With few exceptions, a Florida employee who suffers an on-the-job injury cannot sue their employer for damages. The state imposes requirements on employers to procure workers’ compensation insurance that pays at least a portion of an employee’s wages and reimburses medical costs. However, the injured worker’s economic and non-economic damages can exceed the benefits that they might recover from workers’ compensation insurance payments. Moreover, they may be entitled to recover larger benefits than an insurer might initially offer.
In either case, you should contact an experienced and compassionate Florida workers’ compensation attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo in South Florida to help recover reimbursements from all liable parties. We are dedicated to ensuring that insurance companies treat injured workers fairly. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation if you are concerned that your workers’ comp benefits will not cover all your damages.
What benefits are provided to employees under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws?
The workers’ compensation laws in Florida, found in Chapter 440 of the state’s statutes, establish an employer’s obligation to provide insurance for employees to cover medical costs and a percentage of their lost wages. In turn, the employee waives their right to file a personal injury suit against the employer in exchange for those benefits.
However, these laws also preclude an injured worker from collecting compensation for pain and suffering and other forms of damages that may be available in a lawsuit.
When do exceptions apply to enable an employee to sue an employer?
The four primary exceptions to the waiver of an employee’s right to sue their employer are:
- When the employer fails to procure workers’ compensation insurance coverage or allows that coverage to lapse.
- When an employer intentionally causes an injury to an employee.
- When working conditions create a virtual certainty that an employee will suffer an on-the-job injury.
- When an employer interferes with an employee’s attempt to collect workers’ compensation insurance benefits.
Our experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyers will typically investigate an employee’s accident to determine if any exceptions apply. We will file an injury lawsuit against the employer–if an exception is available.
Can an employee sue parties other than an employer?
If the facts surrounding an employee’s injuries reveal that a party other than the employer contributed to the accident, the employee may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. This might occur, for example, when the negligence or misconduct of a third-party visitor to a worksite causes injuries.
The employee should still pursue workers’ compensation benefits in these situations but should also promptly confer with a personal injury attorney to assess the feasibility of seeking additional damages.
If a lawsuit is feasible, is there a deadline for filing it?
Under recent revisions to Florida’s state of limitations, the state gives injured parties two years from the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. This deadline is separate and apart from the time limit that an employee has to notify an employer that they are pursuing workers’ compensation benefits, which is only 30 days.
Generally, if an injured employee misses any of these deadlines, they will not have the opportunity to recover the damages that they deserve. Injured Florida workers who have questions about how much time they have to pursue their claims should not hesitate to contact a workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney.
Call the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo
Please call any of our offices for a no-fee, no-obligation consultation about your opportunity to collect compensation after you suffer a work-related injury in Florida. If you retain our firm and we accept your case, we will pursue every potential path to recover the largest workers’ compensation benefits and damages award that may be available under the facts of your case. In addition, we work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees. We look forward to hearing from you.