Do My Injuries Qualify for Workers’ Compensation in Florida?
Under Florida law, the vast majority of employers that have four or more employees are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. For employees, this coverage is important, as it will give workers access to desperately needed benefits (both income and medical) should they become injured while on the job.
Yet, while injured Florida workers have a clear legal right to recover workers’ compensation benefits, many find that actually obtaining these benefits can be extremely challenging. Here, our Tampa workplace accidents attorneys discuss when an on-the-job injury qualifies for workers’ compensation in Florida.
The Types of Injuries that Qualify for Florida Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Many different types of injuries can happen on the job. In Florida, the term ‘injury’ is defined very broadly. Indeed, you can seek workers’ compensation benefits for a wide variety of underlying injuries and medical conditions. Specifically, you might be entitled to medical or income replacement benefits for:
- Any physical injury that was caused by single accident;
- A repetitive stress injury (RSI) that developed slowly over time;
- A disease or disorder that is related to your job; or
- A mental health injury that was caused, in part, by a physical injury.
Ultimately, to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, you will need to be able to support both the existence and severity of your injury with valid medical documentation.
Understanding the Course and Scope Standard
Beyond proving your injury, you must also be able to establish that it is related to your job. Certainly, you cannot recover workers’ compensation benefits for an injury that has nothing to do with your work. While this may sound straightforward, there are many cases where intense disputes arise over the true underlying cause of the injury, and whether or not it actually had a workplace connection. To resolve these disputes, Florida uses the ‘course and scope’ standard. Under this standard, you can recover benefits if you can prove that your injury or medical condition meets the following two required elements:
- You must have been engaged in work-related conduct when your injury occurred; and
- You must have been doing something in the furtherance of the interests of your employer when the injury occurred.
In some cases, the course and scope standard is easy to apply. For example, if your boss asks you to move heavy boxes, and you are injured in the process of completing that task, then your injury unquestionably occurred within the course and scope of your work. However, in some other cases, such as in repetitive stress injury claims and claims regarding work injuries that occurred off of a normal job site, applying the course and scope standard become more challenging. If your benefits are denied because your employer or the insurance company asserts that your injury did not really occur on the job, you need to speak to a qualified attorney immediately.
Were You Hurt on the Job in Florida?
Our team can help. At Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group, our team has helped many work injury victims obtain their full and fair benefits. If you were injured on the job, you need to take action today. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our dedicated Tampa workers’ compensation lawyers to set up a free review of your claim.