If you experience an injury at work in Florida, you don’t have the right to sue your employer in the state of Florida in most situations. With that in mind, there are some exceptions that may allow you to file a lawsuit against them.
Usually, litigation is only going to be an option if workers’ compensation benefits aren’t available or if the action of your employer is particularly egregious.
At Sternberg Forsythe, P.A., we can help you with your situation and ensure you fully understand your rights. This is going to help you know when and if you can file a lawsuit to recover additional compensation or damages.
Workers’ Compensation and Your Right to File a Lawsuit
Like many other states, Florida uses a workers’ compensation system that will provide monetary benefits for any worker who is injured while on the job. The system provides a type of insurance that is paid for by the employer. If a worker suffers an injury, they have the right to file a claim against their employer’s insurance policy to recover monetary compensation.
The tradeoff with this is that a worker will only be covered by workers’ compensation benefits if they waive their right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. In fact, losing your right to file a lawsuit is a major component of the entire workers’ compensation system. Unfortunately, there are several types of compensation that are usually available with a personal injury claim that isn’t an option with a workers’ compensation claim.
Exceptions That Apply When Suing Your Employer
Just like any other legal standard, there are some exceptions that can let you file a civil lawsuit against your employer. Some of the exceptions that apply include:
The Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation benefits will only be available if your employer has this insurance coverage. It means that a claim for benefits won’t be successful if the workplace allows the workers’ compensation insurance coverage to expire. In these situations, it’s possible to directly sue your employer.
Most negligence claims are not allowed by the workers’ compensation system. One exception to this is if intentional harm has occurred. If a supervisor or employer causes intentional harm to a worker, they may be found liable for the damages that you suffered. While this is true, it can be difficult to prove intent in these situations.
Another exception occurs if the court discovers there was “virtual certainty” that an injury would take place. In these situations, it’s possible to file a lawsuit against your employer if it was your fault that harm occurred.
There are other steps that an employer may take to remove the workers’ compensation system. In fact, courts have discovered that employers who are responsible for denying a workers’ compensation claim may be liable for damages. An example would be an employer who did not report the injury to the insurance company or if they delayed the process in some other way. If this happens, it’s possible to hold them liable by filing a civil lawsuit.
There are more than a few reasons why employees may be able to file a civil lawsuit. There are also types of compensation that an employee may be able to receive through a civil lawsuit that isn’t possible with a workers’ compensation lawsuit. The most common type of compensation that this lawsuit allows you to recover is for your pain and suffering.
Filing a Lawsuit Against Another or Other Parties
Even if you can’t sue your employer for your workplace injury, there could be other options for you to consider. For example, while you may not be able to sue your employer if a third party was responsible for your accident, they do not have the same protections that your employer does. What this means is that you have the right to pursue litigation if your injury was the result of a third party that isn’t your employer or related to your employer.
Let Our Legal Team Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are planning to file a workers’ compensation claim, it’s a good idea to get in touch with our legal team. Along with helping you get the compensation you need from these benefits, we can also determine if you have the right to file a lawsuit. The first step is to get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation.