It depends. Under Florida law, employees are granted workers’ compensation in exchange for the right to sue employers after a work injury.
If an employee is covered by workers’ compensation, he cannot bring an injury lawsuit against his employer, supervisor, or coworkers.
However, if a third party is responsible for causing the work accident, an employee can sue the negligent party in addition to filing a workers' compensation claim.
Possible Third Parties in Work Injury Claims
A “third party” in a work injury case is a person or company not related to the employer. Third parties aren't covered by workers’ compensation laws, and can be sued for negligence if their actions contributed to your injury.
Potential third parties in a Florida injury case include:
- Contractors. Many employers outsource portions of their business operations to other companies. Any entities such as loading companies, building contractors, inspectors, or cleaning services may be liable for negligence.
- Product manufacturers. If an injury was caused by poor design or manufacturing defects that caused a product to fail, the maker of the product can be held liable.
- At-fault drivers. If you were in a car accident on the job, the driver who struck you can be sued in a personal injury claim.
- Property owners. If you were injured while visiting a residence or business as part of your job, owners of these premises can be sued for negligence.
It's important to note that if your third party injury claim is successful, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier may attempt to get some or all of its money back. The insurer can file a subrogation interest in your claim, essentially asking that the at-fault party pay for the total cost of injuries in your case.
Although you may have to repay these benefits, it's still worth filing a workers’ compensation claim first, because these benefits are paid to employees immediately after an injury. Suing for damages can take a year or more.
If you're recovering from an injury on the job, our Florida workers’ compensation attorneys can help you understand your legal options and negotiate the maximum amount you deserve for your suffering. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a free consultation.