December 30, 2022 in Workers' Compensation Posted by Kevin R. Gallagher, Esq. Share
Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim as a Part-Time Employee in Florida
Lots of people work part-time. Across the United States, there are more than 25 million part-time workers—accounting for approximately 17 percent of the U.S. workforce. Just like full-time workers, these part-time workers deserve financial stability when they get injured on the job.
Fortunately, in Florida, part-time workers and full-time workers have the same legal rights when it comes to workers’ compensation. Qualifying part-time workers can obtain medical benefits when they get injured on the job, and they can receive disability benefits if they miss work for more than seven days. If you are a part-time worker and you have been injured on the job in Florida, here is an overview of what you need to know about filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits:
7 Important Facts About Filing for Workers’ Comp as a Part-Time Employee in Florida
Even though part-time and full-time workers have the same legal rights when it comes to workers’ compensation, filing a successful claim as a part-time worker isn’t easy. To obtain benefits, you must be able to prove your eligibility, and you must be prepared to deal with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. With this in mind, here are seven important facts about filing for workers’ compensation as a part-time worker in Florida:
1. You Must Be a Part-Time “Employee” to Qualify for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In Florida, workers’ compensation benefits are only available to part-time “employees.” If you work for a company part-time as an “independent contractor,” then you may not be eligible for benefits.
In general, part-time employees get paid an hourly wage, and they receive a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck. They also receive a W-2 tax form at the end of the year. If you bill for your time or services and receive a 1099 instead of a W-2, you may be an independent contractor. However, it is not uncommon for employers to misclassify their workers—and especially those who work part-time. So, even if you think you may be an independent contractor, you should still consult with a lawyer about your rights.
2. It Doesn’t Matter How Many Hours You Work
For purposes of workers’ compensation eligibility, it doesn’t matter how many hours you work. Whether you work 10 hours per week or 35, you can file for workers’ compensation if you get injured or fall ill on the job.
3. You Must Report Your Injury or Illness Within 30 Days
While it doesn’t matter how many hours you work, it does matter how quickly you report your injury or illness. Under Florida law, you must report your injury or illness to your employer within 30 days to remain eligible for benefits.
4. You Must See an Approved Doctor for Diagnosis and Treatment
Florida’s workers’ compensation law also requires employees to see an approved doctor for diagnosis and treatment. When you report your injury or illness, your employer should tell you where to go for your medical care. If you are dissatisfied with your doctor, you can request a one-time change at no cost. If you are still dissatisfied after making a change, you will want to discuss your options with a workers’ compensation lawyer.
5. You Must Miss More Than Seven Days To Qualify for Disability Benefits
Under Florida law, you are entitled to medical benefits starting the day you get injured or fall ill. But, in order to qualify for disability benefits, you must miss more than seven days from work. If you miss more than seven days, you will be eligible for disability benefits on the eighth day; and, if you miss more than 21 days, you may be able to collect retroactive benefits dating back to the date of your injury or illness.
6. Your Disability Benefits (If Any) Will Be Calculated Based On Your Part-Time Wage
Just like full-time employees, as a part-time employee, your disability benefits (if any) will be calculated based on your “average weekly wage.” Most employees are entitled to receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage, with these benefits being tax-free in most cases.
7. You May Have Options Outside of Workers’ Compensation
Regardless of whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you may also have options outside of workers’ comp as a part-time employee. For example, you may qualify for Social Security disability as well; and, if someone else is to blame for your injury or illness, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation.
Tips for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim as a Part-Time Employee
As we said above, securing workers’ compensation benefits as a part-time employee isn’t easy. With this in mind, here are some tips to follow as you move forward:
- Document Your Injury or Illness – Document your injury or illness as thoroughly as possible. Take notes and photos, and be sure to keep all of your medical records.
- Document Your Hours – Make sure you have documentation of the hours you have worked over the past few months. This will be necessary for calculating your workers’ comp disability benefits (if any).
- Do Not Wait 30 Days – While you have up to 30 days to report your injury or illness, it is best to file your report right away. This will help avoid unnecessary problems with your claim.
- Keep Track of the Days You Miss from Work – If you miss days from work, keep track of this so that you can claim disability benefits should you miss more than seven days.
- Get Help from a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer – Finally, to maximize your chances of success (and to make sure you file any other claims you may have available), you should get help from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Florida.
Get Help from a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at No Out-of-Pocket Cost
Do you have questions about your legal rights as a part-time employee in Florida? If so, we invite you to get in touch. Call 954-530-7314 or tell us how we can reach you online to arrange a free and confidential consultation.