My Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance
In Florida, workers’ compensation insurance is required for most businesses, though there are some common exceptions. On-the-job injuries happen with regularity in most industries, and workers’ compensation is usually the exclusive remedy for a worker (as opposed to suing their employer). However, some employers that are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance do not actually do so – and if this happens to you, it can be an extremely precarious situation.
Penalties For Lacking Coverage Can Be Severe
When an employee is hurt at work, they have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim as long as they report the injury to their employer within 30 days of it happening. Their application may be approved or denied, but either way, workers’ compensation is the only method by which an employee can seek benefits from their employer. The agreement between an employer and employee in Florida is that an employee waives their right to sue for negligence in exchange for guaranteed benefits regardless of fault (if their claim is approved).
If an employer is reported to the relevant authorities as not having the required coverage, the penalties can be quite severe. In some cases, the penalties for an employer can be criminal; in others, fines and stop-work orders are the chosen remedy. A stop-work order halts all work done by a company until they are in full compliance with the law, which can sometimes even be more serious than criminal consequences.
What Are My Options?
Because workers’ compensation is the employee’s only remedy, this means that unlike in many other states, Florida has no ‘uninsured employer’ fund, for employees who cannot file for workers’ compensation. An employee who might have otherwise filed for workers’ compensation only has one real option, and that is to file suit against their employer for negligence due to the harm they have suffered.
As has been stated, it is normally impossible to file suit against one’s employer over a work injury. There are two exceptions to this rule in Florida: if the employer is guilty of gross negligence or intentional malice, or if they do not carry workers’ compensation insurance despite being legally required to do so. The rationale is that if the employer has no insurance, no covenant not to sue exists. While a personal injury lawsuit may or may not be successful, it is generally the best option in such a situation.
Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation coverage is seen as a right for many employees – and if you are in a situation where your employer should have coverage, you have the right to seek compensation elsewhere. An Orlando workers’ compensation attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help to clear the air and guide you through the legal process. Contact our office today for a free consultation.