if they can legally file an owner exemption. All non-construction companies with at least four or more part-time or full-time employees must buyworker’s compensation insurance in Florida.
So, whether you are working in construction, retail, hospitality, health care, or other industries, it is quite likely that your company has Florida workers’ compensation coverage if you fall and break your ankle or suffer another type of injury or illness.
That being said, your work status matters. People who are eligible for workers’ compensation must be classified as employees and not as independent contractors. Independent contractors, in essence, work for themselves and are not eligible for workers’ compensation insurance benefits.
Regarding the requirements for workers’ compensation in Florida, it is important to note that the injury or illness must have been caused by efforts or responsibilities directly related to your job to be eligible for coverage.
Work-related injuries are typically straightforward. There is a direct link if you get hurt working with machinery on the job or fall off a ladder at a construction site. Illnesses related to your job may take a more comprehensive approach. However, occupational illnesses do occur and affect many people’s lives across the U.S.
For example, if you work at a chemical manufacturing plant or another job where you work with or around chemicals, you may get exposed to irritants that make you sick. This could occur due to an accident at work or over time from extended exposure. Workers’ compensation insurance in Florida covers the costs to treat the illness you obtained while performing your job.
Do you work in the agricultural industry?
You may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you help grow or harvest citrus, corn, soybeans, peanuts, watermelons, or other agricultural products. Your employer must have at least six regular employees or twelve seasonal employees. Additionally, the employees must work more than 30 days during the season – but no more than 45 days total in a single calendar year.
Benefits Available in Florida Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation is often considered wage replacement when something happens to you, and you cannot work. Yes, lost wages are a big part of the benefits, but they are not the only ones.
Under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act, if an employee is eligible for workers’ compensation in Florida, they may be entitled to various benefits, including lost wages, medical expenses, and rehabilitation expenses. Full medical benefits that are included in workers’ compensation include hospitalization, doctor’s visits, medical tests, prescription drugs, and physical therapy.
The coverage for medical and rehabilitation expenses is so crucial because of high healthcare costs. Workers should not worry about paying medical bills if they legitimately get hurt while on the job. They should feel secure in knowing that the benefits will cover these bills and no large debts will be looming that can cause financial ruin.
In addition, in the event of a short-term or long-term disability, workers’ compensation can help cover medical bills and may help with lost wages. This could be paid in a lump sum or ongoing support for medical costs depending on the circumstances. In the event of a tragic death at work, survivor benefits are included in workers’ compensation insurance if someone is killed.
The exact benefits available will depend on the specifics of the injury or illness and the severity of the situation. An attorney can advocate for your rights to the full benefits detailed in Florida workers’ compensation laws.
The Workers’ Compensation Process in Florida
The workers’ compensation process in Florida can be complex and time-consuming. It can be difficult to navigate, particularly when you are stressed, in pain, or ill.
Time is of the essence. Employees must report their injury or illness to their employer immediately. If you have had a work-related injury or illness and have not let your boss know, do so immediately. Under Florida workers’ compensation laws, work-related injuries or illnesses are required to be reported by employees within thirty days. Your claim may be in jeopardy if it is not reported in time. Once your employer is informed, you will need to begin the application process for workers’ compensation.
It is very important to follow the proper steps in the process and provide the necessary documentation to ensure the claim is approved. You may get denied if there are not enough details or if all aspects of the types of documentation needed are not provided and submitted appropriately.
Like other official applications or filings with the state or federal government, the process can take several months. When you are out of work, the quality of the initial application is key to getting the financial support you need. It is advisable to consult with a lawyer for assistance.
Applying for Workers’ Compensation in Florida
The process for applying for workers’ compensation in Florida involves filling out a claim form. Then it must be submitted to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. This state agency handles the administration of benefits.
Under the requirements for workers’ compensation in Florida, the claim form must be accompanied by sufficient medical documentation of the injury or illness and proof of lost wages. If there is an injury, make sure you identify all body parts that are or could be affected by the injury, including all areas of pain.
Once your claim is submitted to the Division of Workers’ Compensation in Florida, the evaluation process begins. Even if you feel it is a straightforward claim, that does not mean it will be automatically accepted. The employer or their insurance company may contest the claim, and this would lead to a hearing before a judge. Employers and insurance companies constantly look at their “bottom line,” and contesting a claim is not uncommon.
Having a workers’ compensation lawyer on your side is important to help navigate the process and ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to underFlorida workers’ compensation laws.
Many employees are unsure about applying for workers’ compensation due to fear of being fired or other retaliation from their employers. Know that you have rights to these benefits under Florida Statutes 440.205:
“No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate or coerce any employee because of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the workers’ compensation law.”
The law is clear. If you have been intimidated, threatened, coerced, or wrongfully terminated after you have been injured on the job or are suffering from a work-related illness, you should consult with an attorney.
Common Challenges in Obtaining Workers’ Compensation in Florida
Obtaining workers’ compensation in Florida can be a challenging process. It can be difficult to get a claim through and approved, but it can be especially difficult when the employer or insurance company contests the claim. There are certain challenges that workers frequently face after filing a claim.
Common challenges in obtaining workers’ compensation in Florida include:
- Denied claims
- Disputes over the cause of the injury or illness
- Disputes over the number of benefits that are owed
First, the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation may decide your claim was not deemed qualified to receive benefits. This could be because there was insufficient information or evidence or other reasons.
Second, your employer or the insurance company may refute the claim and say that the injury or illness was not caused by something work-related. They may claim that the injury happened at your home or other location or that an illness you are suffering from was not based on something that happened or that you were exposed to at work, whether in the short-term or long-term. Other circumstances may also exist.
Third, disagreements may arise, for example, regarding a long-term disability from an injury, the necessity of prolonged rehabilitation after a broken limb, or funds for lost wages due to an injury or illness.
Having a workers’ compensation lawyer on your side is crucial to help overcome these challenges and ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to under the law and your employee rights.
The Importance of Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer is important because they have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the complex process of obtaining workers’ compensation in Florida. Amid the uncertainty, physical pain, and debilitating illness, having this expertise on your side can make a big difference in your future.
A workers’ compensation lawyer can help to gather evidence, lead as a tough negotiator with the employer and their insurance company, and represent you in court if necessary.
Have you been threatened, coerced, or wrongfully terminated after you were injured on the job? This is not only wrong, but it is also against Florida law. You have the right to workers’ compensation benefits – and your employer should be held accountable.
We can help. We have the expertise and experience you need to stand up to bullying employers and insurance companies.
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we understand the requirements of workers’ compensation in Florida. We are dedicated to helping our clients receive the benefits they are entitled to under the law.
Contact us today to set up a free consultation. You will not pay legal fees unless we win your case!
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.