One of the most frustrating things about workers’ compensation is that you’re only entitled to medical care and replacement wages. When you sue someone for personal injury, you’re allowed to demand all kinds of damages, including pain and suffering.
In fact, if the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit can prove the defendant acted recklessly, they may be able to receive punitive damages. These things are not available through workers’ compensation. A Coral Springs workers comp lawyer understands how unfair this may seem. However, the law is designed to protect employers in these situations.
The workers’ compensation system in Florida is like those in other states. Employees who get hurt on the job must file a claim for workers’ compensation. They don’t have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Of course, there are a handful of exceptions to this rule. A lot of our clients think this is patently unfair. After all, if you got hurt at work, shouldn’t your employer be liable for your damages? Why should they be exempt from liability? There are good reasons for this.
Here, we’ll discuss why you’re relegated to filing a worker’s comp claim in Coral Springs. We’ll also explain why you can’t collect pain and suffering through workers comp. If you still have questions after reading this article, just give us a call. We can schedule your free, initial consultation with one of our Coral Springs personal injury lawyers.
Why Is Workers Compensation So Different from Personal Injury?
Millions of people get hurt on the job every year. In fact, there are more than 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses every year in this country. If all of these people were able to sue their employers, hundreds of businesses would close their doors. There is no way a small or medium-sized business could afford to defend half a dozen lawsuits per year let alone hundreds. This is why the law has designed the workers’ compensation system. It allows people to receive benefits if they’re injured at work.
The thing about workers comp is that you can’t collect regular damages. All you’re entitled to are medical care and replacement wages. This may seem unfair. Especially for people who suffer serious work-related injuries. However, this is the only way workers can have some form of recompense without it destroying the economy.
What Damages Can You Collect Under Personal Injury?
Normally, if you get hurt in any sort of accident, you can sue the responsible party under personal injury. When your Coral Springs personal injury lawyer files a lawsuit against the defendant in your case, they are able to demand different types of damages. These include the following:
- Medical Bills
- Future Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Lost Future Income
- Property Damage
- Pain and Suffering
- Punitive Damages (in some cases)
In many of these cases, pain and suffering make up the lion’s share of a plaintiff’s damages. To put this into perspective, most attorneys will demand pain and suffering equal to three times their medical bills. So, if your medical bills were $100,000, your lawyer would demand approximately $300,000.
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you aren’t entitled to these things. All you can collect are the two types of benefits mentioned above. The problem with this is that it doesn’t allow you to recover damages for pain and suffering.
Do You Ever Have the Option to Sue Your Employer for Pain and Suffering?
There are a few scenarios in which you can sue your employer directly for a workplace injury. For example, if your employer was negligent and that is why you got hurt, you may be able to sue them for pain and suffering damages. The same is true if you’re injured because of faulty or defective equipment. In these cases, you’d have to sue the manufacturer of the equipment or the company that services and maintains it.
The good thing about hiring a Coral Springs workers’ compensation lawyer is that they’ll fight to get you as much money as possible. If you’re eligible to file a personal injury suit against your employer, they’ll do that. If you file a worker’s comp claim and it’s denied, they can always sue your employer and their insurance company through workers comp.
If you end up doing this, you can demand compensation for any long-term or temporary disabilities. For example, if you hurt your back and can never work again, your Coral Springs personal injury lawyer will demand that you receive either a lump sum or weekly benefits for your permanent injuries.
Keep in mind – when you sue under workers’ compensation in Florida, you still are limited to medical care and replacement wages. You’re not allowed to demand pain and suffering.
All you can collect is compensation for the body part that is no longer functioning. Each body part has a different value assigned to it. If you hurt your back, it’s worth a certain amount of money per week. If you hurt your wrist, it will be a lower amount. Your Coral Springs workers compensation lawyer can explain exactly how this system works during your free, initial consultation.
Contact One of Our Seasoned Coral Springs Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
If you’ve been injured at work, you do have options. While you can’t sue your employer like you would any other personal injury case, you can seek benefits through workers comp. This may not be the news you want to hear, but you have to make the most of your situation.
We recommend that you make an appointment to meet with one of our Coral Springs personal injury lawyers. Let them know what’s going on and get their expert opinion about how you should proceed. They’ll explain how the workers’ compensation system works. They’ll also look to see if you do meet one of the rare exceptions where you can pursue your employer under personal injury for pain and suffering.
After a workplace injury, most victims are afraid and frustrated. They have no idea how they’ll pay their bills. They’re worried that they won’t be able to do the same kind of work they did before. We understand. That’s why we don’t charge our clients anything upfront. Call our office and take the time to sit down with someone who knows the law and has your best interests at heart.