Workers’ Compensation In The Construction Industry
The majority of businesses in Florida are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but certain industries have unique requirements that need to be fulfilled by employers. The construction industry is perhaps the one with the most exceptions to the general rules, given its inherent danger and seasonal, temporary nature. However, if you work in this industry, your employer is required to carry enough insurance to cover accidents that may occur.
Workers’ Compensation Is Required
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous in the country, causing 21.1 percent of the private-sector worker fatalities in 2018. Countless causes of accidents exist, including falling, being caught between structures or equipment, electrocution, and being struck by falling objects. As a result, workers’ compensation insurance is mandated in the construction industry for businesses with 1 or more employees, including the owner of the business – in short, one must have workers’ compensation insurance as soon as they officially open their business.
It is crucial to understand that if you are a construction contractor, you must ensure that any subcontractor under your aegis must also have workers’ compensation insurance for its employees, either on its own or via an employment agency. If you do not, those employees then become your responsibility, and any injury they sustain must be covered by your policy, which you may not be able to absorb. Also, the construction industry is somewhat unique in that independent contractors are considered employees, at least for the purposes of workers’ compensation coverage, so this adds to the numbers who must be covered.
Can I File Suit?
If you are injured on the job while working in the construction industry, you should be able to recover from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, which will allow you to see a doctor and to receive benefits for the period you are recovering. However, if your employer has neglected to ensure that everyone working for them is covered, you may be able to file suit against them. The Florida workers’ compensation system is founded on a trade: the employee gives up their right to sue in exchange for guaranteed coverage from the employer for on-the-job injuries. If the employer does not provide coverage, the employee has no obligation to refrain from suit.
If you do decide to file suit, be aware that while the process to do so will generally take longer than filing a workers’ compensation claim would, the statute of limitations is also longer – a workers’ compensation claim carries a two-year statute of limitations (meaning that you have two years from the date of the injury to file suit), but a personal injury lawsuit has a four-year statute of limitations. While you should still seek to file suit as quickly as possible, it may be helpful to know that you have a longer period of time in which to get your case together.
Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Being injured on the job is a jarring experience that can, if the injury is serious enough, completely alter your way of life – and in the construction industry, the chance of serious injury is sadly higher than usual. The Orlando workers’ compensation attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group will fight for you and your rights, working to ensure that your claim is taken seriously. Call our offices today for a free consultation.