Most employers in Florida are required (by law) to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. While this is true, the criterion for coverage varies from industry to industry (in some cases).
If you are injured on the job, you can file a claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer’s insurance provider.
Unfortunately, according to Florida law, some employers attempt to operate their businesses without proper coverage or avoid paying for the coverage they must have. It can be scary if you have been injured while working, but your employer does not have this coverage. While this is true, you have options to receive compensation.
One of the first things you should do is contact our workers’ compensation attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. for help and information. More information about Florida law and your workers’ compensation benefits rights can be found here.
Requirements for Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Florida
According to Florida law, all employers in the construction sector must carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have one or more workers. For non-construction industries, this requirement begins for businesses with four or more employees. The agriculture industry has unique requirements.
Contractors must also have coverage for subcontractors or be able to cover medical costs out of pocket.
The purpose of workers’ compensation insurance is to cover bills for workers who are injured while on the job. It also provides a percentage of their average weekly wage until their injuries reach MMI (maximum medical improvement). MMI does not mean full recovery. Instead, it is a term used to describe a situation where it is not believed that additional improvement will be made.
However, in any situation, the insurance company for the employer will cover these costs. This is the case until the worker is fully recovered or until they reach a point where awarding long-term disability is the preferred option compared to ongoing workers’ compensation benefits.
Are There Penalties for Employers Who Do Not Have the Required Workers’ Comp Coverage?
A Florida employer will face civil penalties if they do not carry the legally required amount of workers’ comp insurance. In some situations, they will be ordered to stop operations. This is done by the court issuing a stop-work order. This order remains in effect until the business complies with the law and pays the applicable fee.
If the employer fails to comply with the stop-work order, they may face criminal charges. The stop-work order is also issued if the employer does not pay the required workers’ comp insurance premiums.
Your Options if Your Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance
After an at-work injury, you must report it to your employer. This is true regardless of if they have insurance coverage or not.
If you find out that your employer does not have this coverage, it does not mean you have no options to cover your injury-related costs. In this situation, a potential remedy is to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
In Florida, this is usually impossible. When you accept a job with your employer, and they have workers’ compensation coverage, then this coverage is an exclusive remedy for any at-work injuries. The only exception is if there is a third-party liability.
If you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you give up your right to file a lawsuit against your employer. In return, your employer agrees to provide this coverage, regardless of who is at fault for your injuries.
No agreement exists when your employer does not have this coverage, and you maintain the right to sue your employer.
Tips for a Successful Lawsuit Against Your Florida Employer
If your employer does not have the required workers’ compensation insurance, you can (and should) file a lawsuit against them. If you wait to do this, it may limit your ability to recover compensation. If you are in this situation, contact our Florida workers’ compensation attorneys immediately.
With help from our legal team, you will have a strong case, and we will work to ensure you receive a fair amount of compensation.
Some of the things that will help improve your chances of success for your personal injury lawsuit include the following:
- Create a pain journal after you are injured to record how you feel
- Keep your medical records organized and accurately related to your injury
- Track how much time you have to spend away from work
- Talk to anyone who saw what caused your injury
- Take photos or video of the scene or cause of your accident
You should maintain as much evidence as possible for your claim. Without workers’ compensation coverage, your only option is a personal injury lawsuit.
Let Our Legal Team Help with Your Work Injury Situation
You may be unsure where to turn if you are injured on the job. In most cases, filing a workers’ compensation claim would be the obvious step. Unfortunately, you could be stuck if your employer does not have the proper coverage.
While this can be a difficult situation, you still have options. Regardless of whether your employer has insurance coverage, you deserve compensation if you are injured on the job. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., are ready to help you file a lawsuit against your employer to recover the compensation you are entitled to.
The first step is to contact our office to schedule a free consultation. We can discuss your situation, create a plan to move forward, and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
We understand the impact an at-work injury can have and want to ensure you receive the benefits that Florida law provides you.