Authorities in Pasco County, working together with the Florida Division of Workers Compensation recently nabbed nine unlicensed contractors by advertising on Craigslist. The ads described work that requires a contractor’s license in Florida, such as roofing, air conditioning repair and installing windows and doors. When the “contractors” gave the investigators written estimates, but could not produce a contractor’s license, he or she were arrested.
The purpose of the investigation was twofold. The county wanted to protect consumers by ensuring that certain types of home repairs are done by licensed contractors so that the work is up to code. The second purpose, however, was to protect workers. The process of getting a contractor’s license includes training and testing in safety procedures and requirements.
Unlicensed contractors are usually not covered by Worker compensation insurance. If a worker is injured on-the-job in this situation, there are state funds that will often pay his or her medical bills, but the procedure takes much longer than putting in a Worker compensation claim with an insurer. You may also be able to sue your employer in this situation, but taking such a case to trial if necessary can take years — and you will not be reimbursed medical bills and lost wages in the meantime.
Whether you work in construction or in a different field, you should always check that your employer carries Worker compensation insurance. One contractor who was arrested in Pasco County is in fact licensed, but still had not arranged for coverage for his workers. Taking the time to ask this question when you are first hired can spare you untold frustration and uncertainty — the last things you need when you have suffered an injury and you cannot work.
If you have discovered that your employer does not have Worker compensation insurance, call our office immediately for a free phone consultation.