What Orlando Industry Has the Most Workers’ Compensation Claims?
Written by Shawn Diederich on July 11, 2016
Every year thousands of Florida workers are injured on the job. Workers’ compensation is the state-run system designed to ensure employees receive compensation for medical benefits and lost wages. But Florida workers’ compensation laws work slightly differently depending on the type of employer involved.
Florida’s Four-Employee Rule
In general, any business that has four or more employees must purchase and maintain workers’ compensation coverage for all eligible employees. This means that if you are self-employed and have no employees, you do not need to purchase workers’ compensation coverage for yourself. However, if your business is organized as a corporation or limited liability company, and you serve as an officer or member thereof, you would count towards the four-employee requirement.
Why Construction and Agricultural Employers Are Different
There are two major exceptions to this general rule. If the employer is in the construction industry, workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory even if there is only a single employee. The reason for this rule is that most construction projects rely on independent contractors. This includes many self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be covered by workers’ compensation. In addition, if a contractor employs one or more subcontractors, the contractor has a legal obligation to ensure each of those subcontractors has proper workers’ compensation coverage for its employees. If for some reason the subcontractor does not have coverage, any injuries to the subcontractor’s employees must be covered under the contractor’s workers’ compensation policy.
The second exception to the general rule is for the agricultural industry. Since many farms and related businesses rely on part-time seasonal help, Florida law counts the number of employees necessary to require workers’ compensation coverage differently. Instead of the standard four-employee rule, an agricultural employer must have a minimum of six regular employees and/or 12 “seasonal” workers to require workers’ compensation coverage. A seasonal worker in this context is an employee who works for a period of no more than 30 days at a time (i.e., per season) and no more than 45 days during the entire year.
Service Workers File the Most Workers’ Compensation Claims in Orlando
While Florida may have special rules for agricultural and construction workers, that does not necessarily mean those are the industries with the highest rate of workers’ compensation claims. In the Orlando area, for instance, the plurality of workers’ compensation claims come from service industries. According to the Florida Chief Financial Officer’s office, which tracks workers’ compensation claims, there were approximately 5,200 claims filed in Orange County last year, which includes Orlando. About half—2,550 claims—came from employers classified as part of the “service industries.” This makes sense when you consider tourism is Orlando’s largest industry, and thus has a greater number of employees than agriculture or construction, which together accounted for only about 150 workers’ compensation claims in Orange County over the same period.
A Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help Those in the Occupations with Most Injuries in Orlando
Whatever industry you work in, if you suffer a serious injury on the job, you are entitled to seek compensation. An experienced Orlando workers’ compensation attorney can help. Contact the Diederich Law Firm, P.A., if you need to speak with someone about your case today.