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Definitions of Workers’ Compensation Terms

Title XXXI, Chapter 440, Section 440.02 of the Florida Statutes provides the legal definitions of more than 40 terms related to workers’ compensation in Florida.

Understanding these terms is vital after filing a workers’ compensation claim in order to maximize the benefits that can be collected.

Attorney for Workers’ Compensation Claims in Miami, FL

If you were injured at work or on the job in Miami or anywhere in South Florida and you filed a workers’ compensation claim, contact a workers’ compensation attorney who can explain the terms related to workers’ compensation in Florida.

The Hoffman Firm focuses on workers’ compensations claims in the Miami area and we can answer all you questions related to your workers’ compensation claim while helping you obtain the maximum benefits to which you are entitled. Call The Hoffman Firm at (305) 940-2307 today to discuss your case.

Definitions of Workers’ Compensation Terms in Miami, Florida

Section 440.02 of the Florida Statutes defines several key terms related to Workers’ Compensation in Florida. Our attorneys have selected a handful of the most common and relevant terms that anyone who files a workers’ comp claim should know, including:

“Accident” means only an unexpected or unusual event or result that happens suddenly. Disability or death due to the accidental acceleration or aggravation of a venereal disease or of a disease due to the habitual use of alcohol or controlled substances or narcotic drugs, or a disease that manifests itself in the fear of or dislike for an individual because of the individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap is not an injury by accident arising out of the employment.

“Casual” as used in this section refers only to employments for work that is anticipated to be completed in 10 working days or less, without regard to the number of persons employed, and at a total labor cost of less than $500. “Compensation” means the money allowance payable to an employee or to his or her dependents as provided for in this chapter.

“Construction industry” means for-profit activities involving any building, clearing, filling, excavation, or substantial improvement in the size or use of any structure or the appearance of any land. However, “construction” does not mean a homeowner’s act of construction or the result of a construction upon his or her own premises, provided such premises are not intended to be sold, resold, or leased by the owner within 1 year after the commencement of construction. The division may, by rule, establish codes and definitions thereof that meet the criteria of the term “construction industry” as set forth in this section.

“Death” as a basis for a right to compensation means only death resulting from an injury.

“Disability” means incapacity because of the injury to earn in the same or any other employment the wages which the employee was receiving at the time of the injury.

“Employee” means any person who receives remuneration from an employer for the performance of any work or service while engaged in any employment under any appointment or contract for hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, and includes, but is not limited to, aliens and minors. “Employee” includes any person who is an officer of a corporation and who performs services for remuneration for such corporation.“Employee” includes:

  • A sole proprietor or a partner who is not engaged in the construction industry, devotes full time to the proprietorship or partnership, and elects to be included in the definition of employee by filing notice thereof.

  • All persons who are being paid by a construction contractor as a subcontractor, unless the subcontractor has validly elected a (permitted) exemption or has otherwise secured the payment of compensation coverage as a subcontractor … for work performed by or as a subcontractor.

  • An independent contractor working or performing services in the construction industry.

  • A sole proprietor who engages in the construction industry and a partner or partnership that is engaged in the construction industry.

An “employee” does not include an independent contractor who is not engaged in the construction industry.

“Employer” means the state and all political subdivisions thereof, all public and quasi-public corporations therein, every person carrying on any employment, and the legal representative of a deceased person or the receiver or trustees of any person. “Employer” also includes employment agencies, employee leasing companies, and similar agents who provide employees to other persons. If the employer is a corporation, parties in actual control of the corporation, including, but not limited to, the president, officers who exercise broad corporate powers, directors, and all shareholders who directly or indirectly own a controlling interest in the corporation, are considered the employer … .

“Employment,” subject to the other provisions of this chapter, means any service performed by an employee for the person employing him or her. “Employment” includes:

  • Employment by the state and all political subdivisions thereof and all public and quasi-public corporations therein, including officers elected at the polls.

  • All private employments in which four or more employees are employed by the same employer or, with respect to the construction industry, all private employment in which one or more employees are employed by the same employer.

  • Volunteer firefighters responding to or assisting with fire or medical emergencies whether or not the firefighters are on duty.

“Employment” does not include service performed by or as:

  • Domestic servants in private homes.

  • Agricultural labor performed on a farm in the employ of a bona fide farmer, or association of farmers, that employs five (5) or fewer regular employees and that employs fewer than 12 other employees at one time for seasonal agricultural labor that is completed in less than 30 days, provided such seasonal employment does not exceed 45 days in the same calendar year. The term “farm” includes stock, dairy, poultry, fruit, fur-bearing animals, fish, and truck farms, ranches, nurseries, and orchards. The term “agricultural labor” includes field foremen, timekeepers, checkers, and other farm labor supervisory personnel.

