Generally, Florida's employers are immune from lawsuits brought by employees injured on the job, even if the employer's negligence caused the injury

Florida's Workers' Compensation law provides, in most instances, that workers' compensation is the "exclusive remedy" for work related injuries.  In other words, if you are injured on the job in Florida, you may bring a claim under Florida's workers' compensation laws only. Injured workers are prohibited from suing the employer for injuries suffered while on the job.  This is true even if the employer's conduct is what caused the injury, e.g., a machine is leaking oil causing a worker to fall.  This fact is often surprising to injured workers who feel that the employer was some how responsible in causing the injury.  However, there is an exception to this rule.  If an employer's negligent conduct rises to the level of "culpable", then a cause of action could be maintained for damages for injuries sustained due to the employer's negligent actions.  Proving an employer culpable is a very difficult burden and Florida's courts rarely make such a finding.

As stated above, workers' comp is generally the only remedy available if injured on a job.  As such, an injured worker is unable to make a claim for any benefits other than medical care and lost wages.  Injured workers cannot be awarded damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life or any other damages normally associated with a personal injury claim.

If the on the job injuries are caused by the negligence of a co-worker, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the individual.  The "exclusive remedy" of workers' compensation generally applies to employer's only, not employees.  The same is true if injuries are caused by another employer on the same job site, e.g., a warehouse worker unloading product from a vendor is injured due to the negligent conduct of the vendor.  In that case, the injured worker would have a workers' compensation claim against his/her employer as well as a potential personal injury claim against the negligent vendor.  These claims are often referred to as "third party" claims.

The exclusivity of Florida's workers' compensation laws are often the source of much confusion and involve a very complex area of the law.  If you or someone you know has been injured on the job or has questions regarding third party claims, please contact Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. for free consultation at 1-800-556-8890.