If you’re in a situation where you’ve found yourself hurt on the job, the first thing that might come to mind once the dust of the injury settles is whether or not you’re eligible for workers’ compensation. Sometimes, however, the line becomes a little blurred as to whether or not your situation makes you qualified to receive it.
The shocking truth is that a worker is injured on the job every second resulting in over 2.8 million injuries or illnesses in the United States.
Not sure if you’re eligible? Here are a few things you’ll want to know.
Who Offers Workers’ Compensation?
In the state of Florida, it’s a requirement of the law for a business with four or more employees to have workers’ compensation insurance. This applies regardless of their employees being full or part-time workers.
However, depending on whether the company is a sole proprietorship, construction, or agricultural could also change the company’s requirements of whether or not you are eligible as one of their employees. Find out what your company policy is first before going to human resources about your situation.
How Long Does The Process Take?
According to Florida Statutes, an employee needs to inform their employer no more than thirty days after the incident occurred. Otherwise, it won’t be eligible. On the employer side, they are required by law to report the incident to the insurance company within seven days of having learned about it. From there, the insurance company will send out a brochure within three business days that provides more detailed information about what they cover for your situation.
Overall, the process could take well over a month and a half to get started. This is why they recommend you start the process by immediately notifying the person in charge.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Typically workers’ compensation covers most job-related injuries or illnesses. The insurance should be able to cover medical expenses, any going treatments or therapy, as well as replacing any lost wages due to an inability to work because of the injury or illness.
In case of a death, workers’ compensation can also cover any funeral expenses and can sometimes, but not always, help with lost wages for the deceased’s family.
When Is It Time To Hire a Lawyer
You might be thinking a lawyer seems a little extreme for workers’ compensation. However, there are extenuating circumstances that could be cause for someone needing to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. If you file for the compensation and your employer and insurance company deliver without contest, you are legally not allowed to file any suit against either company.
However, if the work-related injury was done on purpose, for instance, this could be cause for a lawsuit. The same goes for if your employer contests your request for workers’ compensation. This would be a great time to hire a lawyer to help navigate whether or not your case is legitimate or not.
Reaching a settlement in the cases can usually be rather difficult, but not impossible. Sometimes the employer or insurance company will pay a settlement, which essentially is a lump sum of money in order to avoid having to continue with court proceedings.
Occasionally this can be a better alternative for both parties involved, but there are some instances when it doesn’t end up being a fair solution. This is why it’s crucial to talk to a lawyer who specializes in these circumstances, so you don’t find yourself settling for less than what you deserve.
No matter the situation, an injury or an illness that is a result of the work you are doing or by another employee within your company is a potential means to receive workers’ compensation. Don’t be nervous to bring this to your human resources department or your manager. It’s their duty to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees.