Workers’ Compensation Claims in Florida
Florida is a business-friendly state. It wants business people to relocate here and hang out their shingles. This means that Florida laws don’t always make it easy for employees to successfully file workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ compensation insurance, which is carried by businesses, partially replaces your earnings and pays for your medical care if you’re hurt on the job. You don’t have the option of suing your employer directly if you’re injured.
What Businesses Must Carry Insurance?
Virtually all Florida businesses must carry workers’ compensation insurance by law.
Non-construction businesses with fewer than four employees (including both part-time and full-time) are exempt. All construction companies must carry insurance, although exemptions exist for owners and corporate officers.
How a Workers’ Comp Claim Works
Florida law includes a few catches when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. Let’s use this as an illustrative example: You deliver pizzas for Sam’s Great Pizza in Gainesville. As you’re about to drop off a pie at UF, a student drives right into your vehicle. You’re hurt, and you immediately report this event to Sam, who carries workers’ compensation insurance by law. Sam notifies his insurance carrier.
The insurance carrier will most likely send you to its own physician instead of yours or an impartial doctor. It’s not in the company’s best interests for your doctor or an unbiased third-party physician to claim that you’re grievously injured and that you may not return to work for a very long time. The insurance company wants you to go back to work as soon as possible so it can stop paying your claim for lost wages.
If your vision was affected by the accident so that you can no longer drive, it’s unlikely that you could collect benefits indefinitely. You might not be able to drive safely, but you can still answer phones and take orders for Sam’s pizzas. Of course, you’ll miss out on all those tips you were getting, but the effect on your income is your problem, not Sam’s or the insurance company’s problem. Sam is within his rights to move you to another position within his business, even if it doesn’t pay as much as the job you had before you were hurt. What happens if Sam takes orders over the internet so he doesn’t need anyone to answer his phone? You could find yourself out of a job if his insurance company maintains that you can, indeed, do some other work that doesn’t involve driving or 20/20 vision. Sam is under no obligation to keep you on his payroll after your injury if there’s no service you can perform for wages and with limited eyesight.
As you can see, having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side is of the utmost importance. Making a claim may not be something you can handle on your own. Under Florida law, employers or their insurers must pay your attorney fees – you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket. If you’ve been hurt on the job, contact Tom Robinson Law as soon as possible so we can get your claim on the right track. You can reach us at 352-222-3222 – call us or leave a text message. We’ll get back to you promptly. You can also find us on Twitter at @tomrobinsonlaw or contact us through this website.
Talk to Tom today.