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Required coverage for contractors and subcontractors

Taking a construction project from blueprint to ribbon cutting is a complex process that invariably involves many contractors and subcontractors coordinating across various sectors. In any construction project, there is the possibility that a worker may become hurt. It is a complicated matter to know who exactly is responsible in any given circumstance, and whose insurance will need to respond to claims when these things occur.

In the state of Florida, all employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees. Different industries maintain different standards of coverage, dependent on the nature of the work and the number of employees. In the construction industry, any business with one or more employees, including the business owner, is required to carry this coverage. Contractors are tasked with ensuring that all of their sub-contractors are carrying the correct coverage for their respective employees. Contractors should make sure that this is settled before a subcontractor begins work.

In the event that a subcontractor does not have the appropriate coverage for the employees, the state of Florida considers those employees to then be the employees of the contractor. Should an injury occur on the joist or elsewhere within the scope of the job, the contractor is the responsible party. Subsequently, the contractor will be held liable for the appropriate workers' compensation coverage, and may even be held liable for paying benefits related to an injury or fatality.

There are many things that can go wrong on a construction job, and it is common sense that any contractors and subcontractors who are doing business should carry appropriate coverage.Those who find themselves in a conflict regarding liability of coverage in construction agreements may find that an experienced attorney can help settle the matter quickly and equitably for all involved parties.

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services, "Coverage Requirements," accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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