Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law provides workers with benefits if they suffer injuries at work or while in the scope of their employment duties. At first glance, the system appears as a quick and efficient way for Florida employees to obtain benefits for their injuries and return to work. However, the system inherently favors employers because, barring certain exceptions, employees lose their right to bring a common-law personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Exceptions to this rule exist in certain situations, such as if the employer did not maintain appropriate worker’s compensation insurance. Further, an exception applies if the employee suffered injuries because of their employer’s particularly egregious wanton gross negligence or intentional conduct. Finally, workers’ compensation does not protect employers from assaults against their employees.
In many cases, workers’ compensation insurance does not adequately cover all of an employee’s injuries and damages. Although employees may not assert personal injury claims against their employer, they may recover damages from other responsible third-parties. To succeed on a third-party claim, plaintiffs must be able to prove that they had a work-related accident, the third-party owed them a duty of care, they breached that duty, and the plaintiff suffered injuries because of the work-related incident.
For example, a Florida news report recently described a tragic accident at a St. Petersburg Home Depot. A delivery driver suffered fatal injuries when construction materials fell on him at the store. The driver was working as a third-party carrier for a building material company. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal entity that ensures safe and healthy working conditions, reported that the incident is under investigation. Additionally, Home Depot commented that they were working with authorities to investigate the accident.
Third-party claims may be appropriate in an array of situations. For example, employees who suffer injuries while driving in a work van may file a claim. Further, an employee who is hurt at a construction site, may file a lawsuit against the building owner or general contractor for failing to abide by OSHA standards. In some cases, if the plaintiff later obtains compensation after a third-party lawsuit, they may need to pay back their employer for any workers’ compensation benefits they received. Workplace injury victims should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of Another’s Negligence?
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries or died in a Florida workplace accident, you should contact the attorneys at Friedman, Rodman, Frank & Estrada. The dedicated and reputable attorneys at our firm have extensive experience successfully handling various types of accident claims. Our attorneys handle claims arising from Florida motor vehicle accidents, defective products, premises liability, nursing home abuse and negligence, and medical malpractice. We have recovered significant amounts of compensation on behalf of our clients, including payments for medical expenses, ongoing medical treatment, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, and other similar damages. Contact our office at 877-448-8585, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our firm.