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Workers Compensation in Florida

Jason Metz

Florida requires all businesses to have workers comp for employees, with only a few exceptions.

Workers compensation insurance can pay medical bills and a portion of an employee's salary if they are injured while doing a job-related task. Work-related injuries typically covered by workers comp range from broken bones to breathing problems to stress and anxiety.

Florida workers compensation law outline many details of who can be exempt from coverage, who must be covered and the limits of workers compensation payments. Below are many of the specifics contained in the workers comp law in Florida. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation also has a page with helpful information for employers.

Who has to be covered by Florida workers compensation?

Can any employees opt out of Florida workers compensation with a waiver?

Yes - corporate officers can. However, no more than three corporate officers within a construction industry are allowed for an exemption.

Is self-insurance for workers comp allowed in Florida?

Yes, for individual employers, groups of employers and political subdivisions. Political subdivisions in Florida are typically the state or a city, county, special district, school district or public agency.

By self-insuring, a business assumes responsibility for paying their own workers comp claims. A self-insured company typically hires a claims service company to handle claims administration and other services.

Are there exclusions for:

Small employers? Yes, with fewer than four employees in a non-construction business.

Agricultural employers? Yes, if a worker works less than a certain time period; if an employer has fewer than a certain number of employees.

Domestic employers? Yes.

Independent contractors? Yes, also excluded from the definition of "employee" are independent contractors engaged in the non-construction industry, state prisoners, county inmates or individuals performing labor under a sentence of court to perform community services, and volunteers (except for a volunteer worker for the state, county, municipality or other governmental entity).

Casual employees? Yes.

Volunteers? Yes.

Professional athletes? Yes.

Florida workers comp medical benefits

Is there a Florida workers comp fee schedule?


Fee schedules define payments for surgery, radiology, hospital services, chiropractic care, ambulance service, prescription drugs and other medical services for an injured worker.

Are there limits on medical treatment?

Yes. Florida statute requires a co-pay of $10 for each visit once the employee reaches the maximum medical improvement, and chiropractic care is limited to 24 treatments within 12 weeks of the initial treatment.

Who makes the initial choice of treating physician?

The employee can choose from within the employer's managed care plan (primary care provider).

Disability payments for workers compensation insurance in Florida

Workers comp usually pays a portion of the employee's salary when they cannot work due to a work-related injuries. Florida laws define the payment amounts and length based on both temporary and permanent disability.

How are temporary total disability (TTD) payments calculated?

66 2/3% of the employee's pre-injury weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $20, unless wages are less than $20, then full wages.

Weekly maximum: $863

Maximum length of TDD benefits: 104 weeks (subject to social security and unemployment benefits).

How are permanent total disability (PTD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the employee's average weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $20, unless wages are less than $20, then full wages.

Weekly maximum: $863

Are there cost of living increases for PTD payments? Yes, 3% of the compensation rate multiplied by the number of years post-injury and calculated each January 1st.

Maximum length of PTD benefits: Benefits are payable up to age 75; if the injury occured after age 70, benefits are payable during the continuance of PTD, not to exceed five years following determination of PTD.

How are permanent partial disability (PPD) payments calculated?

75% of the average to TTD rate, reduced by 50% if wages are equal to or higher than pre-injury.

Weekly minimum: $20 or actual wages if the average weekly wage is less than $20.

Weekly maximum: $863

Fatality benefits under Florida workers compensation law

Maximum burial benefit: $7,500

Dependency benefits, weekly minimum: $20, unless wages are less than $20, then full wages.

Dependency benefits, weekly maximum: $863

When do children's dependency benefits end? At age 18; if a student, age 22; if the child is disabled, age 22.

Other injuries covered by Florida workers compensation

Mental stress with no physical injury? No.

Cumulative trauma (such as injuries caused by repeated exposure or repetitive motion)? Yes.

Occupational hearing loss? Yes, if the employment is the major contributing cause.

Disfigurement? No.

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute, May 2016 report