Temporary workers are a huge part of the U.S. economy in the 21st century. Currently, about four million people work in this country as temporary employees. That number should grow as two of every five companies in the U.S. are looking to hire temporary employees in 2019.

With so many people working as temporary employees, it’s important to know if and how those employees are entitled to workers compensation benefits if an injury happens on the job. If you’re a temporary employee, what are your rights if you’re injured? How can a West Palm Beach work injury law firm help?

Can you be compensated for medical expenses arising from a work-related injury? Will you have to file a lawsuit?

WHAT DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROVIDE?

Temporary employees who have been injured at work are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Florida. Employers with four or more employees are required by Florida law to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.

employees in the workplace

Workers’ comp in Florida:

  • provides workers who are injured on the job with partial compensation for lost wages
  • covers the medical expenses arising from job-related injuries
  • compensates permanently disabled workers

Temporary employees work for both a placement agency (or “temp” agency) and for a client company, but in Florida, responsibility to provide workers’ comp coverage falls to the placement agency unless the agency and client company have a contract that specifies another arrangement.

IS WORKERS’ COMP AN INJURED TEMP WORKER’S ONLY OPTION?

Still, a client company may in some cases be sued for negligence – if in fact, the company was negligent – when a temporary worker is injured on-the-job. This means that both employers could be held accountable for the damages suffered by an injured temporary employee.

If you are a temporary employee in the state of Florida, you need to know who is liable for any work-related injuries you may suffer. If the placement agency can’t or won’t give you the information you need, you should probably look for different work or a different agency.

INJURED AS A TEMPORARY EMPLOYEE? WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?

If you are injured in Florida while working as a temp employee, you should follow the standard workers’ comp procedure. You must inform your employer within thirty days of a workplace injury or within thirty days of receiving a diagnosis for a work-related illness.

informing workplace of injury

Injured temp workers must inform both the temp agency and the client company. One of them should provide the paperwork to apply for workers’ comp benefits. If they don’t, get the form from the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, and speak to a workers’ comp lawyer.

Even though you are entitled by law to workers’ comp benefits if you are injured on the job, the reality is that most workers in Florida will face a genuine challenge when they pursue a workers’ compensation claim.

WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF WORKING PEOPLE IN FLORIDA?

Temporary workers in Florida may not qualify for employment-based health insurance, retirement plans, or vacation time, but in other respects, temp workers are entitled to the same rights as full-time workers, including the right to:

  • a hazard-free, safe workplace
  • training in a language the employee understands
  • appropriate safety and personal protective equipment
  • report job-related injuries without reprisals or retaliation

Full-time and temp workers also both have the right to contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to request a workplace safety inspection.

DO TEMP WORKERS FACE MORE RISKS THAN FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES?

OSHA tells us that temp workers face more job-related risks than full-time workers – and sustain more job-related injuries – because temp workers are always “new” on the job and are unfamiliar with the location and the standard procedures.

back injury at work

Significant workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, but cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries usually will not be covered. If you’re exposed repeatedly to toxic chemicals that cause headaches or other symptoms, you will probably qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

Medical attention is your first priority if you’re injured at work. If you are a temp worker, report the incident to both your placement agency and the client company immediately. Put your report in writing and hold on to a copy of it.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A WORKERS’ COMP LAW FIRM IN FL?

As mentioned previously, you have thirty days to report an injury to an employer, but do not wait thirty days. Report injuries at once. In south Florida, you should also speak to an experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorney immediately after a work-related injury.

Without an attorney’s advice, an injured temp worker may have difficulty obtaining workers’ comp benefits, but a good workers’ comp lawyer will see to it that your benefit claim is accurate, complete, and that no misunderstandings or mistakes will delay the payment of your benefits.

Employers and insurance companies sometimes try to deny the workers’ compensation benefits that an injured employee is entitled to. An employer or insurance company might claim that your injury occurred away from the workplace or that it’s not as severe as you claim.

HOW WILL A WORKERS’ COMP LAWYER HELP AN INJURED TEMP WORKER?

If your claim for worker’s comp benefits is denied, let a workers’ compensation attorney help you appeal to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. A workers’ comp lawyer can arrange for you to be seen by an independent doctor and receive a second opinion.

other doctors after injury

If you have grounds for filing a personal injury claim against a temp agency’s client company – or against another third party that may have liability for your injury – an experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorney can explain your rights and help you take legal action.

If you’re injured at work, exercise your rights immediately. A number of deadlines apply to both worker’s compensation claims and personal injury claims, so you cannot afford to procrastinate, and if you miss a deadline, you’ll receive no benefits, and no attorney will be able to help you.

WHAT WILL IT COST TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS?

You have the right to a good attorney’s help if you’ve been injured at work in Florida, and if you take advantage of your rights, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you in any way.

If you are not sure whether you qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits or to file a personal injury claim, it costs nothing to learn more about your case and your rights. Your first meeting with a worker’s comp attorney will not cost you anything or incur any obligation.

According to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, more than 50,000 job-related injuries were reported in Florida in 2018. That means whether you are a temp worker or a full-time employee, it’s not difficult to get injured at work in this state.

If an on-the-job injury happens to you anywhere in the state of Florida, exercise your rights, get the legal help that you’re very much going to need, and get that help immediately.