Can I Ever Sue My Employer Over A Work Injury?
If you are injured on the job, Florida workers’ compensation insurance will cover you (assuming your employer is required to carry it). However, what many do not realize is that it is intended to be the ‘exclusive remedy’ for injured employees, meaning that in the overwhelming majority of situations, an employee cannot file suit against their employer if they are hurt on the job. There are, however, exceptions, and if you are in one of these situations, it is crucial to understand your rights and your options.
Not Always An Exclusive Remedy
In exchange for guaranteed, no-fault medical care under the workers’ compensation system, employees of most Florida companies willingly waive their right to file a civil suit against their employer in the event of an injury. Most of the time, on-the-job injuries are fairly straightforward, and do not require a finding of fault in order to be compensable; however, there are three demonstrable exceptions to the exclusivity rule. If any of them apply in your case, you may be able to file a civil suit in the relevant court.
The first is perhaps the most straightforward – if you believe that your workers’ compensation claim has been unfairly denied, you have the right to file suit directly against your employer for benefits, as well as the right to report your claim to their insurance carrier directly if your employer has not already done so. You may also contact the state’s Employee Assistance & Ombudsman office for help in resolving this type of dispute.
Breaking The Bargain
The other exceptions to the “exclusivity rule” for workers’ compensation have to do with employer intent, which is much more difficult to determine. If you can establish that your employer deliberately and maliciously set up a situation where they knew you would be injured, or there was such a virtual certainty that you would be injured that a reasonable person would think so, they can and will generally be held liable. However, it is not always easy to establish this level of malice or recklessness, particularly without specific evidence.
One other situation in which you may be able to sue your employer after a work injury is not technically an exception to the exclusivity rule, but still applies: if your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance and does not, you then have the right to file suit against them because no bargain exists. In other words, you are not receiving workers’ compensation coverage, so you do not have to forswear filing suit against an allegedly negligent employer.
Contact A Winter Park Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can very often get you the medical care you need after an injury on the job, However, if your employer has been malicious or so reckless as to put you in certain danger, you have the right to try and hold them accountable. The Winter Park workers’ compensation attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group are ready and willing to try and help answer any questions you might have about seeking compensation. Call our offices today for a free consultation.