Who is eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits?
In order to be covered by Workers’ Compensation, you must be an employee. Simply having a job does not always mean that you are an employee. Certain types of employers are not required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance for their workers. On the other hand, some who are not required to carry it may do so voluntarily, and some workers who believe they do not qualify for coverage actually may:
- Independent contractors and volunteers are not considered employees and, therefore, do not qualify.
- Employers with fewer than four employees are exempt from Workers’ Compensation requirements, unless the work involves construction.
- Employers of “domestic servants,” such as maids and nannies, are not required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance but can choose to carry it voluntarily.
- Some small agricultural employers are exempt.
- Day laborers and undocumented workers who are paid “under the table” may be entitled to benefits in some cases.
What types of injuries are covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation covers job-related injuries including:
- Injuries incurred during accidents on the job
- Occupational illness caused by exposure to harmful substances or job-related activities
- Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Injuries that occur during most job-related travel
- Injuries cause by performing job duties such as heavy lifting
When should I file a Workers’ Compensation claim?
If you are injured on the job or diagnosed with an occupational illness, you should file a Workers’ Compensation claim right away. There are time limits for filing, and if you wait to long you will give up your right to Workers’ Compensation benefits. The sooner you file, the sooner the process gets started and the sooner you may be able to start receiving benefits.
Will I get fired for filing Workers’ Compensation?
Under Florida Workers’ Compensation law, employers cannot fire, retaliate, or discriminate against employees who file for Workers’ Compensation benefits, but that does not mean it never happens. If you are avoiding filing a Workers’ Compensation claim because you feel your employer may take action against you or because your employer has threatened to take action against you, an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney can help.
If I file for Workers’ Compensation can I still sue for my injuries?
Workers’ Compensation laws protect both employees and employers. You cannot sue your employer, but you may have a personal injury lawsuit against a third party under certain circumstances.
For instance, if you are injured in a construction accident caused by defective equipment, you may be able to sue the equipment manufacturer or provider.
If I file for Workers’ Compensation can I still draw Social Security Disability benefits?
Yes you can file for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), but your Workers’ Compensation payments may be reduced.