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I was Injured on the Job.  Can I Bring a Personal Injury Claim?

If you were injured on the job in Florida, you may be able to make a personal injury claim. It will depend on the circumstances surrounding your injury and the nature of your employment.

In Florida, most employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. It provides medical and wage-loss benefits to employees who are injured on the job, regardless of who was at fault for the injury. In exchange for receiving these benefits, employees give up their right to sue their employer for negligence.  This is referred to as workers’ compensation immunity from suit for your employer.

Intentional Tort Exception

In a few rare exceptions, workers have been able to pierce this immunity by showing intentional actions on the part of their employer. Pursuant to Florida Statutes 440.11(1)(b), an employer commits an intentional tort when the employee proves by clear and convincing evidence that the employer deliberately intended to injure the employee, or the employer engaged in conduct that the employer knew, based on prior similar accidents or on explicit warnings specifically identifying a known danger, was “virtually certain” to result in injury or death to the employee.

Failure to Obtain the Required Workers Compensation Coverage

Generally, depending on the nature of the industry, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage.

In the Construction Industry, employers with one or more employees, including the owner of the business who is a corporate officer or Limited Liability Company (LLC) member, must have workers’ compensation coverage.

However, in the Non-Construction Industry, employers with four (4) or more employees, including business owners who are corporate officers or Limited Liability Company (LLC) members, must have workers’ compensation coverage.

In the Agricultural Industry, employers with six (6) regular employees and/or twelve (12) seasonal workers who work more than 30 days during a season but no more than a total of 45 days in a calendar year must have workers’ compensation coverage.

If your employer does not carry the required workers’ compensation insurance, not only is the employer susceptible to fines and stop work orders, the employer is not shielded from the immunity provided by carrying the required insurance.  Accordingly, an employee can sue their employer based on negligence.  In this scenario, the employee would be able to recover damages not otherwise provided under the workers’ compensation system such as pain and suffering damages.

Third-Party Liability

If your on-the-job injury was caused by a third party, such as another driver, or a defective machine, you can make an injury claim.  The same is true if an employee fell on a third party’s property due to a hazard the third party knew or should have known about.  The employee can make an injury claim in these scenarios even if the employee is also receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

It is important to note that the rules surrounding workers’ compensation and personal injury claims in Florida can be complex and the best course of action will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. If you have been injured on the job, we feel it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer who can evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action.

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