Workers’ compensation law.
It may be illegal for a small business owner in Miami Florida to go without worker’s compensation insurance, depending on the type of business and the number of employees working there. Florida State requires employers to provide worker’s compensation insurance for their employees and the coverage requirement is tailored to the type of industry, the number of employees and the business structure of the entity.
Florida business must carry workers’ compensation as follows:
- Construction businesses must have insurance if they have 1 or more employees, including business owners who are officers or limited liability company (LLC) members.
- Non-construction businesses must have insurance if there are 4 or more employees, including business owners who are officers or limited liability company (LLC) members. Sole proprietors and partners are not considered employees unless they want to be included on the business’s insurance policy, in which case they need to fill out a special form and send it to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation.
- Agricultural business entities must have insurance if there are 6 or more regular employees and/or 12 seasonal workers who work more than 30 days but less than 45 in a calendar year.
- Out of state workers have specific requirements based on the type of work they will perform in Florida, and if they have insurance, they must notify their home state insurance carrier who may use an extraterritorial reciprocity clause to cover out of state employees while working in Florida. If they have no insurance, they must apply for a Florida policy.
- Contractors who use sub-contractors must make certain that they have worker’s compensation before beginning a project in accordance with Florida’s Administrative Code. If a sub-contractor does not have their own insurance, it is the responsibility of the contractor to pay for benefits related to injuries, illness or death.
Exemptions are available based on meeting Florida State requirements for a business to opt out of buying insurance coverage, or insurance can be purchased from a commercial provider and certain businesses may self-insure, based on revenue.
Legal woes and financial strain.
Failure to purchase workers’ compensation could result in lawsuits that will wipe out the financial stability of a business if an injured party sues an employer for the benefits and brings tort action, where they could recover more than the costs associated with purchasing insurance in the first place. Because the employer was acting against the law in a case such as this, an employee would be in a better position to recover more and the employer could lose their right to defend the action.
A business could literally be shut down and fined until the situation is corrected under a Stop Work Order where payment of compensation must be confirmed to allow the conducting of normal business once again. The Workers Compensation Division is supposed to give an employer a chance to supply evidence of coverage, and if they cannot, a penalty of $1,000 a day can be charged. Workers’ compensation insurance is the law in Florida and it protects a business from risk while protecting employees.
A Florida workers’ compensation claim must be filed within 2 years from the date of injury (this date does not start until the injured person realizes the serious nature of their injury or job-related disease), or after the initial 2 years, within one year of the last payment of compensation for medical treatment or care.
Seek legal counsel.
If you need assistance with a matter involving Florida workers’ compensation, contact a knowledgeable attorney at the Law Offices of Mario Trespalacios, in Miami.
Mario Trespalacios P.A.
9495 SW 72 Street, Suite B-275
Miami, FL 33173
Phone: (305) 261-5800