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Can an Employee Hold a Co-Worker Responsible in a Florida Workplace Accident Case?

When someone is injured on the job, they can typically file a claim for compensation based on the injuries they sustained. There are two types of claims, Florida workers’ compensation claims and Florida personal injury claims. A workers’ compensation claim does not require an employee establish another party was at fault for their injuries. However, Florida workers’ compensation claims provide only for the recovery of medical expenses/disability benefits, meaning that an injured employee cannot recover for the pain and suffering the accident caused.

Alternatively, Florida personal injury cases allow accident victims to more fully recover for their injuries, including for non-economic losses. However, a plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant was negligent to recover these losses. In many Florida workplace accidents, the first question that arises is which type of claim should an injured employee pursue. In reality, it is less a question of “should” and more a question of “can.”

One way of thinking about this question is to consider who was at fault for the accident. In short, if an accident is caused by the negligence of the employer or the employee, an employee’s only remedy may be through a Florida workers’ compensation claim. This is because under Florida statutes section 440.11, while a qualifying employer is responsible for an employee’s injuries, a workers’ compensation claim is usually the injured employee’s “sole remedy.” This means that an employee whose injuries are the result of a covered accident may only be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. Section 440.11 extends this “sole remedy” provision to situations where an employee’s injuries are caused by a co-worker’s negligence.

Of course, there are situations where an employee who was injured as a result of a co-worker’s acts will not be limited by a workers’ compensation claim. Specifically, in situations where a co-worker acts with “willful and wanton disregard or unprovoked physical aggression” or gross negligence. In these situations, an injured employee may be able to pursue a claim against both the injured employee as well as their employer.

The bottom line is that determining which type of claim to bring after a Florida workplace accident is an important decision. Typically, where possible, a Florida personal injury case is preferred. However, anyone who has been injured while at work should consult with a dedicated Florida workplace injury law firm for individualized assistance.

Have You Been Injured in an On-the-Job Accident?

If you or someone close to you has recently been injured in a Florida workplace accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through either a Florida workers’ compensation claim or a Florida personal injury claim. At the South Florida law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank, we handle both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims, and can help advise you of what makes sense in your situation. Our dedicated team of Florida injury lawyers has extensive experience across both areas of law, and can confidently guide you through the process of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries. To learn more, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.

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