No matter what job you have here in St. Petersburg, Florida, you will always risk getting injured at work. You could find yourself permanently disabled or out of the job for a while. Either way, not working could cause you to lose income.
Fortunately, Florida’s workers’ compensation laws give injured employees the right to seek benefits from employers that will help pay for their injury-related expenses. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can have one of our St. Petersburg workers’ compensation lawyers work with you throughout the process of filing a claim with your employer.
Rules on Workers’ Compensation in St. Petersburg
The Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation explains how most employers in Florida must provide workers’ compensation insurance. This requirement helps the employer avoid getting sued directly for damages. However, in a rare event, you can file a lawsuit if your boss refuses to reimburse you adequately.
The coverage requirements vary depending on your industry. For instance, agriculture companies with at least six regular employees must provide coverage. They should also do so if they hire at least 12 temporary workers who will be with them for 30-45 days a year.
Meanwhile, construction-related firms need to carry coverage even if they only have one employee. Employers in other industries unrelated to construction must have compensation insurance if they have four or more workers.
Regarding Subcontractors and Out-of-State Employers
If a contractor hires a subcontractor, they are not primarily responsible for providing workers’ compensation insurance to the subcontractor’s personnel. However, they must still ensure that the subcontractor has coverage for their workers. If you are an unprotected subcontractor employee, the contractor must cover your compensation benefits if you get injured.
Companies not based in Florida but with employees working in the state must still provide coverage as stipulated in accordance with Florida law. If the employer’s state has an extraterritorial reciprocity rule, it may operate under that state’s workers’ compensation laws.
Exceptions to Compensation Requirements
Unfortunately, not all St. Petersburg employers are required to carry compensation coverage. Florida Statute § 440.02 (17)(c) states that the following types of work do not count as employment:
- Working as a domestic servant in a residence
- Professional sports athletes
- Court-ordered community service
- Prison inmates except those working for private companies
In addition, independent employees not in the construction industry do not qualify for coverage. However, you could still file a personal injury lawsuit against the company.
How Liability Works in Workers’ Compensation Claims
A workers’ compensation claim is only valid if the injury happened while you were at work. For example, you cannot hold your boss liable if they crashed into your car on the way to the office. Moreover, you might not recover any benefits if you had an existing injury that you aggravated on duty. Injuries caused by intoxication or failure to practice safety protocols could also void your claim.
According to Florida Statutes § 440.39, you may still hold other parties at fault for your injury. For instance, a technician could have shoddily repaired one of the workplace’s machines, which then malfunctioned and injured you. You can make a separate claim against the technician for their negligence.
A St. Petersburg lawyer with our firm can help you investigate other possible parties in your workers’ compensation claim. They can compile evidence such as medical reports and CCTV footage regarding your workplace injury. If you have any questions regarding the local workers’ compensation laws, one of our staff members can answer them for you.
Recovering Through Workers’ Compensation Coverage
As outlined in Florida Statutes § 440.09, a workers’ compensation claim will reimburse your injury-related costs. These include medical expenses, lost income, and possibly, disability.
For permanent disabilities, you could receive 66⅔ percent of your average weekly wages until you are 75 years old. Temporary disabilities will also get you the same percentage for up to 104 weeks (two years). If your injury results in severe conditions such as an amputation or paralysis, you can also get paid 80 percent of your average wages for up to six months.
Unlike personal injury claims, a workers’ compensation claim will typically not include non-economic or pain and suffering damages.
Time Limits for Filing Your Claim
Florida Statutes § 440.185 requires you to notify your employer of your injury within 30 days before filing the compensation claim. However, notification is unnecessary if the company already knows about the injury or you cannot determine the injuries within 30 days without a medical expert’s opinion.
After informing your employer, you now have up to two years to bring your workers’ compensation claim under Florida Statutes § 440.19. Some tolling exceptions could pause the timer, including:
- If your employer has already started reimbursing your medical expenses, this will toll the time limit for one year.
- If the worker was incompetent to file the claim themselves, the timer begins once they have an authorized representative.
A St. Petersburg workers’ compensation lawyer with our firm can help ensure that you submit your claim on time. They can check for any applicable tolling exceptions, monitor your progress, and assist with other pending requirements you may have.
If your employer’s insurer won’t offer you a fair settlement, we can negotiate one for you. And, if we cannot reach an agreement, you can expect us to represent you during legal proceedings.
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Provide Multiple Benefits for You
At our law firm, we go the extra mile for each one of our workers’ compensation clients. For example, in addition to handling the basic tasks of your case, we will:
- Give you your workers’ compensation lawyer’s phone number
- Quickly get back to you via email
- Answer any questions you may have right away
- Keep you posted on any updates in your case
- Provide assistance with scheduling appointments
We are committed to taking care of all aspects of your case while you get better. Our past clients have been very satisfied with this approach. Here is what a couple of them have had to say:
- “I was very pleased with the service I received from the law firm of Anidjar and Levine… Shire was very attentive and worked hard to make sure all of my concerns were sufficiently addressed. I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone!” – Viviana J.
- “What unbelievable professionalism. If you have to hire an attorney to represent you during a difficult time, there is no other choice than Anidjar and Levine. Everyone I dealt with was great. Special thanks to Jonathan Holtz.” – Charles L.
Fight for Your Right to Get Benefits with the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine
Workplace injuries can put a significant dent in your finances, but you do not have to face your problems alone. Our St. Petersburg workers’ compensation lawyers will help you comply with filing requirements and represent you in front of the insurance company and with your employer.
Our legal team assists clients throughout Florida, including in St. Petersburg. To discuss your situation with a team member today in a free consultation, call 1-800-747-3733. Your attorney’s payment comes out of your final winnings, so there are no upfront fees.