Workers in Florida who are injured on the job are protected by workers’ compensation in Hollywood or their communities. Employers are required by law to pay premiums on this type of insurance. After a job-related injury, this coverage is meant to ensure that workers are able to get benefits and compensation quickly while employers are protected against lawsuits.
One problem is that not all workers are protected by the insurance. Self-employed, freelance, temp, and contract workers are not covered by workers’ compensation coverage. Unfortunately, some workers with the most dangerous jobs fall into this category. Truck drivers, for example, who are at risk of traffic accidents, back injuries, and other job-related injuries, are often independent contractors and therefore not qualified to get workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured. Truckers who work as independent contractors also do not get other employee benefits and protections that full-time, traditional workers enjoy.
Who Decides who Gets Workers’ Compensation?
In Atlanta, a Senate committee was set up last month to hear testimony from truckers and other workers. At the heart of the matter was the question whether some employers were incorrectly labelling workers as freelancers or contractors in order to avoid paying employment insurance and other costs. Some workers feel that they have as little freedom as regular employees but face larger risks and have fewer systems of support.
Currently, Florida is not examining the ways that truckers and other contractor workers are classified. However, investigative journalism pieces over the past few years have shone a light on factory workers, temp workers, and other workers who have few methods of recourse in the event of an accident or injury.
We obviously need to do more in order to protect our workers. Currently, truckers who are injured on the job may have a few options for getting benefits and the money to pay their bills:
- Continued work, even when injured
- Civil claims against liable parties in a collision
- Support from friends, family, and advocacy groups
- Privately-bought insurance
Many truck drivers and other contract workers face financial stress when injured. These workers may be unable to return to work because of their injuries but may have few benefits they can rely on. In these situations, it can be helpful for contract and freelance workers to have privately-held insurance coverage. Unfortunately, many contractors do not have coverage since it is more expensive to purchase independently.
Many truck drivers and independent workers turn to the court system for assistance. Under Florida laws, workers can seek legal claims if they have been injured by a wrongful act, negligence, or recklessness. If you have been injured on the job and are not sure what rights you have, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney to find out what legal remedies may exist.
If you would like to speak to a personal injury attorney today, you can always contact Flaxman Law Group for a free case review. Our law firm has offices in Hollywood, Homestead, and Miami and our legal team serves clients and plaintiffs across South Florida. If you have been injured, we want to hear about it and we want to offer legal advice and assistance if we can. Contact us today for your free consultation.