The workers compensation system in Florida can be complicated. In fact, some of the best personal injury attorneys in Miami still don’t understand exactly how workers comp in Florida works. That’s why it’s a good idea to find a workers comp attorney in Miami who knows the law and knows how to get you the benefits you deserve.
For the most part, anyone who gets injured on the job can file for workers comp in Florida. However, certain employees are excluded from the program. If you fear that you may fall into one of these groups, you can give us a call. We’ll schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone.
Just in case you need information right now, it’s a good idea to read on. Here, we’ll discuss who these workers are. We’ll also explain what the basic criteria are for qualifying for workers comp in Florida.
Why Was the Workers Compensation System Created?
The whole point of workers compensation is to help employees who get hurt on the job. Before we had workers comp, injured workers had two choices. They could recover from their injuries at home without pay, hoping their job would be there for them when they got better. Or they could file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Neither of these solutions was attractive.
Companies would go out of business if they had to pay to defend dozens of lawsuits every year. Workers would go bankrupt trying to pay off their medical bills. Knowing this, lawmakers implemented the workers compensation system. Most workers are eligible for benefits under this program. However, there are some categories of employees who don’t qualify for workers compensation.
Only Companies With 4 or More Employees are Required to Carry Workers Comp Insurance
Every state has its own rules when it comes to qualifying for workers compensation. One of these rules has to do with which employers are required to carry workers comp insurance. In Florida, the threshold is 4. This means that only companies with 4 or more employees are legally required to offer workers comp in Florida.
If you happen to work for a small company, there’s a good chance you won’t be eligible for workers comp in Florida. If your employer doesn’t offer workers comp, you’ll have to find another way to cover your expenses. Just because your company doesn’t offer worker compensation coverage, that doesn’t mean your medical bills won’t add up. Nor does it mean that you don’t need to be paid for the weeks you’ll be out of work.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many options when you find yourself in this situation. You may be responsible for your own medical bills. If you’re lucky, your workers compensation attorney in Miami will be able to help you apply for disability. Or, if you find out your employer was required to carry insurance and failed to do so, you can sue them in civil court.
Your Workers Compensation Attorney in Miami Understands that Certain Groups are Excluded from Workers Comp in Florida
Even if your employer has 4 or more employees, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to workers comp in Florida. You still must meet certain criteria to qualify. One of the major criteria is that you can’t belong to any of the excluded classes of workers.
In Florida, as in most other states, there are certain groups of workers who are not protected under workers compensation. These groups that don’t qualify for workers comp in Florida include the following:
- Domestic servants such as nannies, housekeepers, and butlers
- Agricultural workers (less than 6 regular employees or less than 12 seasonal workers)
- Railroad employees
- Federal employees
- Seasonal or casual workers
- Independent contractors
Some of these groups have other programs they can count on to provide benefits. For example, federal employees can apply for benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.
All Employees Must Meet Certain Criteria to Qualify for Workers Compensation Benefits
Even if you’re part of a protected group of workers, you still must meet certain criteria to qualify for workers comp in Florida. Most states share the same minimum requirements when it comes to paying out workers compensation benefits.
The basic criteria you must meet to qualify for workers comp in Florida include the following:
- Your injury must have happened at work
- You must be acting within the scope of your employment at the time of your accident
- You cannot be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your injury
- You must report your injuries to a manager or Human Resources representative immediately
- You must be on the clock when you get hurt
- If you’re a salaried employee, you must document that you were working when you got hurt
Once you meet the eligibility criteria, there are other things you must do if you expect your benefits to continue. These additional criteria include:
- You must submit to a drug test as required by your employer
- You have to be treated by a state-approved doctor
- You must comply with your doctor’s treatment plan
- You can’t work anywhere else while out on workers compensation
This is a lot to take in. That’s why we always recommend that you talk to one of the best personal injury attorneys in Miami right away. Your lawyer will ensure that you don’t jeopardize your claim. Of course, there’s nothing your workers compensation attorney in Miami can do to change what you did prior to hiring them. However, they’ll do their best to resolve any issues in their efforts to get you the benefits you deserve under workers comp in Florida.
Make Sure You Speak With an Experienced Workers Compensation Attorney in Miami Right Away
You may not realize it, but there is a lot at stake when you file your workers compensation claim. If you don’t do it right, you could lose your chance of receiving workers comp in Florida. This is why we always suggest that people who are hurt at work find the best personal injury attorney in Miami to see what they can do to qualify for workers comp in Florida.
Call today and schedule your free, initial consultation. Take the time to sit down with someone who knows the law. Our team has decades of combined workers comp experience. They’ll be able to answer any of your questions and help you decide the best way to proceed.