What Are the Workers’ Compensation Laws in Big Pine Key, Florida?
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Big Pine Key, FL
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Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Big Pine Key, FL
What are the workers’ compensation laws in Big Pine Key, Florida? To answer this question, we must first gain an understanding of what exactly workers’ compensation is, as well as when it applies.
Generally speaking, workers’ compensation is a type of medical and wage insurance coverage that is meant to protect those who are injured or become ill while working. Each state has its own laws regarding benefits, but workers’ compensation should typically cover medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages.
If you have been injured or become ill on the job, it’s time to get familiar with the laws in Big Pine Key, Florida, regarding workers’ compensation. This article will put you in the know. But as always, if you have remaining questions about this area of law, you should contact a professional.
At Morgan & Morgan, we are pleased to offer our clients the opportunity to schedule a free case evaluation. If you believe you are entitled to workers’ compensation and need help from an attorney, fill out this online form to get in touch.
The Types of Businesses Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Coverage
For the most part, every business that employs more than four people (including full-time and part-time employees) is required to have workers’ compensation coverage.
However, there are a few special circumstances, including the following:
- Partners and sole-proprietors are excluded from the workers’ compensation coverage law
- Construction companies must provide coverage for every employee, including contractors
- Agricultural companies must provide coverage only when they have 6 full-time or 12 part-time employees
In general, independent contractors are not considered employees and do not receive workers’ compensation coverage — unless they're in the construction industry, as mentioned above. If you are starting a business and are unsure whether you are required to obtain workers’ comp coverage, you should call an attorney to learn more.
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How Can Businesses Buy Coverage?
Now you have a partial answer to the question, “What are the workers’ compensation laws in Big Pine Key, Florida?” But before we move along with this topic, you may wonder how a business owner would go about purchasing coverage in the first place.
Here are a few things you should know:
- Rates and forms are regulated by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR)
- The OIR also provides oversight of the more than 250 insurers in Florida
- The state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation is the primary source of regulation for ensuring employees receive proper coverage
Since there are over 250 insurers in the state, business owners have options when it comes to the workers’ compensation coverage they purchase. Business owners can request quotes from different providers to find a plan that works for their business.
Why Is Workers’ Compensation a Smart Investment for Business Owners?
Of course, the primary reason for a business owner to invest in workers’ compensation is because it’s the law. However, several other benefits make this investment well worth the expense.
With workers’ compensation insurance coverage, businesses are incentivized to promote safety in the workplace. Additionally, they are likewise protected should the worst happen.
With workers’ compensation coverage, a business owner is also able to:
- Cover medical expenses and lost wages that they would otherwise be personally responsible for
- Stay reasonably protected against lawsuits from injured employees and their families
- Help employees make full recoveries so they can return to work
With all of these benefits on the table, plus the fact that workers’ comp is required by law, business owners would be wise to invest early in a solid workers’ compensation plan.
The Penalties for Not Providing Workers’ Compensation
We can’t answer, “What are the workers’ compensation laws in Big Pine Key, Florida?” without making mention of the penalties that come from disobeying the workers’ compensation law. When a business fails to comply, it faces fines and fees, orders to stop working, civil lawsuits, and more.
Fines and Fees
The state employs a team of investigators who regularly perform jobsite inspections at random times. These investigators have the right to walk around the premises and speak with employees. If it looks like the employer has failed to comply with the state’s workers’ compensation laws, fines and fees will follow.
In general, an employer who has not purchased workers’ compensation insurance can expect to pay double the amount they would have invested in insurance premiums for the total amount of time they were not in compliance. On top of that, an employer will face a $5,000 fee for every worker they have falsely claimed as a contractor.
The purpose of these exorbitant fees is to incentivize employers to invest in workers’ compensation insurance. At the end of the day, it’s far more beneficial for an owner to pay for insurance premiums than the alternative.
Orders to Stop Working
On top of these hefty fines, the owner will also be issued a stop-work order to ensure employees stay safe until the business is in compliance. This can be a huge blow to a business, as it means it will be forced to cease operations entirely. As a result, the owner might experience a hit to both their reputation and profits.
If this is still not enough to persuade a business owner otherwise, one should consider this fact: Many businesses that are issued stop-work orders fold. With that being the case, an employer would be wise to avoid this situation entirely.
Failing to comply with the law regarding workers’ compensation also opens a business owner up to civil lawsuits from injured or ill employees. The average settlement for this type of lawsuit is around $20,000 but has the potential to rise to as much as $10 million, depending on the circumstances.
On top of that, the owner will also likely face a diminished reputation as the lawsuit plays out. Additionally, in the event of a lost lawsuit, the employer may be required to cover the employee’s legal fees as well.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Another piece of the puzzle when it comes to, “What are the workers’ compensation laws in Big Pine Key, Florida?” is what type of coverage an employee can expect.
In general, workers’ compensation benefits include these three types of coverage:
1. Medical Benefits
The first type of coverage you can expect to receive is general medical coverage. This means that all of the medical care you require for treating a work-related injury or illness will be paid for. You can even expect coverage for any traveling expenses you accrue while making visits to your doctor’s office.
2. Rehabilitation Benefits
Sometimes, a work-related injury or illness requires short- or long-term rehabilitation. In those cases, you can expect coverage for rehabilitation expenses as well. You may even be entitled to some compensation related to vocational training if you are required to get a new job because of the effects of your accident.
3. Death Benefits
Should the workplace injury or illness lead to your death, rest assured that workers’ compensation will make sure your family receives benefits. This includes funeral and burial expenses and wage benefits.
If you are severely injured or ill, you may be eligible for disability or partial disability coverage. Speak to an attorney to learn more about how workers’ compensation can work for you in your time of need.
Does Workers’ Comp Include Coverage for COVID-19?
This is a question we have heard time and again over the last few years. And while we wish there was a clear-cut answer, the truth is that it depends. Workers’ compensation is really only used in cases where a contracted illness results from the nature of the work.
If you are a frontline worker, like a government employee or healthcare worker, you should receive coverage. But in most other industries, it can be difficult to prove that your COVID-19 diagnosis was related to your job.
Does Workers’ Comp Include Coverage in the Event of Death?
Yes. Fortunately, workers’ compensation does extend to include death benefits. In Florida, this typically means $7,500 for funeral expenses, education expenses for the surviving spouse, and up to $150,000 in compensation benefits for dependents.
Surviving family members can expect to receive this payment within a year after the date of the accident.
Are There Limitations to Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
It may seem that there isn’t much not covered by workers’ compensation. But you should know that there are a few limits to this type of insurance. Namely, you won’t receive any payout for the pain and suffering you experience as a result of your injury or illness.
However, if the case was especially traumatic, you may be able to file a lawsuit outside of your workers’ compensation claim.
When Do I Need a Lawyer?
Any time you need support with the workers’ compensation claims process, you should hire an attorney. The right legal professional can help you compile evidence, negotiate a settlement, and advise you on your other options within the law.
When you need help with workers’ compensation, it means you are already suffering from an injury or illness. Because this is already a vulnerable moment in time for you, it helps to have some legal support through it all.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With Morgan & Morgan
Are you ready to speak directly with a legal professional about your workers’ compensation claim? Schedule a free case evaluation with the team at Morgan & Morgan by filling out this online form.
We will fully answer the question, “What are the workers’ compensation laws in Big Pine Key, Florida?” so that you are fully aware of your rights. Our team is ready to start fighting for you.