For many employees, this is where workers' compensation can fall. The concept itself seems simple enough, and the name says it all. This is financial compensation that is meant to go to employees. But despite the simplicity of that premise, certain conditions need to be fulfilled for an employee to qualify.
What Is Workers Compensation?
Workers Comp, as it is more popularly known, is a form of financial reimbursement above and beyond the usual salary. It is a type of "injury insurance" that is meant to assist employees if they are injured on the job and are unable to contribute the work they normally would to earn their salary.
For people to qualify for workers comp, a few things need to be in place with their respective companies.
Workers Compensation Coverage Must Be Present
The first and most obvious requirement is that workers comp actually be required for a business. This is not actually the case with every single company. Size is one of the more significant factors determining whether workers comp even needs to be taken out for employees or not.
In Florida, this depends on the type of business that is being run.
If you have a construction company, then regardless of the business's size, every employee must have workers comp in place.
If you have a non-construction business, you must have workers comp coverage if your company has four or more employees. Anything less than this does not need coverage.
If the company is based in agriculture, the business must offer workers comp if more than 12 temp employees work more than 30 days.
You Must Be An Employee
This seems self-evident, but it's not always as simple as it appears in today's economy. A "gig economy" worker, for example, who carries passengers in a car, or delivers food from orders that come through software job coordination, is not actually considered an employee but an "independent contractor," the same as a freelancer.
To be considered an employee of a company, you must have either full-time or part-time status listed as your category. A tech administrator for an advertising firm that works part-time a few times a week would be covered by workers comp. A freelance artist working from home for a single job, however, would not.
The Injury Or Illness Must Be Associated With Work
This is another element that seems obvious, but it must be narrowed down. There are clear-cut cases where workers comp will not apply. If you go on vacation and get injured in Europe, you were not at work, nor were you working, so workers comp will not apply in this situation.
However, an injury must also be a genuine accident and not a byproduct of mischief or horseplay. For example, a construction worker dancing on a rooftop who slips and falls is unlikely to qualify for workers comp since this wasn't a case of being victimized by random chance while doing a job.
On the other hand, workers falling sick because someone failed to disclose that asbestos was in a building is a severe case of workers comp, possibly even involving a lawsuit for those who failed to disclose the asbestos.
You Filed For Workers Compensation Within The Deadline
Finally, workers comp is not something that is automatically given to you when an injury happens. You must actively apply for it, have that application considered, and finally be granted the workers comp if you meet all the qualifications.
In Florida, the deadline for filing for workers comp is 30 days. If you wait longer than a month, then suddenly decide you want workers comp, after all, you're not going to get it at this point; it's too late.
Denial Does Happen
Unfortunately, even if you meet all the requirements for workers comp, this is still not a guarantee that you will receive it. Workers comp applications can always be denied. Pre-existing conditions, if they were involved with the injury, may result in a denial.
Paperwork, if it does not all match up and there are discrepancies, is a common reason why legitimate workers' comp filings are denied. Fortunately, a denial is not a final ruling, and it is possible to appeal and overturn these decisions.
If you're in the Fort Meyers, Sarasota, or Port Charlotte region of Florida, and you've been hurt at work, but find that your workers' compensation may not be coming to you. We can help. Talk to one of our experienced workers' comp attorneys, and we help you get what you deserve.