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Florida Workers’ Compensation Exemption Attorneys Explain: Who Can Opt Out of Benefits

Florida construction workers are either business owners or employees, and most all are required to secure workers’ compensation, which covers benefits for job-related employee injuries. Up to three officers in a single business corporation can obtain a Florida workers’ compensation exemption. However, it’s not allowed for construction businesses that are simply looking to for a way around paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums. More often than not, that’s the case, though our Miami workers’ compensation attorneys have found in these cases, it’s more likely the employer failed to file for a Florida workers’ compensation exemption at all. 

Furthermore, even when a company files for Florida workers’ compensation exemption, it does not exempt them from liability under the state’s workers’ comp laws. First of all, as noted by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, the state requires all employer/ businesses to purchase workers’ compensation coverage with very few exceptions and stipulates workers’ compensation is the sole remedy for employees who have suffered a work-related injury. In turn, these businesses become immune from most injury lawsuits employees might otherwise be entitled to bring. Workers’ compensation covers benefits like medical expenses, disability and death.

Although the law requires most non-construction industry businesses to secure workers’ compensation if they have four or more employees – including those who work part-time. In the construction industry, you must secure workers’ compensation insurance if you have one or more employees. As our Miami workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, this is due to the fact construction work is well-established to be incredibly risky, and on-the-job injuries tend to be more common than in other professions. The likelihood one will need to claim workers’ compensation is higher.

Can My Employer Apply for a Florida Workers’ Compensation Exemption?

Probably not. And if they did so unlawfully or failed to secure workers’ compensation when they should have, they could be subject to fines and even jail time. Furthermore, you could be entitled to sue them directly for your work-related injury, which could entitle you to compensation beyond what you would have received through workers’ compensation (i.e., pain and suffering, full lost wages, loss of consortium, etc.).

Eligibility requirements for Florida workers’ compensation exemption are outlined in F.S. 440.05. Once that exemption is obtained, he or she cannot collect these benefits if there is a work-related injury.

Florida’s Division of Workers’ Compensation does allow for Florida workers’ compensation exemption of construction company officers (and only officers) if:

  • The applicant is an officer of the corporation and this is recorded by the Florida Department of State;
  • The applicant has a minimum 10 percent ownership in the corporation;
  • There are no more than three officers of any corporation or affiliated corporation (including LLCs) that have claimed exemption;
  • Applicant is not affiliated with any active Stop Work Order, Order of Penalty Assessment or Working in Violation;
  • The corporation itself is registered with the state’s Division of Corporations.

It should be noted that sole proprietors and partners in a construction company are automatically considered employees for workers’ compensation purposes, and aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation exemption. They are mandated to have workers’ compensation coverage in order to be able to work in the state.

If you have been injured in a job-related accident in the construction industry or have suffered a work-related illness, our Miami workers’ compensation lawyers can help assist you in obtaining key benefits.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Workers’ Compensation System Guide, Revised Dec. 2017


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