Workers’ Compensation As Exclusive Remedy In Florida
Most people are familiar with the basic concept of workers’ compensation: if someone is injured on the job, their employer will pay at least some of the medical costs associated with that injury. However, what many miss is that this system works this way because of a bargain of sorts between employers and employees: in exchange for no-fault workers’ compensation coverage, employees give up their right to sue their employer for negligence. This is known as the ‘exclusive remedy’ provision.
An Injured Employee Cannot Sue (Usually)
In Florida, the law is fairly clear, stating that workers’ compensation will be the remedy that is “exclusive and in place of all other liability” that an employee might allege. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are few and far between – namely, (1) if an employer willfully fails to provide workers’ compensation; or (2) if they caused the employee’s injury via intentional tort (basically, the civil equivalent of a crime).
What this means for the average person is that unless one of the two exceptions applies in your case, you may only file a workers’ compensation claim if you are injured on the job; you cannot file a lawsuit even if you suspect negligence on the part of your employer. This may seem unfair in some cases, but the idea of an injured employee being able to receive both no-cost medical care and potential money damages is seen as inequitable under the law.
Does Not Apply To Third Parties
While workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for injuries sustained on the job in terms of receiving benefits from one’s employer, it is important to keep in mind that if a third party played a role in causing your injuries, there is no rule against suing them for negligence. For example, if you work as a driver, and get into a car accident with a third party while you are on the clock, you may have a case against that third party if their negligence caused your injuries.
That said, it is important to be aware of the principle of subrogation. Subrogation is a concept in which an insurer has the right to recover for the amount of benefits it has already paid out. Thus, if you receive workers’ compensation benefits for an on-the-job injury and win a lawsuit against a third party, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer has the right to recover any amounts they have already paid from you.
Contact An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
No one wants to think about being injured on the job, but if you are, it is crucial that you know your rights. An Orlando workers’ compensation attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can try to answer any questions you may have about the process and your options. Contact our office today at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.