If a hurt worker’s employer actually intends to harm the worker, the exclusive remedy provision of Florida’s workers' compensation laws will not govern and the hurt worker may bring a lawsuit in civil court against his or her employer. It is important to understand that this does not apply in situations where the employer acts with gross indifference, or creates an obviously hazardous working environment. Instead, it means the employer must have actual intent to cause harm to the employee (e.g., boss punches employee in the nose). Due to its narrow nature of this exception to the “exclusive remedy” provision of Florida’s worker’s compensation laws, this exception is rarely triggered.

One of the most common contexts where a hurt worker may have a personal injury claim against a third-party despite the workplace related nature of the injury is within the context of building construction cases. It is not unusual for workers from multiple contractors or subcontractors to be working at the same time on the same construction site. As such, it would not be uncommon for a construction injury to have been caused by the negligence of a some other contractor—other than your immediate boss--who remains subject to potential personal injury litigation.

Again, these situations can be complex and difficult to determine who has “immunity” from common law personal injury lawsuits in a workplace injury context. As such, it is critical to meet with an attorney that has experience in both worker’s compensation and personal injury litigation. At LeavenLaw, our litigation team has decades of experience in injury litigation, whether in state court of the Worker’s Compensation court, the OJCC. Please feel free to contact us today to discuss your workplace injury case.