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Were you injured while working in the North Port area? Boohoff Law’s personal injury lawyers can help you navigate the complex workers’ compensation system.
Workers’ compensation pays you if you injure yourself on the job. If your employer falls under the requirements of Florida Statutes §440.02(17)(a), it must carry workers’ compensation insurance. In a nutshell, any non-construction company with at least four employees, any construction employer with one or more employees, and any agricultural business with at least six regular or 12 seasonal employees must offer workers’ compensation.
Florida workers’ compensation laws cover any accidental injury and occupational disease that an employee contracted on the job. Workers’ compensation also covers the death of an employee if the employee dies from covered injuries sustained on the job. According to the Division of Workers’ Compensation, even if an employer does not believe their insurance policy covers an injury, the employer must still file a First Report of Injury or Illness. Employers have seven days from the time they first learn about an injury to file a report with their insurance carrier.
The law is specific about what injuries and illnesses are not covered by workers’ compensation, including injuries, whether mental or physical, due to stress, excitement, or fright; an injury caused by an employee because of their personal dislike for another person’s handicap, national origin, age, religion, sex, race or color; and pain and suffering for any injury. Additionally, workers’ compensation does not cover injuries caused by an employee’s intentional actions meant to kill another person or themselves, or injuries caused because the employee was under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other mind-altering substances.
An employee has up to two years from the date of the accident that caused the injury to file a petition for benefits. However, it is always best to apply for benefits as soon as possible. In some cases, the employee is eligible for benefits, but the employee and the employer have differing views of what constitutes necessary care. In cases such as this, the employee might file a petition for benefits with the Division of Administrative Hearings to get increased benefits.
In most cases, filing a workers’ compensation claim is straightforward—you need only apply for benefits, without the need to prove negligence (although when a workers’ comp attorney files your claim for you, you’re more likely to recover the full amount of compensation you deserve and less likely to suffer delays and wrongful denials).
The law requires subcontractors to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. The law also requires contractors to determine whether any subcontractor they hire carries workers’ compensation insurance. If a subcontractor does not have workers’ compensation insurance or is not required to carry it and the subcontractor’s employee is injured, the contractor must pay workers’ compensation benefits. If a contractor has to pay benefits because a subcontractor did not have or maintain insurance but was required to do so, the contractor may recover any amounts paid on the subcontractor’s behalf from the subcontractor. A subcontractor might show proof of workers’ compensation insurance by providing the contractor with a printout from the Division of Workers’ Compensation showing the subcontractor’s information, a copy of the subcontractor’s workers’ compensation insurance policy, or a certificate of liability insurance from the carrier or producer that confirms that the subcontractor has workers’ compensation insurance in place.
While some employers may hire independent contractors, construction companies may not avoid paying workers’ compensation by hiring independent contractors. Other employers who wish to hire people as independent contractors must follow the rules for determining whether the hired person is an employee or an independent contractor. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney who practices tort law understands the elements of negligence and how those elements apply to your specific situation.
If a third party’s negligence—that is, not your employer—caused your injuries, you may have grounds to sue for general damages and even punitive damages. You will want to discuss this in detail with your workers’ compensation lawyer and see if your case involves the negligence of any third parties.
If the court agrees that the employer’s actions were negligent and that those negligent actions caused your injury, you might recover:
The law only provides for punitive damages when the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional. Punitive damages are not meant to make the injured person whole, but to punish the defendant for their behavior. If someone’s malicious or especially egregious actions resulted in your injury, you may attempt to seek punitive damages. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether this option applies in your case.
If you suffered an injury at work or lost a loved one due to injuries sustained at a North Port workplace, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Boohoof Law. You can reach us at (877) 999-9999 for a free consultation. We have the experience to help.
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