If you’ve been injured on the job in Florida, workers’ compensation insurance can be of great benefit to your recovery and possibly lost wages, etc. These benefits provided by workers’ compensation may cover more than you’d expect, so consulting with a Tampa worker’s compensation lawyer is absolutely in your best interest.
As an employee, you are almost guaranteed to be covered by Florida’s workers’ comp. insurance. These benefits were specifically designed to protect injured workers from lost wages and financial hardship stemming from medical bills related to a work injury.
There is a small catch though, and to benefit from workers’ compensation, you usually must relinquish your right to sue your employer in any manner. Using this rule, workers’ compensation insurance protects both worker and employer. This is a serious and vital point, and one of the main reasons to consult with your workers’ comp lawyer. If your injuries are serious enough, and possibly caused by negligence, defective or under-maintained equipment, etc., you and your lawyer may decide that you may have to sue to get the funds needed to recover and financially thrive.
Workers’ compensation is simply another type of insurance, just like auto insurance, etc. It commonly will cover what you would expect your car insurance policy to cover if you sustained an injury in an automobile accident.
This may include, but not be limited to:
- Medical bills and most all medical care.
- Lost wages that you may incur while you recuperate.
- Prescription medications that you may require.
- Special medical equipment to aid in your recovery.
- General income replacement while you cannot work at your job.
- Certain other job replacement benefits.
The type and extent of your benefits are critically dependent on how serious your injury is. So, you, and your lawyer must determine if your accident created a minor disability, partial disability, or a permanent disability that you may have to deal with for the rest of your life.
Simply then, from a legal point of view, you most likely will be covered by workers’ comp for your injury but signing off on your rights to sue may cause unsurmountable harm to your future health, income, and your family’s well-being.
Are Some Florida Companies Exempt from Carrying Workers’ Comp?
Almost all companies in the State of Florida must cover their employees with workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are a limited number of employees that are exempt from having workers’ compensation policies.
A few examples of these are as follows:
- Employees of companies with four or fewer employees, except for agricultural and construction companies. Please note that employees of companies that do construction or construction-related work are required to have workers’ compensation insurance if they employ even one person.
- Employees of agricultural companies that employ six or fewer full-time employees or 12 or fewer seasonal employees.
- Usually, corporate officers in non-construction companies are exempt from having workers’ compensation insurance. Also, up to three corporate officers of construction companies could be exempt from having workers’ compensation insurance.
There are more, and your Tampa workers’ comp lawyer will know, with his expertise on the subject, will know exactly if any of these exemptions would apply to you. Receiving any of your rights under the Florida workers’ comp laws should most definitely not be left to chance. Your Tampa workers’ comp lawyer will make sure you receive what you rightfully, and legally, deserve.
Should I Involve my Medical Providers If I Plan on Using Workers’ Comp?
Even if you’ve been injured at work, but pay for your health insurance, it is most likely in your best interest to provide all your health insurance information to your medical providers as soon as you can. You may also ask them to bill your health insurance in the uncommon event that the workers’ compensation insurer declines to authorize all necessary treatment.
Your health comes first, and your doctor or medical professional will know what you need immediately. It is important to note, however, that personal health insurers are usually not required to pay for any kinds of work-related injuries if workers’ compensation has issued a denial, but your health insurer is certainly required to pay for the immediate treatment you need. Please remember this and let them know at the first opportunity you get. This can be a “sticky” legal area and your workers’ comp lawyer will be immensely helpful in assuring that you get the treatment you require and that it is paid for on time.
What If Workers’ Comp Won’t Pay for the Care I Need?
Your workers’ compensation insurer is responsible and should pay for the entirety of any necessary, reasonable medical treatment. Also, understand that you are not responsible for co-payments for any of this care. The medical providers you use are prohibited by law from billing you on any balances, or overages, you may incur. This is referred to as “balance billing” and is illegal, but most employees are ignorant of this fact.
“Balance billing” is a practice where your medical provider may attempt to bill you for the difference between what the workers’ comp insurance company has paid them, and the amount they would usually bill a patient who does not have any insurance in place. This practice ignores the fact that the Florida workers’ compensation laws mandate that your employer’s workers’ comp insurer pay for 100% of your work-related medical bills.
I Have Been Injured on the Job, What Should I Do First?
First, get the immediate medical help you need as nothing is more important than that! Then understand that workers’ comp will usually pay all the funds needed for treatment, recovery, and possibly a great deal more. However, you know it is unfortunate that most insurance companies only pay what they must.
Carlson, Meissner, Hart, and Hayslett are a Tampa-based Florida workers’ comp law firm that has decades of experience providing a voice for those who need it most. Get a consultation and make sure you, and your family, get what you need and rightfully deserve.