The workers’ compensation system is designed with workers in mind. It is a no fault system that forces your employer to pay for your work-related injuries. That includes both medical expenses and supplementing your income while you are taking time off work to recover.
Workers have many benefits within the workers’ compensation system, and you can talk to a Florida workers’ compensation attorney to find out more specific information.
However, you must also follow a few rules if you take advantage of workers’ compensation. One of those rules is that workers’ compensation is your “exclusive remedy” if you are injured at work. But, what does that mean?
Workers’ Compensation is An Exclusive Remedy
If you are injured at work, you should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. If you are off work past a certain number of days, then your indemnity payments will begin. This means that you will have benefits even when you cannot work. If you take these medical benefits (or medical payments), then you cannot sue your employer for the injury.
Faster than the Normal Lawsuit…
Workers’ compensation is much faster than a “normal” lawsuit. You do not have to wait the months, or sometimes years, that it takes a regular legal case to progress. Instead, you get payments within a few days and do not have to pay your medical costs. There are many benefits for using this system, but you cannot do both.
One or the Other…
There are certain circumstances where you are well within your rights to sue your employer if you are injured at work. For example, if your employer was not following safety protocols or hurt you intentionally, then you may want to consider filing a personal injury claim. In most circumstances, however, workers’ compensation is going to be your best option.
What are the Limitations?
There are also some damages that you cannot receive under workers’ compensation.
In a normal personal injury case, you can seek damages for the following:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of potential earnings
- Loss of enjoyment of your life
The workers’ compensation system addresses medical expenses and expenses related to lost earnings, but it does not address most intangible expenses like loss of enjoyment of life or pain and suffering.
Which Scenario is Best for Me?
Your payments under workers’ compensation are set by your earnings. They do not add in anything for your pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. In return, you get much faster payments and do not have to prove that your employer was at fault in some way.
There may also be significant difference between workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim. You can decide which one is right for you by speaking with an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney.