Workers’ Compensation And The Construction Industry
Workers’ compensation insurance is generally an expense that many employers do not even think about in this day and age; employees are rarely injured on the job in their fields. However, in industries like construction, workers’ compensation insurance and premiums are very relevant and important, and not simply because of the cost. Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in Florida, and as such, it faces certain unique issues that not many others experience. If you are in the construction industry, it is a good idea to understand the potential outcomes if you are injured and need to file a claim.
Insurance Requirements Are Strict
Because construction is a dangerous field in general, employers in the industry face somewhat more stringent insurance requirements than most others. For example, most employers in Florida must carry workers’ compensation insurance if they employ four or more people, but in the construction industry, an employer with one or more employees must carry it. If your employer does not have it, that may be grounds to complain to state authorities.
It is important to keep in mind that this applies not only to those directly employed by the main contractor at a site; this also applies to subcontractors and what Florida calls statutory employees. There is often confusion as to who exactly constitutes a statutory employee, but in the construction industry it is usually fairly straightforward – a statutory employee is someone who is ostensibly in business for themselves, but comes under the main contractor’s insurance for purposes of workers’ compensation.
Be Ready To Fight
Construction is generally a dangerous field, with work sites being hazardous and the equipment involved being both heavy and temperamental at times. Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the private construction industry had by far the highest rate of fatal injury, with approximately 20 percent of all on-the-job fatal injuries coming in construction. Contractors in the field fared arguably worse – 48 percent of the fatal injuries for contractors in 2016 were construction contractors and subsidiary employees.
Because injuries are so common, workers’ compensation claims are scrutinized somewhat harder by insurers, so as to avoid paying out any claim they believe to be overstated or misleading. Florida insurers have made it harder in general to access benefits, including restricting psychological injury benefits, capping permanent total disability benefits at a certain age (usually 75 years old), and the like. The state has a strong insurance lobby, so unfortunately, it is a good idea to prepare for a fight in many instances, at least where a claim is not something extremely ordinary.
Consult An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Working in construction is a somewhat hazardous way to make a living, and it is important to understand your rights and protections to ensure that you are able to work in the industry for years to come. If you are injured on the job and have questions about filing a claim, consulting an Orlando workers’ compensation attorney can be a great help. The Hornsby Law Group is well versed in workers’ compensation cases and someone from our firm will be happy to help you with yours. Call our office today to set up an appointment.