Most people think of workers compensation as simply being a form of indemnity that employees can benefit from, should they become injured on the job. The wages workers receive while they recover from on-the-job injuries are only one part of workers compensation. Florida workers compensation is a complex system of statutes and administrative rules that provide guidance on how claims arising from work-related injuries should be handled.
For employers, workers compensation is an insurance scheme that protects them from potentially costly lawsuits. For employees, workers compensation is a way to make up for lost wages and cover medical expenses, but it is also a waiver of their right to sue individuals or business entities that may have been negligent or at fault when the accident took place.
The workers compensation system in Florida is very intricate. The Florida Statutes dedicate an entire chapter to workers compensation, which in turn designates a state agency — the Division of Worker Compensation — in Tallahassee for oversight and several offices across the different counties.
Most employers are bound by statute to pay into the workers comp system, but there are some exceptions. Employees are generally barred from filing lawsuits against their employers if they claim workers compensation, but when third parties are involved, or when the employer challenges a worker’s right to receive benefits, an attorney is needed to help navigate the elaborate statutes and administrative regulations. Also, if defective machinery contributes to the injury, a lawyer may be able to file a defective products claim against the equipment manufacturer.