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How Do You Become Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Florida, like other states, has a workers’ compensation system that requires most employers to carry insurance to provide financial benefits to employees injured on the job. Those benefits include reimbursement for medical treatment and for wages lost due to missing work. If you are employed in Florida, it is essential to make sure you are covered by workers’ compensation and to take the necessary steps to obtain the benefits you deserve.

To begin with, be aware that not all Florida employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Employers must do so only if one of the following applies:

  • They are in the construction business.
  • They are engaged in agriculture and have six or more regular employees or 12 or more seasonal employees who work for more than 30 days a year.
  • They are a non-agricultural business with four or more full-time or part-time employees.

The inclusion of all construction companies in the law’s mandate is due to the inherently dangerous nature of the work.

If you’re covered by workers’ comp insurance and are injured or suffer an illness on the job, you must notify your employer within 30 days of the injury or within 30 days of your learning of the illness from a doctor, if it was not apparent otherwise. If possible, you should report your injury before you seek treatment, if possible, because your employer’s insurer must authorize payment to your treating doctors.

Florida recognizes some exceptions to the 30-day notice requirement, including these situations:

  • Your employer or its agent has actual knowledge of your accident, such as when your supervisor witnesses it.
  • Your employer failed to post notices to its employees required by the workers’ compensation law.
  • There were exceptional circumstances that justified the delay. These are determined on a case-by-case basis.

However, relying on an exception makes proving your eligibility more difficult. You might have to go through a difficult appeals process to get any benefits.

There are legal time limits for claiming workers’ comp benefits. You must file a claim within two years of your injury. However, the sooner you report your injury and file a claim, the sooner you are likely to get the benefits to which you are entitled.

If your employer disputes your right to workers’ compensation coverage or contests the validity of a claim, be sure to consult with a skilled and knowledgeable Florida workers’ compensation attorney. The lawyer can review your case, determine if you qualify and make sure that you meet all the required time limits. If you are already past the 30-day notice deadline, your attorney may be able to qualify you under one of the exceptions to that deadline.

Vassallo, Bilotta & Davis assists injured Florida workers in all aspects of workers’ compensation, including appeals from denial of claims. Please call 561-471-2800 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation at one of our offices, located in West Palm Beach and Stuart.

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  • West Palm Beach Office
    2001 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.
    Suite 204
    West Palm Beach, Florida 33409
    Phone: 561-471-2800
    Fax: 561-471-2818
  • Stuart Office
    50 E. Ocean Blvd.
    Stuart, Florida 34994
    Phone: 772-221-8262
Verdicts & Settlements
  • "$3,200,000 -- Motorcycle crash causing abdominal injuries* Defendant who was driving a van which struck our client only had $10,000 insurance coverage. Due to the failure of the insurer to timely resolve the case we obtained a settlement of 3.2 million."

  • "$2,156,249 -- Slip & fall causing low back injuries* Defendant grocery store put out wet floor signs due to a leaking freezer. Client fell while walking down the aisle. Defendant claimed client was 100% at fault. A jury found no responsibility on the client and awarded over 2.1 million in damages."

  • "$1,550,000 -- Tractor Trailor crash causing back injuries * Defendant trucking company claimed their driver was not at fault for a crash on I-95 and blamed a phantom vehicle After a trial the jury awarded our client over 1.5 million in damages."

  • "$1,417,937 -- Car crash causing injuries to an elderly couple.* Defendant claimed the husband who was 83 years old violated defendant's right of way. After a trial the jury awarded the husband and wife over 1.4 million."

  • "$1,000,000 -- Full-size Pickup Truck striking the back of client's car* Defendant denied liability claiming they were pushed from behind into our client. The case settled after a 2 week trial, while the jury was out deliberating."