If you suffered an injury at the workplace or while performing job duties,
you may be wondering what legal options are available to recover compensation
to pay for medical treatment, lost wages, and even pain and suffering
from the entire ordeal. Florida workers have two options: a workers’
compensation claim or a
personal injury lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation is a mandatory insurance program designed to
cover employees in the event of an on-the-job injury. In most cases, the
only option an injured worker has is to file a worker’s compensation claim.
Injured employees do not need to prove fault in order to obtain workers’
comp benefits. Even if you accidentally caused your injury, you are still
entitled to these benefits.
In a workers’ compensation case, you can only receive compensation
for medical bills and weekly wages, as well as permanent impairment and
vocational rehabilitation, if necessary. You cannot receive compensation
for pain and suffering.
By contrast, a personal injury lawsuit requires an injured party to prove
that the other party was negligent and their negligence leads to the underlying
accident. However, since workers’ compensation laws ensure all injured
workers would get some weekly benefits and their medical expenses covered
in the event of a workplace accident, they—in return—lose
the right to sue their employers or coworkers for negligence.
A personal injury award includes some of the same damages from a workers’
compensation case. However, you can also receive compensation for all
lost wages, lost earning potential, future medical expenses, pain and
suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and even punitive damages.
There are a few situations where an injured worker can file both types
of claims. If the accident and/or injury was caused by a third party or
an individual unrelated to the employee’s job (i.e. contractor due
to unsafe working conditions, property owner due to premises liability,
architect due to defective design, manufacturer due to defective equipment,
etc.), then he/she may file a separate personal injury claim against the
third party. Additionally, if your employer intentionally hurt an employee
or has insufficient workers’ compensation insurance, then the employee
can sue the employer in civil court.
If you were injured on the job in Florida,
schedule a free consultation with our Tampa Bay personal injury attorney at
Paulsen Law Group so we can determine your available legal options today.