When Should You File a Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Compensation Claim in Florida?
When you sustain a work-related injury, filing a workers’ compensation claim may be the first thing on your mind. However, in many cases, an injured worker can maximize their compensation by pursuing a personal injury claim. In some cases, they may even file both a personal injury and workers’ compensation claim.
While Florida’s workers’ compensation system prevents you from suing your employer, not all on-the-job injuries are the employer’s fault. In many cases, the injured worker can seek compensation from a liable third party.
Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
Today, we will talk about when you should file a workers’ comp claim and when it makes more sense to bring a personal injury claim to recover damages following a workplace accident. However, the information provided below is for informational purposes only.
Schedule a consultation with our personal injury attorney at The Turnbull Firm to discuss your particular situation and discover your legal rights if you were injured at work in Florida.
Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims
Most people who sustain on-the-job injuries in Florida seek compensation through their employer’s insurance company. While you can receive workers’ compensation benefits for your work-related injury or illness, you may also be able to file a personal injury claim against a third party who was responsible for causing your injury.
There are many differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims in Florida. One of the most notable is that your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer will not cover all of your medical bills and lost wages.
When filing a personal injury claim, on the other hand, you can maximize your settlement amount and seek compensation for such damages as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of earning capacity, and many others.
Third Parties Who May Be Sued for Your Work-Related Injury
As mentioned earlier, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against any individual or entity other than your employer (a third party) when they were responsible for causing your workplace accident.
Some of the third parties who may be sued for your work-related injury or illness include but are not limited to:
- Manufacturers of workplace equipment
- Customers and visitors
- Contractors who work with you
- Individuals who perform services on the premises where you work
- Other entities that may do business on the same property as your employer
- Entities responsible for inspecting and maintaining the premises where you work
In other words, any third party whose negligent acts or omission to act caused your injury at work could be held responsible for your resulting damages and losses.
What Happens if You File a Personal Injury Claim After a Workplace Accident?
The Florida Statutes Section 440.39 provides that a worker who sustains an on-the-job injury due to a third party’s negligence can be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits and can also file a personal injury claim against the negligent third party.
However, when this happens, and the injured worker receives compensation through their employer’s insurance company, the insurer may claim a lien on personal injury compensation that the worker receives from the third party. In other words, if you receive workers’ comp benefits and then obtain a settlement from a negligent third party, the insurance company will have a right to seek reimbursement from the proceeds of your personal injury settlement.
Speak with our Lakeland personal injury lawyer at The Turnbull Firm to determine whether you should file a workers’ compensation and/or personal injury claim in your particular situation. Call at 863-324-3500 to get a case review.