Florida Workers’ Comp: How it Affects You
Because workplace injuries are common, workers’ compensation insurance (better known as workers’ comp) is provided to employees by their employers to provide compensation in case of an accident on the job. It’s a type of insurance, so it covers about what you expect an insurance policy for injuries. These include lost wages, medical bills, prescriptions, replacement benefits, and medical equipment costs. It’s a benefit to everyone because if workers get paid if they’re hurt on the job, it’s far less likely they’ll sue their employers.
Your coverage under workers’ compensation will vary depending on your career and your injury. One of the big categories looked at for determining coverage is the extent to which you were injured. Your payout will be different depending on whether your accident created no disability, a partial disability, or a permanent one. A construction worker with a broken arm has a partial disability, for example, if they can’t return to work the next day, but an office worker might not qualify for that type of coverage. For something more severe, like a permanent or total disability, your workers’ comp might be replacing your income for the rest of your life.
Workers’ comp does not cover pain and suffering the way a personal injury settlement might. However, if the accident was due to a third party influence, such as an equipment error, then the manufacturer might be named in a separate lawsuit which could result in pain and suffering compensation.
Coverage Restrictions For Employees
Of course, receiving worker’s comp benefits isn’t a free handout for anyone who gets a papercut on the job. There are a few qualifying factors that you must meet.
At least 50% of your injury must have been sustained at your place of work. So a pre-existing injury like a broken arm that you further damaged on the job wouldn’t qualify you for worker’s comp, even if the reason you exacerbated it was because you tripped at the job site.
Furthermore, you’re disqualified from receiving benefits if you were intoxicated or on drugs when you were injured, if you failed to observe safety rules, if you inflicted the injury on yourself, or if you injured yourself with the intent to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
If your injuries fall under any of these categories, you’re also ineligible to sue your employer for your injuries. The logic goes that, in those cases, the injuries because the employee was negligent, rather than the employer.
Although workers face exemptions for specific types of workers’ comp claims that exclude employees from suing, there are also rules holding employers accountable. Because workers’ comp claims only apply to the job site, an employer can’t get out of litigation by insisting you file a workers’ comp claim rather than go through the judicial process. And if your employer doesn’t process your claim in a timely manner or doesn’t provide workers’ comp coverage at all, then an employee may sue their employer directly.
If you have questions about a workers’ comp claim, you may wish to speak to a personal injury attorney to see if there are other avenues you can explore to redress your injuries.