If you suffer a workplace injury in Florida, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits – no matter who is at fault for causing the underlying accident and your injuries. The tradeoff with the no-fault system is that an injured employee automatically waives the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. However, there are several exceptions to this system.
The following are the exceptions to suing an employer after a workplace injury:
The employer intentionally caused the worker’s injuries – If you were injured on the job because your employer or supervisor intentionally hurt you, then you can file a lawsuit directly against the employer. Common examples of intentional, physical harm include punching, hitting, kicking, or inflicting any type of harm.
The employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance – Workers’ comp benefits are only available when an employer has insurance coverage. Additionally, Florida law requires all employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer fails to follow state law by providing you with workers’ comp insurance, not only is the employer subject to fines and penalties from the state, but you can also file a lawsuit in civil court if you sustain an injury on the job.
Virtual certainty – If the conduct of an employer was so terrible that it was a “virtual certainty” an employee would suffer an injury, an injured worker could sue an employer for negligence. In order to prove this claim, the employer must have been explicitly and repeatedly warned of a specific workplace condition that would lead to injury, but the employer deliberately concealed or mispresented the hazard from employees.
Claim denial – If an employer’s actions result in an unfair denial of your workers’ compensation claim, a worker can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. Common examples of actions that may cause an unfair denial include failing to report the injury to the workers’ comp insurance provider in a timely manner, denying the injury happened while on the job, and misrepresenting the accident or injury to the insurer.
Whether you were treated unfairly by your employer after a workplace accident or if your workers’ compensation claim was denied, it is imperative to hire an experienced workers’ comp attorney to protect your rights and best interests. Your lawyer can thoroughly examine your case, determine all your legal options, and maximize your entitled benefits or compensation.
If you have sustained a workplace injury in Tampa Bay, contact Paulsen Law Group today to schedule a free consultation. We also have offices in Dunedin, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, and New Port Richey.