Insurance is often something people don’t think about very much until they need its protection. That is surely the case for workers’ compensation insurance, which is a form of insurance your employer should carry on your behalf.
Most people assume that the company that employs them carries this critical form of insurance to protect them if they wind up developing a work-related injury or illness. While it is true that Florida requires companies to carry workers’ compensation insurance in most situations, some companies will cancel their policy or otherwise fail to offer necessary insurance protections for their workers.
Informing yourself about when your employer has an obligation to offer workers’ compensation insurance can help you better advocate for yourself if you get hurt on the job.
Most businesses have an obligation to carry workers’ compensation insurance
Running a business often involves trying to keep costs low in order to turn a profit. Workers’ compensation insurance costs can be prohibitive, especially for startup companies and small businesses, which is one reason why Florida regulations try to offer some leniency for very small businesses. Generally speaking, almost every company that operates in Florida will have to have workers’ compensation coverage.
However, a business operating in an industry other than construction with fewer than four employees does not have to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their staff. If you work for a farmer, workers’ compensation insurance only becomes mandatory if they have more than five regular employees, or 12 or more seasonal employees. For businesses in construction with one employee, even if that employee is the owner of the business, workers’ compensation is necessary.
If your employer is non-compliant, you should report them
If you discover after an injury or through the course of regular business operations that your employer has not obtained or continued to carry the necessary workers’ compensation insurance policy to protect their staff, you can make an anonymous report to the state. This can verify their lack of compliance and potentially force them to take action.
If you wind up hurt on the job, only to discover that your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance when you try to make a claim, you may have other options available to offset your lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to your injury or occupational illness. In some cases, civil action against your employer may become necessary to secure the compensation you deserve, particularly if negligence contributed to the conditions that caused your injury or illness.
Although you may worry about losing your job, if your employer has put you and other staff at unnecessary risk and failed to secure insurance to protect you, taking action can help protect you and anyone else currently employed by the company.