Workers’ Compensation

If you are injured on the job in the state of Florida, you may be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits to help offset your medical expenses and lost wages. You must report the accident to your employer within 30 days. Your employer will in turn report your injury to the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. After the insurance company is notified of your injury, they will provide you with a physician of their choice and pay for all necessary medical treatment, including doctors’ appointments, hospital visits, medical tests, prescription drugs, and physical therapy. If your work injury keeps you from working for more than seven days, you will be able to receive a portion of your wages (usually two-thirds), up to a certain amount set by the state. These benefits can be temporary or permanent, based on whether you recover from your condition or are permanently disabled by it. Death benefits may also be provided to the family of a worker who is killed or fatally injured on the job. Almost all employers in Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, as long as they have four or more employees. Employers in the construction industry need to carry insurance even if they have only one employee. Farmers who have five regular employees or 12 temporary employees are also required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, as are state and local governments. Florida is a “no-fault” state, meaning that it is not necessary for you to show that your employer was responsible for your injury. You can be compensated for any accidental injury, even if you were at fault. The downside of working in a no-fault state is that you are not allowed to sue your employer for your work injury. You may, however, be able to sue a third party who caused your injury, such as a manufacturer who made a faulty product or someone who crashed into your car while you were doing work-related driving. If it is available, this option may be preferable because workers’ compensation benefits are sometimes insufficient to fully compensate you for your injury. If you believe that you have a third-party work injury case, or if your employer is refusing to report an accident to your workers’ compensation insurance carrier, a First Coast workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help. Contact John Fagan for a free evaluation of your case.