If you’re an employee injured in a workplace accident, you’re probably familiar with your rights under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. Most Florida employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to workers who are injured on the job. You file a claim with your employer through its workers’ comp insurer, and you can receive benefits right away – as long as you qualify. You don’t have to show fault, but:
- Workers’ comp benefits are your sole remedy in most cases, so you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit; and,
- You’re not eligible for pain, suffering, and other non-economic losses that may result from your injuries.
However, there are key exceptions to workers’ compensation being your only legal option. As an injured employee, it’s important to know what they are and whether they allow you to file a lawsuit in civil court. A Florida personal injury attorney can explain in more detail, but an overview may be helpful.
Worker’s Comp Exceptions That Allow a Civil Personal Injury Lawsuit: Workers’ comp is NOT your sole legal remedy if:
- Your Employer Failed to Procure Workers’ Comp Insurance: If your employer violates Florida workers’ comp laws by not carrying insurance to protect employees when they are required to do so, you do have right to sue.
- Intentional Conduct Caused the Incident: Workers’ comp doesn’t cover intentional acts of your employer, so you can file a lawsuit in the event that you were hurt under such circumstances. However, you must show that your employer deliberately intended to cause injury, or knew that injury was virtually certain based upon the conduct.
- A Third Party was At Fault in the Workplace Accident: In some industries, it’s common for multiple companies and their employees to be present in the work environment. Construction, shipping, and transportation are examples. If you sustained injuries in a workplace accident that was caused by a third party, unrelated to your employer, you may seek your legal remedies in court.
Monetary Damages Available in a Personal Injury Claim: As mentioned, there are limitations in the benefits you can recover through workers’ comp. If your situation falls under one of the exceptions above, you can seek a wider range of compensation in a civil lawsuit. You’re eligible to recover non-economic damages, including:
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional distress;
- Diminished quality of life, due to the ways your injuries affect your activities;
- Losses based upon how your injuries affect your personal relationships; and,
- Many others, depending on your circumstances.
Consult with an Ocala, FL Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Options
While Florida’s workers’ comp system covers most workplace accident injuries, you may have additional legal options that would enable you to recover additional amounts as monetary damages. However, the exceptions can be complicated, so it’s important to work with an experienced Ocala personal injury attorney. To learn more, please call Piccin & Glynn to set up a free consultation. You can reach our Ocala, FL office at 352-581-6174 or by going online.