Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Hollywood
4000 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, FL 33021
Phone: (754) 205-3909
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The Law on Workers Compensation in Florida
Just about all employers in the state of Florida must carry workers compensation insurance that covers workplace injuries an employee may suffer on the job. In the event of an on-the-job injury, the employee can receive compensation for medical expenses and loss of wages due to the injury and regardless of fault.
A business can choose to obtain state or private insurance or may even decide to self-insure to cover staff, and employees are not required to share in the cost of the insurance premiums. In exchange for workers compensation in Florida, workers are prevented from taking legal action against their employers for further compensation in an attempt to cover expenses incurred from the injury. This may differ for third party fault, as discussed below.
What Exactly Is Workers Compensation?
In Florida, compensation benefits for workers who are injured on the job are a form of wage replacement. How much a worker will receive depends on how much his or her ability to perform their regular scope of work is impacted by the on-the-job injury. In this state, workers do not have to prove that their employer was to blame for the injury, but only that the injury took place while working.
The Low-Down on Workers Compensation in Hollywood, Florida
Below are a few facts the represent the state of the law in Florida as of January 2006. This field of law can be a complex one, and the policies and laws are subject to change at any time. An experienced worker’s compensation attorney can help workers who have been injured at work to navigate compensation laws and seek the benefits they are entitled to.
- Workers compensation is compulsory for employers in the state of Florida.
- Waivers are permitted, but corporate officers may choose to be exempt. Note that in the construction industry, no more than three such officers can be exempt, and each corporate officer must demonstrate a minimum of 10% ownership of the business.
- Employees who are injured on the job may choose a physician from a list that may be supplied by the insurance carrier or managed care organization, depending on the type of cover the employer has. Workers are entitled to petition for a one-time change of medical professionals.
- Workers must wait a period of seven days for their compensation benefits.
- Compensation can be backdated if the worker’s disability continues for more than 21 days from the date of his or her injury.
- Employers within the construction industry with one or more workers must carry workers compensation in Florida. However, real estate brokers and salespeople whose earnings are based only on commission are exempt from coverage. The state’s statute excludes some people from the definition of an “employee,” such as owner-operators of vehicles that transport property.
Workers Compensation Exceptions in the State of Florida
In this state, there are a number of exceptions that apply in terms of compensation coverage for employees. The below types of employees do not have to be covered by their employers:
- Freelance cab drivers
- Casual laborers who perform work outside of the usual course of an employer’s business on any work that lasts 10 or less days and pays less than the sum of $500
- People performing community service that has been ordered by a court of law
- Domestic servants who work in private homes
- Orchestra, band, theatrical, and musical performers
- Professional athletes
- Volunteers who do not get compensation other than their expenses being reimbursed
- Farm laborer of employers who employee five or less regular workers and less than 12 other workers at one time for work completed in less than 30 days and not in excess of 45 days within the same year
- Prisoners, other than those who perform services for private employers
- Independent contractors, as defined by the state’s statute
- Sports officials who oversee amateur sports events and interscholastic sports events
What Is Covered by Compensation Benefits?
Workers compensation benefits cover a range of on-the-job injuries, such as temporary total disability, permanent disability, retraining benefits, critical injury, and in some cases, death benefits.
- Pain and Suffering
While benefits do cover lost wages and medical expenses for workplace injuries, they do not compensate for pain and suffering which workers may incur due to the injury.
- Dangerous Workplace
While fault is not assessed in Hollywood, Florida, employers must still keep workplaces safe. Some employers fail to take on this responsibility and risk exposing staff to conditions that can result in chemical burns, slip and fall accidents, heavy equipment injuries, and toxin exposure.
A skilled workers compensation lawyer in Hollywood, FL will investigate whether a defective product or a third party caused a worker’s injury and if so, such parties may be named in a lawsuit. In some instances, workers may be able to bring a case against an employer if they can show that there was a virtual certainty that an injury might occur, where the employer concealed dangers or where they have been previous complaints by other staff members.
Is Workers Compensation Equal to Wages?
No. No matter how much a worker earns per week in wages, disability compensation is limited to 100% of the state’s average weekly wage, which as of January 2016 was calculated at $863.
When Do the Benefits Start and How Long Do They Last For?
In Hollywood, Florida, when compensation begins will depend on how long an employee’s disability lasts. For example, if the disability lasts for less than 22 days, the benefits will only begin on the eighth day of the disability. But, if the disability lasts longer than 21 days, benefits may be backdated to day one of the disability.
It is important to note that workers must report a workplace accident within 30 days of the date of the incident or initial manifestation of the injury. An employee is compelled to file a petition for benefits within two years of the injury, under Florida’s laws.
Restrictions to Be Aware Of
In this state, the insurance company will authorize the treating physician. Unlike in other states in the U.S., laws regarding workers compensation in Hollywood, Florida do not require employers to keep the worker’s job open for them for when they are healthy enough to return to work.
A Breakdown of the Laws
Hollywood, Florida may be associated with vacations and sunshine, but it takes a great deal of workers to provide services and keep the state running. If a worker is injured on the job, they must be prepared to fight for their rights under the state’s compensation laws. Below, is a summary of the laws for this state.
- Time limit – workers have 30 days to report injuries to the employer, but there may be exceptions as laid out under 440.185. Benefits usually begin on the eighth day for disabilities that do not last longer than 22 days and if the disability lasts for longer than 21 days, the benefits will be allowed from the very first day. Benefits that are claimed for psychiatric claims that stem from physical injuries are typically limited to six months.
- Benefit limits – compensation benefits, as at January 2016, are limited to $863 per week, and may incur further deductions depending on the type of disability. For example, workers who suffer temporary total disability will receive 66 2/3% of their average weekly wages. Workers who suffer critical injuries will receive 80% of their average weekly wages both pre-injury and post-injury. The impairment benefits are typically calculated according to an impairment rating.
Changes to the Laws Over the Years
Workers compensation laws have seen several changes over the years. In October 2003, changes were made to Florida’s workers compensation laws that eliminated the worker’s right to a second opinion from a physician of his or her choice following an on-the-job injury. Rather, insurance carriers will select a doctor to treat and diagnose injuries.
Furthermore, under current state laws, attorney’s fees are limited. This means that many law firms no longer invest the time in litigating a workers compensation claim and workers may have a difficult time seeking compensation if they are unable to enlist the help of an expert workers compensation attorney to represent them.
What Happens If Workers Compensation Benefits Are Denied?
If the compensation benefits are denied, a skilled workers compensation attorney will help an employee file a lawsuit against the insurance provider. The claim may be based on a number of causes of action, such as inaccurate calculation of the employee’s regular wages or an incorrect diagnosis by the workers compensation insurance-allocated physician.
Getting The Claims a Worker Deserves
Florida’s company-friendly laws may prevent workers from getting the compensation benefits they are legally entitled to receive. Whether an employee is concerned that the medical professional he or she was instructed to see misdiagnosed them, or the insurance company is refusing to pay out the benefits, workers should talk to a knowledgeable workers compensation lawyer in Hollywood, Florida who can advise them of their rights and help them fight for the compensation they deserve.