I Was Hurt at Work: Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury?
If you were burned at work, then you may have a workers’ compensation claim under Florida law. Most employers in Florida are required to have worker’s compensation insurance to cover any injuries that occur on the job.
Generally, you must meet the following requirements to qualify for workers’ compensation:
- The person or entity that employs you has workers’ compensation insurance.
- You must be considered an employee of that person or entity. This does not typically include independent contractors.
- The injury or illness must be work related.
For an injury to be considered “work-related” it must have occurred while you were at work, doing your job. If it occurred while you were at work but you were not engaged in a work activity.
For example, if you were injured while doing something that you are not allowed to do, then you likely won’t qualify for workers’ compensation.
Your Options After a Florida Injury
If you are injured in Florida, you have several options for recovery. Speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you are unsure of how you want to proceed. He or she can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option based on your unique situation.
Use the workers’ compensation system to pursue a claim. This is a no-fault system where you automatically receive a pre-determined amount of compensation if you meet the workers’ compensation requirements. However, you also lose the ability to file a future personal injury claim against the employer.
Use the workers’ compensation system, but include a release that states the employee still retains their right to assert future claims against the employer for an intentional torts (if you think the employer may have caused the accident intentionally or was reckless about safety).
Sue the employer for an intentional tort and bypass the workers’ compensation system entirely.
Sue a co-employee or co-contractor in tort based on gross negligence. You can use this option if you think a fellow employee or contractor was really at fault for your injury.
Bring a third-party liability claim against any other party that you think may have contributed to the accident. This includes manufacturers and those who provide security, just to name a couple of examples.
Intentional tort exceptions to workers’ compensation are rare, but they are not unheard of. If the employer intentionally harmed you, then your claim would definitely fall under this category.
If the employer knew about a dangerous condition but did nothing about it, then that could rise to the “intentional” level. It also may apply if you, as the employee, were not aware of the risk involved.
Whether you use Florida’s workers’ compensation or a personal injury case will depend on your specific situation. Contact best personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach, FL at The Leifer Law Firm for a free case evaluation. We can get you pointed in the right direction. Call 561-660-9421 today.