Workers’ compensation insurance is essential for businesses of a range of sizes and industries. If an accident occurs while an employee is at work, workers’ comp will step in and help support the employee with their medical costs, any wages that were lost, retraining, survivor benefits, and other services necessary to help the employee recover after an injury.

Workers’ comp requirements vary in each state as some states have differing regulations and legislation regarding insurance for businesses. Florida, in particular, has a number of specific requirements for workers’ comp that employers must be aware of when hiring employees and taking out workers’ comp.

Keep reading to learn more about the ins and outs of workers’ comp in the Sunshine State

What is workers’ comp?

When an accident occurs at work and an employee is injured or killed, there are a number of costs incurred, some of which you may not have considered previously. When you have workers’ comp, you do not have to pay out of pocket for the employee’s medical bills – instead, insurance steps in and, depending on the insurance plan and accident, can cover:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical costs and expenses
  • Survivor benefits for families and spouses after their loved one has died
  • Permanent injury support
  • Retraining support if the employee is no longer able to work in the same field

As you can imagine, these supports and benefits can prove costly, and without workers’ comp, a company could potentially be sued for massive sums.

Who needs workers’ comp in the state of Florida?

It is important for business owners in Florida to be aware that workers’ comp is required for all businesses with four or more employees. Also, every business that does any type of construction work will need workers’ comp – and this includes self-employed contractors.

Although workers’ comp may seem like just another onerous expense that you would rather avoid, it is actually a crucial element of running a business, and lacking workers’ comp in the wrong situation can spell ruin for your company.

By requiring that employers take out workers’ comp, the state of Florida is actually protecting employees’ safety and shielding business owners from the risk of potentially ruinous lawsuits.

Next Insurance has designed insurance plans specifically for small business owners, including insurance plans for workers’ comp in Florida. If you are looking for an insurance provider that understands the needs of small businesses in every sector, Next Insurance is the provider for you.

Can you be penalized for not having workers’ comp?

The short answer is yes – if you are an employer who either has four or more employees, or you work in the construction sector, and you do not have workers’ comp for your staff, you will be penalized and face civil penalties.

Typically, the government will issue a stop-work order for your company. This forces your company to temporarily halt all activities until it has rectified the issue by taking out workers’ comp and also paying a penalty.

The state of Florida takes the issue of workers’ comp very seriously, and if the company flouts the stop-work order and continues to work without having taken steps to rectify the issue, the employer can face criminal charges.

How much does workers’ comp cost in Florida?

The cost of workers’ comp varies according to the provider and the specific needs of each company. For Florida, the estimated employer costs when it comes to workers’ comp are roughly $1.43 per $100 covered in the payroll.

That being said, different jobs have varying degrees of risk and potential hazard involved. For example, someone working in the industrial or construction sector has a much more hazardous role than someone who works in an office or coffee shop. To determine what you should be paying, you can refer to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which collates and synthesizes extensive data on physical injury rates in various sectors and professions. The NCCI has hundreds of codes to identify different jobs and their risk levels.

What is the workers’ comp process?

The workers’ comp process is complex and nuanced in every state, including Florida. However, typically, if an employee is injured while working, the resulting costs will usually be covered by workers’ comp.

After the injury has occurred, the employee can make a claim against their employer’s workers’ comp insurance policy. If the claim is accepted by the insurance company, the employee may then be able to receive the financial support needed to cover their medical costs.

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