  • Professional athletes, such as professional boxers, wrestlers, baseball, football, basketball, hockey, polo, tennis, jai alai, and similar players, and motorsports teams competing in a motor racing event … .

  • Labor under a sentence of a court to perform community services … .

  • State prisoners or county inmates, except those performing services for private employers or those enumerated in § 948.036(1) of the Florida Statutes.

“Injury” means personal injury or death by accident arising out of and in the course of employment, and such diseases or infection as naturally or unavoidably result from such injury. Damage to dentures, eyeglasses, prosthetic devices, and artificial limbs may be included in this definition only when the damage is shown to be part of, or in conjunction with, an accident. This damage must specifically occur as the result of an accident in the normal course of employment.

“Permanent impairment” means any anatomic or functional abnormality or loss determined as a percentage of the body as a whole, existing after the date of maximum medical improvement, which results from the injury.

“Person” means individual, partnership, association, or corporation, including any public service corporation.

“Sole proprietor” means a natural person who owns a form of business in which that person owns all the assets of the business and is solely liable for all the debts of the business.

“Time of injury” means the time of the occurrence of the accident resulting in the injury.

“Wages” means the money rate at which the service rendered is recompensed under the contract of hiring in force at the time of the injury and includes only the wages earned and reported for federal income tax purposes on the job where the employee is injured and any other concurrent employment where he or she is also subject to workers’ compensation coverage and benefits, together with the reasonable value of housing furnished to the employee by the employer which is the permanent year-round residence of the employee, and gratuities to the extent reported to the employer in writing as taxable income received in the course of employment from others than the employer and employer contributions for health insurance for the employee or the employee’s dependents. However, housing furnished to migrant workers shall be included in wages unless provided after the time of injury. In employment in which an employee receives consideration for housing, the reasonable value of such housing compensation shall be the actual cost to the employer or based upon the Fair Market Rent Survey promulgated pursuant toSection 8 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1974, whichever is less. However, if employer contributions for housing or health insurance are continued after the time of the injury, the contributions are not “wages” for the purpose of calculating an employee’s average weekly wage.

“Weekly compensation rate” means and refers to the amount of compensation payable for a period of seven (7) consecutive calendar days, including any Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and other nonworking days which fall within such period of seven (7) consecutive calendar days. When Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or other nonworking days immediately follow the first seven (7) calendar days of disability or occur at the end of a period of disability as the last day or days of such period, such nonworking days constitute a part of the period of disability with respect to which compensation is payable.

“Arising out of” pertains to occupational causation. An accidental injury or death arises out of employment if work performed in the course and scope of employment is the major contributing cause of the injury or death.

“Soft-tissue injury” means an injury that produces damage to the soft tissues, rather than to the skeletal tissues or soft organs.

“Insurer” means a group self-insurers’ fund authorized by F.S. § 624.4621, an individual self-insurer authorized by F.S. § 440.38, a commercial self-insurance fund authorized by F.S. § 624.462, an assessable mutual insurer authorized by F.S. § 68.6011, and an insurer licensed to write workers’ compensation and employer’s liability insurance in this state. The term “carrier,” as used in this chapter, means an insurer as defined in this subsection.

“Statement,” for the purposes of §§ 440.105 and 440.106, shall include the exact fraud statement language in § 440.105(7). This requirement includes, but is not limited to, any notice, representation, statement, proof of injury, bill for services, diagnosis, prescription, hospital or doctor record, X-ray, test result, or other evidence of loss, injury, or expense.

“Specificity” means information on the petition for benefits sufficient to put the employer or carrier on notice of the exact statutory classification and outstanding time period of benefits being requested and includes a detailed explanation of any benefits received that should be increased, decreased, changed, or otherwise modified. If the petition is for medical benefits, the information shall include specific details as to why such benefits are being requested, why such benefits are medically necessary, and why current treatment, if any, is not sufficient. Any petition requesting alternate or other medical care, including, but not limited to, petitions requesting psychiatric or psychological treatment, must specifically identify the physician, as defined in F.S. § 440.13(1), who is recommending such treatment. A copy of a report from such physician making the recommendation for alternate or other medical care shall also be attached to the petition. A judge of compensation claims shall not order such treatment if a physician is not recommending such treatment.


Additional Resources


Florida Statutes, Title XXXI, Chapter 440, Section 440.02 — Read the definitions of terms related to Workers’ Compensation as they appear in the Florida Statutes.


Find an Attorney for Workers’ Compensation Claims in Miami, Florida

The attorneys at The Hoffman Firm want you to understand Florida’s workers’ compensation laws and how they apply to you and your worker’s compensation claim. Understanding the definitions of the terms related to workers’ compensation can help you streamline the process and earn the maximum benefits available.

Call The Hoffman Firm at (305) 940-2307 today to discuss your workers’ compensation case.


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All fields are required. The use of this form for communication with our personnel does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Evan A. Hoffman

Evan A. Hoffman

Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.

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