It’s very rare that our Lakeland workers comp attorneys meet with someone whose employer has no insurance. Any company caught without the requisite workers comp insurance can be fined and may even be shut down.
However, there are times when you get hurt on the job and discover your employer does not have workers comp coverage. Here’s what you should do if that happens.
Almost All Employers in Florida Are Required to Carry Workers Comp Insurance
Most employers in Florida are required to maintain workers comp insurance. There are some companies, however, that aren’t required to carry this insurance, such as for instance firms with less than four employees. If you happen to work for one of these companies, you’ll have to find some other way to cover your medical care and lost wages.
An experienced Lakeland workers comp attorney may be able to help you do this.
Employers With Four or More Employees Must Carry Workers Comp Insurance
Any company that employs four or more people is required to carry workers compensation insurance. This includes both full-time and part-time employees.
For example, if a small insurance agency has three agents and a part-time receptionist, they’re required to carry workers comp insurance. If, however, there are only two agents and no administrative staff, they may not.
Construction Companies With One or More Employees Must Also Be Insured
There is a special rule when it comes to construction companies. They are required to maintain workers comp insurance if they have just one employee. This is for a few reasons.
First, the type of work that construction workers do is dangerous. They are at a much greater risk of getting hurt on the job.
There is also the issue of sub-contractors. A lot of construction projects involve several companies. It’s important that each company be responsible for the protection of their own employees.
Categories of Employees Who Aren’t Eligible for Benefits
Aside from the rules about which employers must provide workers compensation coverage, there are also rules about employees. There are certain categories of workers in Florida who are not eligible for workers compensation benefits.
If you happen to work in any of the following professions, you won’t be able to file for workers compensation:
- Independent contractors
- Uber drivers
- Federal employees
- Railroad workers
- Domestic servants
What Can Your Lawyer Do if Your Employer Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If your employer has no insurance and you get hurt on the job, you only have one option. In some states, there is a fund to help employees whose employers don’t have workers comp insurance.
Unfortunately, Florida doesn’t have this sort of fund. This means that your only option is to sue your employer for damages. This will be treated like any other personal injury case. Your Lakeland workers compensation lawyer will have to prove negligence. They’ll also have to prove your damages.
Is There a Benefit to Suing Your Employer Rather Than Filing for Workers Comp?
Some of our clients are happy to learn that they can sue their employer. Under workers compensation, you are very limited in the benefits you can collect. For example, you may be entitled to medical care, but you cannot demand damages for pain and suffering.
There is a downside to having to sue your employer. There’s no way to know if they’ll still be open when your lawsuit is over. If the company closes, your lawyer will have a very difficult time collecting your damages.
Your Attorney Can Demand More in Damages
If you do file a lawsuit suit, your attorney will demand damages. In most work injury lawsuits, clients are entitled to some or all of the following:
- Medical bills
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
You Must Also Prove Negligence if You Sue Your Employer
One of the more difficult things about suing your employer is that your attorney must prove negligence. This isn’t always easy to do. Many times, employees get hurt because they made a mistake.
In your lawsuit, you’ll have to prove that your employer did something that caused your injuries. This is not always feasible. Cases like this almost always turn on the facts of your case.
Speak With a Skilled Workers Comp Lawyer in Lakeland
If you learn that your employer doesn’t have workers comp insurance, you may panic. You may decide to just pay whatever medical bills you can and move on. However, you have options. You can reach out to a Lakeland workers compensation lawyer and allow them to handle things for you. This way, you know your claim will be filed properly.
All you have to do is contact our office today at 954-833-5226 and ask to schedule your free, initial consultation.