According to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation if you are a payroll employee, your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, your injury or illness is work-related, and you file within two years of injury. But what happens if you’re receiving workers’ compensation and your employer goes out of business?
Here, Matthews Injury Law is answering some of the most crucial questions when it comes to you, your employer, and workers’ compensation.
What if My Employer Goes out of Business While I’m Collecting Workers’ Compensation?
This isn’t a question many think to ask right away, but it becomes relevant especially in times of recession. If your employer goes out of business while you’re collecting workers’ compensation, The Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) will step in to cover your benefits. For large, self-insured employers that go out of business, the Self-Insured Guaranty Association (SIGA) will cover workers’ compensation. Both organizations are designed to help workers maintain their benefits if their employer or insurer is insolvent (unable to pay their debts).
What if the Employer’s Insurance Company Goes Out of Business?
First, if your employer is still in business, they should work to secure workers’ compensation insurance through another company or become self-insured and make the injury payments themselves.
Another result of a bankrupt insurance company is that the state will step in and work to transfer the insurance policy to another company. Or, the state itself will continue providing coverage for policyholders — as long as they continue to pay their premiums. So, where does that money come from?
If the insurance company cannot pay out any claims, including workers’ compensation, the state will use any leftover assets of the company to pay them. For workers’ compensation claims specifically, there is no cap on monetary payouts.
What if I Get Laid off With a Pending Workers’ Comp Claim?
Under Florida Statute 440.205, you cannot be laid off, fired, or threatened with the loss of your job because you filed or attempted to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you are laid off or terminated from your job, as long as it is not for cause, you will still be eligible to receive workers’ compensation.
What About Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19?
Typically, to receive workers’ compensation, you have to prove you contracted an illness or injury on the job. But because COVID-19 is so highly contagious, it can be hard to prove where or how you were exposed. However, in Florida, state employees working directly with people testing positive for COVID-19 may be eligible for workers’ compensation.
What are My Responsibilities Under Workers’ Comp?
Once your worker’s compensation claim is submitted, approved, and you begin receiving payments, there are a few steps you must take in order to return to work or continue receiving benefits. It is your responsibility to notify your employer and the insurance company via written notice when you are recovered and able to return to work.
Depending on your injury, you may make a slower transition to work or may not be able to return at all. In this case, continue to communicate with your doctors, employer, and insurance company should any changes need to be made to your benefits, or if you qualify for further benefits, such as workers’ compensation disability.
Get the Benefits You Deserve with a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Navigating workers’ compensation can be extremely challenging, especially during a pandemic. At Matthew’s Injury Law, we are continually learning and uncovering everything we need to know to advocate for clients and fight for what you deserve. If you’ve been injured or contracted an illness on the job in Florida, reach out to our experienced workers’ comp attorneys who are ready to serve you.