What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of liability insurance that compensates employees for medical bills, lost wages, and disabilities caused by an accident or injury that they acquired while performing their work.
Workers’ comp allows injured employees to recover and return to work without worrying about losing their jobs or get benefits if they are permanently disabled. Meanwhile, this insurance also protects businesses from liability for job-related injuries. This insurance protects employers as much as it protects employees from financial disaster.
Who Is Covered By Workers’ Comp In Florida?
Florida requires most businesses to carry workers’ compensation, especially businesses dealing with high workplace hazards. Examples would be those in construction and agriculture. All employees of businesses with at least 4 employees are, thus covered by workers’ comp.
The rules are stricter for businesses in the construction and agriculture industries. Businesses dealing with construction or construction-related industries are required to carry workers’ comp even if they only have one employee, even if that employee is the business owner. Meanwhile, in the agricultural industry, businesses employing less than 6 full-time employees or less than 13 seasonal employees are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
If you work as an independent contractor in one of these industries, then you are likely not covered by another company’s insurance. Instead, you are required to carry your own workers’ comp insurance.
Corporate employees in a non-construction business are also not covered by workers’ comp but this is because they do not deal with safety hazards at work.
It is not uncommon for employees to be denied workers’ comp for misclassification as an independent contractor. If you are an employee being denied workers’ compensation after an injury, this is a sign that you need a workers’ comp lawyer immediately.
Benefits You Can Get Under Workers’ Comp
Workers’ compensation was established in Florida specifically to help compensate workers for work-related injuries. These are the benefits you can expect if you file for workers’ compensation:
• When you file for workers’ comp, your employer cannot fire you, for example for being absent and most especially not for filing for workers’ comp. This insurance also protects employees from losing their jobs.
• You also get temporary disability benefits, which includes two-thirds of your average weekly wage. Since this is for temporary disability, there is a limit as to how long you can avail the benefits. The benefits will stop once your doctor allows you to return to work, when your disability is determined as a permanent disability, or when the 104 weeks are over.
• After temporary disability, you are required to see a doctor who will examine if you developed a lasting medical condition or other impairment as a result of the injury. If so, the doctor will determine the severity of the impairment, which will be the basis for computing how long you will receive permanent impairment benefits. Permanent impairment benefits are usually 75% of the temporary disability benefits.
• If the employee’s injury prevents them from doing any type of work permanently, then they will be eligible for permanent total disability benefits. The amount you will receive for permanent total disability is two-thirds of your average weekly wage. You will continue receiving the benefits until the age of 75.
An experienced workers’ comp lawyer will help you determine exactly which workers’ comp benefit you deserve.