As an employee, workers compensation provides a lot of value.
So what if your employer doesn’t have it?
If you’re injured on the job, it’s comforting to know that workers comp can help take care of medical bills and wage reimbursement. But what if your employer fails to carry it?
Understanding your rights as an injured worker is the first step toward getting the care you deserve.
Whether or not your employer is legally obligated to provide workers compensation insurance coverage, you do have rights. Let’s take a deeper dive into uninsured employers to give you a better idea of how we approach your case.
Florida’s Workers Comp Requirements
Under Florida workers compensation law, any employer with more than four (4) employees (full- or part-time) must carry workers comp insurance. However, certain industries have even stricter requirements.
State and local governments as well as employers in the construction industry must provide workers comp for even a single employee (including the owner).
Employers in the agricultural industry must carry workers compensation insurance if they have more than five (5) regular employees and/or twelve (12) seasonal employees working for 30 days or more.
While they do not have to provide workers comp coverage for subcontractors, employers are required to ensure that any subcontractors they use have sufficient coverage.
Do I Qualify For Workers Comp?
“But my employer told me I don’t qualify for workers comp!”
Independent contractors are also exempt from workers comp coverage, but the law has very specific requirements on who can be considered an “independent contractor.”
If your employer has told you that you do not qualify for workers compensation coverage, you should speak to an experienced attorney to be sure of your rights.
Is My Employer Insured?
If you are injured at work, you can only receive workers compensation benefits if your employer has appropriate insurance coverage. So how can you be sure?
Although the workers compensation program is not government run, it is monitored by the Florida Employee Assistance and Ombudsman Office. To confirm whether your employer (or prospective employer) carries the right coverage, call the office at 800-342-1741 or email them at email@example.com.
You can also search for proof of coverage online.
What If My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers Comp?
The workers compensation program was designed as an alternative to personal injury lawsuits. After an accident or illness, the insurance pays workers compensation benefits so that employees are not forced to sue for damages.
However, if your employer doesn’t have workers comp insurance, they can be held liable for any employee injuries. In other words, injured employees can sue their employer for negligence. Yes, even if they have fewer than four employees.
In some states, injured employees whose employers don’t have workers comp coverage can apply to an uninsured employers fund (UEF). However, there is no such program in Florida.
If you find yourself unable to file a claim for workers comp, you should contact a workers compensation attorney as soon as possible, to determine what your options are.
Workers Comp Exemptions
It may come as a surprise, but employers in Florida are allowed to file for a workers comp exemption. However, this only applies to specific people within the business (specifically, corporate officers), not to the entire organization.
If your employer is telling you that you are ineligible for workers comp coverage because they filed an exemption, they are committing workers compensation fraud.
Workplace accidents don’t just happen at construction sites and factories. They can happen anywhere, even in an office. That’s why having adequate insurance coverage is so important.
If you are working for an uninsured employer and need to file a workers compensation claim, a lawsuit may be your only option.
At the Law Office of Brian D. Tadros, we practice workers compensation law and only workers compensation law. We pride ourselves on being your advocate and counselor throughout your case and will work tirelessly to represent your rights.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.