Is It Really Legal for Your Employer Not to Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
According to Florida law, every company that employs four or more workers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. They use this insurance to pay the medical claims of all workers who get injured on the job, regardless of who, if anyone, is at fault for causing the injury. This makes it sound like it is very easy to get your treatment for work injuries paid for, but injured workers sometimes encounter obstacles. The employer may deny that the injury is work-related, or they may deny that they are legally your employer in a way that would make it their responsibility to pay your claim. If you run into either of these problems with your workers’ compensation claim, contact a South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer.
Four Employees or More, but Who Is an Employee?
The general rule is that companies with four employees or more must carry workers’ compensation insurance for all of them. For purposes of workers’ compensation insurance requirements, business owners and partners count as employees. Therefore, if you and three equal partners own a business together, even if it is in an apparently low-risk industry such as flower arranging or web design, the company must carry workers’ comp insurance. This rule applies regardless of the business structure of your company, such as whether your company files taxes as a partnership or an LLC. Only sole proprietorships (one-person businesses) are not required to carry workers’ comp insurance.
Special Rules for the Construction and Agriculture Industries
The construction and agriculture industries carry such a high risk of work injuries that even the smallest companies, including sole proprietorship owners and two-person partnerships. Florida law delineates a long list of tasks that count as construction work for purposes of this requirement. For example, landscaping, masonry, carpentry, and plumbing all count as construction work.
Agricultural businesses likewise have their own set of rules, because their employees often work seasonally. An agricultural business that has six or more year-round employees or twelve or more seasonal employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. To be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, seasonal workers must work no less than 30 but no more than 45 days per calendar year.
What’s a Gig Worker to Do?
Independent contractors can face big challenges when trying to file workers’ compensation claims, since the party that hired you to perform the work might argue that, since you are an independent contractor, you are not really an employee. In projects that involve a complex web of contractors and subcontractors, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine which one is your statutory employer. The law requires contractors to take responsibility for the workers’ compensation claims of subcontractors’ employees if the subcontractor does not carry workers’ compensation insurance.
You Can File a Workers’ Comp Claim Even If You Work for a Very Small Company
The goal of workers’ compensation laws is to protect all workers injured in workplace accidents, even if they work for very small companies. Contact a Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for a consultation on your case.