The sunshine state has its perks: great weather all year, beautiful beaches – and mandatory Workers’ Compensation for a large portion of people in the workforce. Time spent away from labor due to an injury on the job can cost employees significant amounts of their salaries. From an employer’s standpoint, if you’re injured on their premises, they can be subjected to paying full medical costs that you incur.

In an effort to curb these losses for both parties, The Bureau of Compliance and Division of Workers’ Compensation sets forth specific requirements for your employer based on the state in which you live, your type of industry, and number of co-workers. Not all businesses must opt into these coverage plans; however, many industries that pose a higher risk to employees (such as construction and agriculture) do so. It’s a simple preventive measure that mitigates paying full benefits out of pocket in the event that one of their workers is incapacitated as a result of a work accident.

It may sound bizarre, but the first recorded example of this type of system dates back to the days when pirates stormed the seas with an iron fist. During the 1800s, pirates plundered as they pleased – and encountered danger regularly. As a way of reimbursing wounded shipmates for injuries they faced in battle, their captains would offer them “booty” – or stolen items seized during these struggles. While picturing Jack Sparrow collecting on his workers’ compensation might seem like a far-fetched idea, the truth is that this idea has been in place for a long time for good reason.

If you work in a perilous field, your employer has most likely opted into this system as a way of protecting both your health and possible losses. In the sunshine state, construction companies with one or more employees, and farmers with five or more employees, or 12 or more seasonal workers are required by law to enroll in coverage. Should they neglect to enroll, they can incur fines.

Whether you’re unable to return to work as a result of a work-related injury, you are working but earning 80 percent of what you earned prior to the accident, or you’ve suffered permanent bodily function – you are entitled to payment for lost wages. It’s imperative that you report an injury as soon as it occurs; this will engage the process between your employer’s benefit carrier and your physician. In this event, your employer has the freedom to select which doctor you will visit.

Paving the way to better care for work-related injuries, Florida Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics can be your guide through the (sometimes) confusing world of Workers’ Compensation. Dr. James Talkington is a certified Expert Medical Advisor (EMA) who is highly familiar with the Florida compensation system. Acting as a “middle man,” his team is experienced at balancing the needs of your employer, nurse case manager, insurance adjuster, and first and foremost – you. They’ll fight to ensure that you receive maximum medical care.

If you’ve been injured on the job, don’t suffer in silence. Florida Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics understands the need to get back to work as soon as possible, so they offer a host of helpful services including same, or next day appointments, on-site rehabilitation, instant response to referring physicians, swift evaluations, and exam reports within 24 hours. For more information, call (850) 763-0346.

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