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Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys / Blog / Workers Compensation / Holding A Third Party Liable For Work Injuries

Holding A Third Party Liable For Work Injuries


In most cases, a Florida work-related injury is compensated (if at all) by the employee filing a workers’ compensation claim. In general, an injury on the job can only be compensated via workers’ compensation – but there are exceptions, and one of those exceptions will happen if a third party, not related to the worker or their employer, causes the accident that injured the employee. If you have been injured at work due to the negligence of a third party, you may be able to file suit against them, or you still may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits – but the process can be a bit more complex either way.

“In The Course & Scope Of Employment”

Most of the time, someone who is hurt on the job is simply not in contact with many third parties, so the likelihood that one would cause them injury is low. However, some jobs require much more travel, where the worker is not on their employer’s premises – the classic example is a delivery driver. A delivery driver is on the clock while driving around town; any injury they sustain has the potential to be a ‘work’ injury, but it is much more possible that such an injury would be caused by the negligence of a third party.

In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Florida, an employee must be hurt while on the job – not necessarily on their employer’s premises – and must have been acting “in the course and … scope of employment.” Generally, acting within the course and scope of employment means that the employee is engaged in furthering their employer’s business in the manner their employer desires. A delivery driver is acting within the course and scope of their employment when they are driving around town delivering items to clients. If they are injured due to someone else’s negligence, they will have a claim for benefits.

No Windfalls Allowed

If an employee is injured by a third party – for example, a private individual hitting them with their vehicle – they have the right to file a negligence claim against that individual and file a workers’ compensation claim on their employer’s insurance. The right to file for workers’ compensation is part of the exchange made when an employer gives a person a job – in exchange for giving up their right to sue their employer, an employee receives access to the workers’ compensation system if injured on the job.

Keep in mind, however, that if you do seek workers’ compensation benefits and file a negligence lawsuit, Florida law grants subrogation rights to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. This means that if you prevail in your lawsuit after receiving benefits from the insurer, the insurer has the right to be repaid out of any jury award you get. The point of a civil lawsuit is to make an injured party whole – not to give them a windfall – and allowing the injured employee to keep both benefits and the jury award would be inequitable and unfair.

Call An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Being injured at work can be a frightening time for anyone, and confusion surrounding which benefits you might be entitled to receive can make it worse. An Orlando workers’ compensation attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help to clarify the issues around third party claims, and help you decide what your best options might be. Call our office today for a free consultation.



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