I was just injured while I was working “off the books” and need to know if I can still make a claim for my injuries
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
Injuries on the job are very common. This is especially the case in the construction industry and any job which may involve driving. Many times, a person is injured while technically doing work for a company but not “officially.” People typically refer to this as working “off the books.” What should you do if you are injured while working off the books?
In Florida, an employer is required to pay compensation or furnish benefits to an employee who suffers an “accidental compensable injury or death arising out of work performed in the course and scope of employment.” Though this requirement sounds as if it protects the injured employee, it actually serves to ensure that the employer cannot be sued directly in a typical personal injury case. Instead, the employee would be susceptible to the remaining Worker’s Compensation statutes which severely limit the value of the injured employee’s case.
The only way for an injured employee to make claim outside of the Worker’s Compensation laws is when the employer actually waives worker’s compensation immunity. Of course it seems ridiculous that an employer would waive immunity, but it does happen. Employers are not required to carry worker’s compensation insurance if they have less than four employees so many employers in that situation do not secure worker’s compensation insurance. Also, many employers simply do not comply with the law and even if they have more than four employees, they may choose not to “secure” or buy worker’s compensation insurance. In that situation, an injured employee may be successful in making an injury claim against their employer.
Though an employer is required to place the employee on notice as to whether the employer carries worker’s compensation insurance, many employers do not notify their own employees of this fact. It is therefore sometimes difficult for an employee to know whether the employer will cover them for an on-the-job injury. An experienced attorney will always investigate these issues in order to determine whether an employee is covered. If you or someone you know has been injured while working, whether officially or off the books, call the attorneys at Dell & Schaefer. Our lawyers will let you know where you stand and will do everything in their power to help get you compensated for your injuries.