We often receive calls from people looking to sue their employers after suffering injuries at work. They believe that their injury was caused by their boss’s negligence in failing to protect them from harm or prevent them from being injured. They are hoping to recover monetary damages from a civil lawsuit and a judge and jury.
However, in Florida, an injured worker is limited in their ability to sue an employer and, unless the most drastic and specific set of events occurs, the law only provides for claims to be filed under the workers’ compensation system and not a civil negligence lawsuit.
In Florida, an injured worker should hire an attorney after being injured so that a Petition for Benefits can be filed. A Petition for Benefits is a document that requests, or petitions, an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier for benefits such as a doctor’s appointment, MRIs, surgery, lost wages and more. Workers’ compensation is required to provide medical care and lost wage benefits to injured workers without having to go to trial with a Florida workers compensation lawyer, and prove another party’s fault as is required in civil law.
The workers’ compensation insurance company is then required to provide medical care services at no charge or cost to the injured worker, even if the injured worker did not have health insurance of their own. That means that ambulance bills, hospital bills, medications and all associated costs relating to a compensable workplace injury will be paid for on your behalf.
Also, under Florida’s workers’ compensation system, when an injured worker is taken out of work following an accident lost wages called Temporary Total Disability benefits will be paid. If an injured worker is returned on a restricted duty but the employer has no such position, the workers’ compensation carrier must pay Temporary Partial Disability benefits. These monies are paid by the carrier as opposed to going through a civil lawsuit where you would get no lost wages.
The workers’ compensation system is meant to provide medical care and lost wages to injured workers, even if the accident was your fault.
This is because fault has no bearing under Florida’s work comp laws. As long as the injured worker was not intoxicated or initiated a fight or incident, benefits should be provided without having to prove another party’s fault. There are exceptions to the exclusivity of workers’ compensation being the only route that can be taken. However, this only applies to certain individuals and for certain occasions. For example, if your workplace injury involved a third party then you may be able to have both a work comp claim and a civil lawsuit. These situations occur when a party unrelated to your employer causes an accident or injury. Examples of this include a delivery driver hit from behind while stopped at a red light. In this situation, the driver has a valid workers’ compensation claim and can sue the at-fault driver outside of work comp.
If you have been hurt at work, you may have a workers’ compensation claim and might be entitled to receive health care and lost wage benefits. Call our Palm Beach County workers compensation lawyers for a free and confidential consultation at 561-616-3800 or contact Franks Koenig & Neuwelt online .