Can Volunteers Get Workers’ Comp In Florida?
Several volunteer activities are physically demanding. People frequently donate their time and physical effort to good causes, ranging from constructing homes to serving in food pantries and delivering meals.
This means volunteers are often lifting heavy objects or engaging in repetitive motion, which can cause significant injury. Here’s what you need to know about Florida laws surrounding workers’ compensation for injured volunteers.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Laws
Volunteers are explicitly excluded from the term of employee under the Florida Workers Compensation Act.
Under 440.02(15)(d), employees do not include:
“A volunteer, except a volunteer worker for the state or a county, municipality, or other governmental entity. A person who does not receive monetary remuneration for services is presumed to be a volunteer unless there is substantial evidence that a valuable consideration was intended by both employer and employee.”
Some volunteers, however, do qualify for medical benefits. Wage loss benefits are not available for volunteers under any circumstances in Florida. According to the judge’s ruling in Osceola Co. School Bd. v. Boos, 913 So.2d 667, volunteers will not be entitled to pay loss compensation as a result of their voluntary labor (Fla 1st DCA 2007).
When Are Volunteers Considered Employees?
In some cases, you may be considered to be an employee under Florida law even if you don’t volunteer for the government. A volunteer who receives non-monetary compensation in exchange for their efforts, such as reduced rent or free food, for example, maybe classified as an employee. However, you must be able to provide proof that both you and the entity for which you are volunteering knowingly and willingly entered into the professional relationship.
First, Florida courts will initially consider if the business or other organization the volunteer was injured at is in the public or private sector. In some situations, nonprofit volunteers may be eligible for worker’s compensation.
Contacting a Workers’ Comp Lawyer In Your Area
It is critical to verify your position as a volunteer before obtaining legal advice if you’re injured or hurt while volunteering. A consultation with an experienced and qualified Florida workers’ comp lawyer may help you determine if you might be eligible for workers’ comp or whether you should file a civil claim.
Your lawyer will look at the circumstances of the accident and any other evidence to assist you in pursuing the most appropriate legal remedy. Contact Marshall S. Adler today for a consultation by calling 407-648-5523.