If you are injured while working you are entitled to a free medical care for your injuries and disability benefits while you are unable to work. Not every employer, however, has to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for its employees. An employer has to have at least four (4) employees to be required, by law, to have this insurance coverage. The construction industry is different. If the employer is engaged in the construction industry then it only has to have ONE, yes ONE, employee to be required to have this coverage.
There are good things and bad things about Florida’s workers’ compensation law. The first good thing about it is that it is a no fault system. The employer can not blame the accident on you to avoid providing you benefits. Even if you are 100% at fault, you get 100% of the benefits. There are limited exceptions to that such as if the accident was caused by your intoxication.
The second good thing about the law is that it is designed to be “self-executing.” This means your employer, or its carrier, is supposed to provide you benefits without you having to hire a lawyer or file a formal legal document. All you have to do is tell your employer that you were involved in an accident. Your employer, or its carrier, will then authorize a physician or clinic to treat you. The carrier’s adjuster will follow up with your physician concerning what tests need to be done, whether you need to see a specialist, and whether you are disabled from work. The adjuster will then authorize the necessary tests and referrals and send out a disability check for as long as your physician indicates that you are unable to work. If any of this does not occur, you need to consult with an attorney.
One of the bad things about the workers’ compensation law is that you are not allowed to pick the doctor that treats you. The employer or its carrier does that. If you do not like the doctor that they pick you can make them pick somebody else. However, they are still the ones who get to pick the alternative doctor. Furthermore, you can only make them do this once.
Another bad thing about the law is that it only provides limited damages. For example, there is no such thing as money for pain and suffering. You are entitled to medical care and a percentage of your lost wages. The state of Florida provides some rehabilitation benefits in the form of retraining if you are unable to return to the wages that you were earning at the time of the accident.
For additional information please do not hesitate to call the office.