Third-Party Car Accident Claims
Most of the time, when you are injured at work, you can file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer’s insurance (assuming that you work for an employer required to carry it). However, workers’ compensation does not cover everything; if you are injured due to the negligence or recklessness of a third party, you may need to file what is called a third-party claim against them instead. These claims can get complex, and enlisting an experienced attorney can be helpful in navigating the legal process.
The “Course and Scope” Of Employment
There are several different types of third-party accidents that may happen while someone is on the clock, most of which mirror common personal injury claims. Examples might include a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s premises, a defective product injuring someone as they work, or workplace violence, though there are many others. One of the most common third-party claims is an auto accident off your employer’s premises, which can sometimes lead to a judgment against the involved driver, though every case is different.
If you are injured while acting within the “course and scope” of your employment, you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, even if your accident occurs off your employer’s premises. There are different factors that help to determine whether someone is acting within the course and scope, but the main question is the degree of control your employer exercises over you. For example, if you are asked to drive to a different business location to run an errand, and are involved in an auto accident on the way there, you were clearly acting under the orders of your employer.
Do I Have To Pay My Employer Back?
A workers’ compensation claim is filed against your employer’s insurer, while a third-party claim is filed against an outside actor (you are the first ‘party,’ the insurer is the second, and any other outside actor besides your employer is a third party). Because of this, it is not unheard of that you might be able to file both claims for the same incident – both for workers’ compensation and personal injury. There is no law requiring an injured Floridian to choose only one.
That said, Florida does have laws against what are called windfall recoveries. In other words, you cannot recover all your damages from two different sources; if you did, it would be unfair because your damages are a settled amount – receiving more than that is no longer compensation; it is a windfall. Generally, if you recover from a third-party defendant, and you have already gotten workers’ compensation benefits, you will be required to repay the insurer out of what you receive from the third-party defendant. This process is called subrogation, and it is considered appropriate so that no one is unjustly enriched.
Call An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured, it may seem like whether it happened on the job or not is irrelevant. However, it can make all the difference in where you may receive compensation, and sometimes, in how much. If you have been injured by a third party, or have questions about a third-party claim, calling an Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer at the Hornsby Law Group can help. We are happy to try and assist you; contact our office for a free consultation today.