Each year, thousands of people are injured in Florida workplace accidents. Often, these accidents result in serious injury that requires an employee to undergo medical treatment, reducing or eliminating the employee’s ability to work. In severe cases, employees must take months off work and may not ever be able to return to work in the same capacity as before the injury.
Florida law provides injured workers with two avenues of potential compensation for their injuries. The first is through a Florida workers’ compensation claim. The benefits of a workers’ compensation claim are that it will not require an injured employee to establish that their employer was at fault and, in addition, the process of obtaining benefits is a quick one. However, the damages that are available in a workers’ compensation claim are limited, and do not include compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Florida workplace accident victims may also be able to pursue a personal injury case against one or more parties. Before getting into the specifics of a personal injury case, it is critical that injured workers understand that not every workplace accident can be the basis of a personal injury lawsuit. Under Florida Statutes Section 440.11, a workers’ compensation claim is an injured employee’s sole remedy against their employer in most cases. As a result, a personal injury case may not ordinarily be filed against an employer. However, third-party claims are permitted. A third-party claim is a personal injury claim filed against a non-employer third-party.
A recent federal appellate decision illustrates a situation where a personal injury case may be appropriate following a workplace accident. In this case, a truck driver was allegedly injured after he was struck by a forklift while waiting for a crew to load cargo onto his truck. The driver was employed by a trucking company, and not by the company that manufactured the goods that were being loaded onto the truck. The truck driver filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company that employed the forklift driver, arguing that the employer was liable under a premises liability theory as well as the theory of respondeat superior.
Ultimately, the court determined that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to allow his respondeat superior claim to proceed to trial. The outcome of the plaintiff’s case is still pending.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Workplace Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida workplace accident, the dedicated injury lawyers at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing injury victims and their family members in a wide range of claims, including Florida on-the-job accidents. We handle both personal injury and Florida workers’ compensation cases, and can help you determine which is appropriate for you. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our dedicated Florida injury lawyers, call 877-448-8585 today. Calling is free, and we only collect a fee if we can secure an award in your favor.