DO I QUALIFY FOR WORKERS’ COMP?
The only thing scarier than getting injured or falling ill after a work-related incident is determining whether or not you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. All states have their own workers’ comp systems that establish strict guidelines when it comes to deciding who can receive benefits that cover medical bills and lost wages.
Potentially not being able to receive coverage can be daunting, especially when you’ve already lost money from missing work and are facing mounting expenses like hospital bills and prescription medication costs.
Our Central Florida attorneys have more than two decades of experience helping Florida workers get the coverage they need and are able to sit down with you in a one-on-one meeting to learn more about your accident. We can determine whether you’re qualified for workers’ comp and can help you secure your entitled benefits.
Qualifications for Workers’ Comp Benefits
In order to obtain benefits for workers’ compensation in Florida, workers must meet several basic requirements, the first of which is making sure their employer has workers’ comp insurance.
In most industries, employers need to purchase insurance if they have four or more employees, while construction companies specifically have to purchase insurance if they have even one employee.
Other qualifications include:
- Being a payroll employee: Employees, whether they’re full-time or part-time, must be on their company’s payroll (through a W4 form) in order to be valid to receive benefits. Independent contractors are typically excluded from this, though it’s possible for some to gain access to benefits through hiring experienced representation.
- Making sure your illness or injury is work-related: Injuries and illnesses must have either occurred at work or as a result of working conditions. Workers’ comp cases are straightforward when injuries result from a single workplace accident, but not all cases are clear-cut. Some injuries can occur over time, while others can happen when you’re not at work but still “on the job, such as if you’re on a business trip.
- Meeting the statute of limitations: All states also have designated time frames to file workers’ comp claims. In Florida, workers have two years from the date of injury to file a claim, but they must report their accident to their employer as soon as possible. Workers who wait longer than 30 days to report their accident to their employer may have their claims denied. This deadline can be complicated to navigate when your injury or illness developed over time, rather than as a result of an isolated incident.
In Florida, some of the most commonly reported workplace injuries include strains or sprains, burns, and cuts, punctures, and scrapes.
These injuries typically result from slip and fall accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and being struck by objects or caught in or between equipment or machinery, the latter of which occurs more often in the construction industry.
What Workers’ Comp Doesn’t Cover
Not all workplace accidents qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, workers can’t file claims for any anxiety or stress they face as a result of their conditions.
Additionally, workers’ comp doesn’t cover injuries if the incident:
- Happened while the worker was committing a crime, like robbery or sexual assault
- Was the result of the employee’s negligence, which can occur when the employee has willfully violated their company’s safety policies
- Was self-inflicted
- Was caused by the employee starting a fight
- Occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Florida also considers workers’ comp to be no-fault insurance, meaning that it ignores fault and focuses on where the accident took place. This means that workers’ compensation should pay you even if the accident was your fault, as long as you suffered your injuries while at work or because of working conditions.
Contact us online or call (407) 967-5377 to schedule your consultation with our team. We provide each client with the undivided attention they deserve.