Personal Injury At Work
The majority of the time, Florida law bars any kind of personal injury suit from being brought if you are injured on the job, instead requiring you to go through the state’s workers’ compensation system. Indeed, it is all but impossible to bring a personal injury suit against your employer for a job-related injury. However, it is possible to bring suit in another context depending on the facts of your situation.
Product or Substance Injury
One of the major causes of personal injury suits filed over work injuries is if the injury is caused by a malfunctioning product. In such a case, Florida law allows you to bring suit – not against your employer, but against the manufacturer of the product that malfunctioned. A very similar state of affairs will occur if you are injured by a toxic or dangerous substance, you may be able to hold the manufacturer liable if you can show a design defect or a failure to warn consumers of potential hazards. A generalized statement that a product or substance may be dangerous is generally not sufficient to insulate a manufacturer from liability.
Product liability suits can be filed under theories of negligence or strict liability – in a negligence-based product liability suit, duty and breach of duty on the part of the manufacturer must be established, as well as a showing of real harm (as opposed to, say, temporary shock or cuts and bruises) that was caused by the defendant manufacturer’s conduct, with no supervening cause. In a strict liability case, a plaintiff does not have to prove that a duty of care existed, as it is established per se by law, as well as its breach.
Third Party Suits
By far the most common work-related personal injury suit is the third party lawsuit, where you are injured while performing some function of your duties. While you may not usually sue your employer if you are injured on the job, you may bring suit if you can show your injury was caused by the negligent conduct of another person. The major thing to keep in mind is that you may only have a case if you are engaged in the “course of [your] employment.” For example, if you work as a delivery driver, and are injured in an accident with a civilian, you would likely have a third-party case.
It is important to note that the defendant must be a true third party, rather than a coworker or a contractor. Florida law generally immunizes those associated directly with the employer from any kind of tort suit. The one exception is Sec. 440.11(1)(b), which states that an employer may be liable in civil law if they commit an intentional tort that causes the injury or death of the employee. However, the threshold for establishing an intentional tort is extremely high, and most cases of this nature will not be successful without extremely clear evidence.
Contact A Winter Park Personal Injury Attorney
While most work-related injuries will be settled under the workers’ compensation system, there are more occasions than one might think to file a personal injury suit in that context. If you ever are in a situation where you need to do so, enlisting a knowledgeable attorney is critical. The dedicated Winter Park personal injury lawyers at the Hornsby Law Group have years of experience helping injured Floridians, and will do the best we can with your case. Call us today to set up an initial appointment.