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.