When you are injured at work, you can file a Workers’ Compensation claim to take advantage of certain benefits offered by the policy, such as compensation for your medical bills and in some cases, vocational rehabilitation
Often, filing a Workers’ Compensation claim waives your right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. In some cases, though, this is not the case. When your workplace injury was caused by negligence, whether negligence on the part of your employer or another party, you may file a personal injury claim in addition to a Workers’ Compensation claim. Through your personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for the damages Workers’ Compensation does not cover, like your pain and suffering expenses.
The Differences Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you are injured at work and hope to recover Workers’ Compensation benefits, you have to report your accident to your supervisor and file your claim within a specific, often short, time frame. In Florida, an injured worker must report his or her accident to a supervisor within 30 days of the accident or a doctor determining that his or her injury was caused by a workplace accident.
A few key differences between personal injury claims and Workers’ Compensation claims are:
Only employees are entitled to file Workers’ Compensation claims. When an independent contractor is injured at work, his or her only option is to file a personal injury claim or a claim with his or her own occupational accident insurance;
With a Workers’ Compensation claim, there is no need to prove that the employer was at fault; and
In Florida, the statute of limitations for a Workers’ Compensation claim is two years from the date of the accident. Personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of four years.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim Against your Employer
When you suffer an injury because of your employer’s intentional malice toward you, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your injury-related damages. Negligence in the workplace, like failure to comply with safety regulations for your industry and hazards like broken handrails and insufficient lighting in the office, does not warrant a personal injury claim. Acts of intentional harm, like physical violence from your employer, are grounds for personal injury claims.
If your employer does not have Workers’ Compensation insurance, you can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your damages related to your employer’s negligence.
Third Party Claims
If your workplace injury was caused by negligence on the part of a party other than your employer, you can file a third party personal injury claim. Examples of these circumstances include:
Being injured by a defective product you used at work;
Injuries from third parties’ negligence, like vendors, customers, or simply individuals passing by or through your workplace; and
Illness from exposure to a toxic substance. In this case, the substance’s manufacturer may be liable for your damages.
Work with Draper Law Office to Pursue your Personal Injury Claim
If you were injured at work because of another party’s negligence, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your damages. Whether you can also file a Workers’ Compensation claim depends on the circumstances surrounding your accident. To determine exactly what you may file and what you are entitled to recover, contact Draper Law Office online or by calling (866) 767-4711 to set up your initial consultation in our office.