Workers Comp Insurance in Florida

As you probably already know, all Florida contractors by law are required to have Work Comp.  The main way contractors get around this requirement is by becoming a corporation – which by the way is a good idea for many reasons.  Once you are a corporation, up to three officers can “elect” to be exempt from workers compensation.  This is why most small one man operations do not have comp and instead have an exemption certificate.

Exempt status can be great – but it can also be very VERY bad!

Being exempt may seem like a great deal, but here is where it can be a VERY bad one: Although the law allows you to be exempt from purchasing Work Comp, it does not exempt you from your liability under the State Work Comp Statute. Florida work comp statutes declare Workers Comp as the “Sole Remedy” for an injured employee. That means if your employee gets hurt, he may sue the work comp insurance company (and many do), but it is very difficult if not impossible for him to sue the employer.

If you are a contractor who is exempt, and therefore DO NOT have a work comp policy, it is entirely possible that some “buddy” who is working for you may get hurt, and can then sue your business and in some cases you personally. When you have comp he can only sue the insurance company because by law, that is your injured employees “Sole Remedy.” This is also why GC’s are having a hard time getting comp…

As a General Contractor in the State of Florida, you are held ultimately responsible for your subs who are injured on your job-site. That means that even if your subcontractor lies about having comp (and many do) and becomes injured, your Work Comp policy is then expected to step in and pay the injured employees bills. If you, as the GC is exempt, then you may find yourself liable for some subs injury, and worse would most likely not have any protection under the statues because of that “Sole Remedy” thing we mentioned before.