The workers’ compensation system in Florida generally provides no-fault benefits to those coping with job-related medical conditions. No-fault benefits are particularly helpful because they protect even those who make mistakes on the job.
In general, employees have no obligation to prove that their employer did something that caused their injury, and they also have no need to prove that they were blameless in the situation. A worker’s fault typically does not influence their eligibility for workers’ compensation unless they make one of the three choices below.
They come to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Many employers participate in Florida’s drug-free workplace program. Such employers will typically demand that workers undergo a test for drugs and alcohol following their injury on the job. In fact, even companies that do not specifically have a drug-free policy will still require testing. Anytime employers can prove that someone was under the influence on the job and that their impairment caused their injuries, that will likely impact someone’s eligibility for benefits.
They violate company policy
Perhaps the business has a rule that workers must wear closed-toed shoes. If someone comes into work wearing sandals and starts doing their job in a way that violates company rules, that decision could potentially affect their eligibility for benefits if it plays a direct role in their injury. If someone drops a tool on their sandal-clad foot or gets run over by a piece of machinery, their non-compliance with company standards can impact their eligibility for workers’ compensation. Provided that the company can show they directly violated standards, their non-compliance may impact their claim.
They refuse to follow medical directions
Doctors overseeing someone’s treatment for a workplace injury will usually recommend certain types of care. Whether they want someone to undergo surgery or attend multiple physical therapy sessions, patients usually need to follow those recommendations to continue receiving benefits. If someone refuses to follow medical instructions, that may provide a defense against future benefits claims, as the condition may have improved if that person had followed medical recommendations.
Recognizing when personal choices may impact benefits eligibility can inspire workers who have concerns to seek legal guidance so that they can effectively obtain any compensation to which they’re rightfully entitled.