Workers’ compensation refers to the insurance purchased by an employer on behalf of their employees to provide medical and wage benefits to those injured during the course of their employment. Florida is known as a “business-friendly” state, and its workers’ compensation law is quite extensive in its responsibility toward employees. In this post, we analyze the statute’s benefits and limitations for workers by performing a basic SWOT analysis.
Mandatory requirement: Florida law requires all employers to purchase workers’ compensation benefitting their employees, barring certain exceptions.
Entitlement: Florida’s statute is in essence a wage replacement act, and the extent of your injuries forms the basis of your entitlement.
Establishment of fault: Florida is one of the few states in the U.S. that does not require the establishment of employer’s fault for the workman’s injury, so long as the injury occurred while performing the job.
Undocumented workers: Unlike many U.S. states, Florida mandates insurance coverage for even undocumented/illegal immigrant workers.
Penalty for non-compliance: Businesses that fail to comply with the statute requirements risk civic penalties such as temporary cease of operations of the business until compliance. Non-compliance to civic liability might also result in criminal charges on the employers.
Choice of medical provider: Workers are compelled to choose only from the authorized list of medical providers for their treatment in order to be eligible for the coverage. If you are treated by your choice of doctor/medical facility, the employer’s insurer can choose to deny your claim.
Time limit for receiving benefits: The law limits your right to benefits based on your ability to get back to work. It does not matter whether you will be unable to perform your old job. As long as you are able to perform ANY job, the insurance company can choose to stop honoring your benefits check.
Benefit delivery duration: A majority of U.S. states do not have specific time limitations for temporary total benefit delivery. Florida workers can greatly benefit if the time limit is not restricted to the current 104 weeks.
Wage percentage for temporary total benefits: Currently, Florida provides benefits based on 66 2/3 percent of average wages. It would be greatly beneficial for Florida employees if the state could emulate certain U.S. states, which provide up to 70 percent of average wages as benefit.
Statutory permanent partial benefits: Yet another opportunity area would be the compensation rate for statutory benefits. At 50 percent of weekly benefit, Florida’s rate of compensation for statutory benefits is much lesser than the 100 percent of the weekly benefit provided by most U.S states.
Job security: Florida’s law does not require the employer to hold your job for you until you are ready to come back to work. Therefore, don’t be surprised if you return from your injury and realize that your job is being performed by someone else.
Statute of Limitations: If for any reason you have not applied for workers’ compensation for more than two years from the injury date, Florida’s laws do not allow you to claim benefits under the act except in certain cases.
To find out more about how we can help maximize your compensation benefits under Florida laws, contact us at 1-800-253-5523 and schedule a free consultation today.