Suffering an injury or becoming ill from work-related duties could strain Florida employees financially. Eligible full-time employees could take advantage of workers’ compensation laws to procure benefits while they recover. Workers’ comp is an insurance program employers pay into, and Florida remains a no-fault state. That means the injured worker does not need to prove negligence to collect. However, the claimant must follow a specific process to receive benefits.
Workers’ compensation basics
Workers’ compensation insurance only covers injuries or illnesses employees suffer on the job or because of work duties. It is a program employers pay into in part to shield them from negligence lawsuits. Only employees can file for workers’ comp, as independent contractors are not eligible. However, contractors may file personal injury lawsuits if harmed by negligence.
The workers’ compensation process involves reporting an injury and undergoing a medical examination. The insurer then reviews the claim and issues an approval or denial. An appeals process could overcome a denied claim.
When approved for workers’ comp, the employee would receive financial compensation to help cover expenses during the time away from work. The program may help with medical bills and could cover disability payments. In instances where the worker passes away, a family could seek death benefits.
Workers’ compensation does not entirely shield employers from personal injury lawsuits, as exceptions exist. Employers who engage in deliberate harm or certain types of fraud might face a civil lawsuit. There could be other actions that support legal actions.
Third parties do not receive protection from lawsuits. So, an employee may claim workers’ compensation benefits for an injury at work while filing a defective product, reckless driving or another personal injury claim against a third party.