A workers’ comp violation is a serious offense. The Sunshine State is very dedicated to protecting its residents. Therefore, it has a workers’ compensation system. This workers’ comp structure protects injured and sick workers as long as these issues are work-related. So, Miami workers’ comp attorneys help injured employees get comp benefits for their wounds.
However, it isn’t unusual to see employers violate workers’ compensation rules. When they do, the law also protects vulnerable employees. This protection is through several punitive measures and provisions against erring business owners. That’s why it’s always best to work with a Miami workers’ comp attorney after a work injury. An experienced lawyer can smell workers’ comp violations from a mile away.
Examples of Florida Workers’ Comp Violations
Business owners can violate workers’ compensation rules in several ways. In addition, employees can also be guilty of comp violations. So, we highlight some of such violations below.
Conducting Business Without Insurance
Florida law mandates certain businesses to buy workers’ comp insurance for their employees. This includes employers with four or more employees. Furthermore, these workers could work on a full-time or part-time basis. Therefore, operating without workers’ comp insurance is a legal violation.
Workers’ Compensation Fraud
Employers and their workers both commit workers’ comp fraud in various ways. However, fraud in all its forms is illegal. Usually, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fraud investigates these actions. An employee can act fraudulently by:
- Filing false work-related injury claims
- Exaggerating the extent and implications of their wounds
- Working other jobs while receiving workers’ comp
Notably, workers’ comp fraud can result in criminal prosecutions against the offender.
Employers all over the US misclassify their employees to avoid workers’ comp responsibilities. For example, you may not have to pay premiums for an independent contractor. Therefore, employers often designate regular workers as independent contractors.
Retaliation for filing workers’ comp claims is also against the law. However, employers still sack or threaten to sack employees who file workers’ compensation claims. In addition, the employee’s job is often threatened to prevent them from filing the claim. Finally, it is illegal to refuse to hire a person because they previously filed a comp claim.
Some other workers’ comp violations include:
- Illegally obtaining a certificate of election of exemption
- Punishing employees for cooperating with workers’ comp investigators
- Insurance carriers canceling comp policies because an injured worker returned to work
- Coercing employees to contribute to workers’ comp premiums
Penalties for Florida Workers’ Comp Violations
Illegal actions have consequences. So, there are punishments for businesses that violate workers’ comp laws. We explain three key penalties below.
Fines and Fees
The government can take civil action against employers who violate workers’ comp rules. In addition, they usually impose fines and other fees on such businesses when they do. For example, the workers’ comp investigators often conduct on-site inspections to ensure compliance. So, suppose they see an employer who doesn’t have the required insurance coverage.
They often take civil actions against them and impose fines. For example, such an employer will pay twice what they would have paid in premiums within the past two years. A fee of $5,000 is also assessed for workers who have been falsely classified as independent contractors.
Investigators can also issue stop-work orders. This order ensures that the business doesn’t resume operations until they comply with the law. Furthermore, the stop-work order stays in place until the defaulting employer pays their penalty. Stop-work orders can be issued where the employer:
- Conceals or understates their payroll
- Misrepresents or conceals employee duties
- Avoids paying the right amount of premiums for their workers’ comp insurance policy
Violating a stop-work order is a crime that can result in criminal charges.
Many other workers’ comp violations can also result in criminal proceedings against the defaulting employer. Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Act spells out prohibited actions. So, performing any of these actions can be a misdemeanor or felony.
Furthermore, there are first, second, and third-degree workers’ comp felonies. Employees can also face criminal prosecution for their conduct.
Finally, businesses may also face civil lawsuits because of workers’ comp violations. This will be the case where the employer doesn’t have workers’ comp insurance. The jury will then decide how much the employee deserves for their injury. Notably, too, you can hire a workers’ comp attorney for such proceedings.
Let Miami Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Help You!
Have you sustained a work-related injury or disease? You may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits if you have. You mustn’t hire a lawyer to get comp benefits. However, suppose your employer has committed any of the violations above. Then, you need the best Miami workers’ compensation attorneys. Our lawyers have experience handling and winning comp claims involving unscrupulous Florida employers. So, you can call us today for a FREE consultation.