Injured workers who contact a Miami Springs workers comp lawyer sometimes get the bad news that they do not have a valid case. Or that they made some mistakes before seeking legal assistance and it would be very hard to prove their workers compensation claim and win their benefits.
So let us discuss in detail the requirements to be eligible for workers compensation benefits in Florida.
1. Your Work Status
The first thing an attorney wants to know is whether you are an employee of the company or an independent contractor. This is the first and most important aspect of determining eligibility.
Under Florida law, independent contractors are not covered by the workers comp system. Technically, they are working for themselves, and only providing services to clients. Unfortunately, many employers manage to trick employees into signing independent contractor agreements.
However, a skilled lawyer may be able to prove that you are an employee and that your employer misclassified you in order to avoid paying workers compensation benefits. This is why you should not lose hope if your employer says that you do not have the right to file a claim. Instead, call our firm to schedule an appointment with a lawyer.
2. The Type of Job You Perform
Some employees are not covered by workers compensation insurance in Florida. This is the case for:
- Railway workers
Agricultural companies with at least six regular employees or 12 seasonal workers who work at least 30 days in a season (but not more than 45 days a year) must carry workers’ compensation.
3. The Accident Must Occur While You Were on the Clock
Many injured workers believe that they have the right to file a claim if they were injured while going to work or whenever they are on company premises even if their shift did not start or has just ended.
In reality, the workers compensation system offers benefits strictly for injuries you suffered while you are on the clock. This means, that you are not eligible to file a claim if your accident happened:
- While driving to and from work
- During the lunch break
- After you clocked out.
4. You Were Performing Activities within the Scope of Employment
Another important aspect of a workers comp claim is whether you were performing your regular job duties when you suffered the accident. Thus, helping a coworker with tasks not related to your scope of employment does not qualify as a workplace accident.
For instance, if you work as an electrician on a construction site but help another worker carry a heavy load and injure your back, you may not file a claim. Lifting weights is not part of your job duties. However, if a site manager instructed you to help the worker, then you were following a superior’s instructions and your claim is valid.
5. You Reported the Accident in a Timely Manner
You must report the accident to your employer verbally as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days from the date of the injury. The best way to proceed is to verbally inform a manager or HR about the accident as soon as it happens, and then follow it up with a written notification.
In most of the cases, workers comp claims get denied if the worker waited several days
before telling their employer about the accident. In most of these cases, the workers comp insurance companies suspect that the delay is due to the fact that you wanted to avoid taking a drug and alcohol test.
Or, they may say that you got injured at home and try to pass it off as a workplace accident and collect benefits you’re not entitled to.
Call a Skilled Miami Springs Workers Comp Lawyer!
The eligibility criteria for workers compensation are quite complex in Florida. This is why you should consult with an experienced attorney to find out whether you qualify. Your employer may not be totally honest with you, so you should not take their word when they say that you cannot file a claim.
The best course of action is to gather all the available evidence (including your employment documents) and give us a call at (786) 686-2857 to schedule a free case review with an experienced Miami Springs workers comp lawyer!