Are Third Party Claims Possible?

Find out with St. Petersburg Workers' Compensation Lawyers

In the context of a workplace related injury, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed whenever workers' compensation laws don't prohibit the personal injury claim. As mentioned above, this typically involves situations where the worker is injured as the result of the negligence of a "third party," a person or entity which is neither the hurt worker’s employer nor their co-employee. Workers' compensation laws do not block a lawsuit for injuries intentionally caused by an employer or a co-worker, but those cases are rare.

In many cases, worker’s compensation laws are the exclusive remedy for a workplace related injury. What does this mean? Essentially, the worker’s comp laws in Florida wholly govern injuries that occur on the job, as required by the state of Florida. What if the employer does not have worker’s compensation coverage? An employer who chooses not to obtain required coverage, or opts out of the workers' compensation system, will not be protected by the "exclusive remedy" concept of the law in Florida. In a such situations, personal injury actions outside of a worker’s compensation context may be possible.

Still, even if governed by the Florida worker’s comp laws and an injured worker wants to know if they still may have a personal injury claim, it can be hard to determine if an injury was caused by a "third party", as the state of Florida can have rather complicated rules of what constitutes "employment" under Florida’s worker's comp laws. Further, Florida law permits workers to be considered "co-employees" of multiple employers, thereby possibly limiting by the "exclusive remedy" provision for bringing workers' compensation claims against any of their multiple employers. Such is the case in Florida.

It is almost always beneficial to work with an attorney, when trying to figure out whether or not the Florida worker’s compensation laws are the "exclusive remedy" for workplace injuries which may have been fully or partially caused by a third party.