A lot of our clients are not happy to learn that they cannot sue their employer after a workplace accident. When you file suit, your injury lawyer in Clearwater is able to demand damages on your behalf. However, when you file workers comp, you are limited to medical care and weekly benefits.
There are a few rare cases where you have the option of suing and filing for workers compensation. Our Clearwater workers comp attorneys take a closer look at what you need to know.
Generally, You Cannot Sue Your Employer in the State of Florida
The general rule is that you cannot sue your employer for a workplace accident. As long as your employer wasn’t grossly negligent, you are relegated to filing a workers compensation claim.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t have the right to sue a third party. Our Clearwater workers comp attorneys have handled many cases where a third party was responsible for a client’s injuries.
Your Clearwater Workers Comp Attorney Will Explain What Your Options Are
When you first meet with your injury lawyer in Clearwater, they’ll explain what options are available to you. They understand the law and know that you probably can’t sue your employer.
If they believe you have a claim against a third party, you may be able to pursue that party for damages. In the meantime, however, you may also qualify for Florida workers comp benefits.
Your Injury Lawyer in Clearwater Can Only Sue in Special Circumstances
Any Clearwater workers comp attorney will tell you that you cannot sue your employer for damages. Unless you can show that they intentionally caused you harm, it is very difficult to win this type of case.
The way the courts see it, the workers’ compensation system is in place for situations like this. As long as your medical care is covered and you receive weekly replacement wages, why would you expect anything more?
While this may not be what you want to hear, there isn’t much your injury lawyer in Clearwater can do to change that.
It Is Rare That Your Clearwater Workers Comp Attorney Would Sue Your Employer
If you do insist on suing your employer, you will have a difficult time doing so. Your Clearwater workers comp attorney will likely advise you that this isn’t a good idea. It is not easy to prove that your employer intentionally caused you harm.
It is also hard to prove that your employer was grossly negligent. Unless your injury lawyer in Clearwater has proof that your employer intentionally chose to ignore an unsafe condition on the premises, you will have a difficult time winning your case.
You May Be Able to Sue a Third Party for Negligence
If a third party is responsible, or partly responsible for your injuries, you may be able to file suit. For example, imagine that you use heavy machinery every day at a construction site. You learn that the jackhammer you were using was not repaired properly.
If you suffer injuries, your Clearwater workers comp attorney may believe you have a claim for damages. You would need to file suit against the manufacturer and servicer of the equipment.
You will not be able to name your employer in this lawsuit unless they purposely made you and your coworkers use broken equipment.
Did You Fall and Get Hurt While at a Client’s Office?
If you happen to work off-site, there’s the chance that you could get hurt on someone else’s property. For example, you may be visiting a client and suffer an elevator accident. Perhaps your leg is crushed.
You can no longer do your job. Plus you will suffer a great deal of pain. Your injury lawyer in Clearwater may be able to file suit against the property manager, the elevator company, and their servicing agent.
Is There a Benefit to Suing as Opposed to Filing for Workers Comp Benefits?
You may wonder why your injury lawyer in Clearwater would want you to sue a third party for damages. When you get hurt at work, you’re only entitled to medical coverage and weekly benefits.
However, when you sue, you can demand the following damages:
- Medical bills and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (in special cases)
Since your Clearwater workers comp attorney works on a contingency basis, they would prefer that you receive this additional compensation. However, that cannot be the basis on which your attorney makes their decisions.
It Can Take a Lot Longer to Resolve Your Case
One of the drawbacks to filing suit is that it can take a lot longer to resolve your case. Hopefully, your injury lawyer in Clearwater will be able to negotiate a settlement. However, if that isn’t the case, you may need to go to trial.
If your case goes to trial, it can take a year or longer. By the time the judge hears your case, you may have bene out of work for a year and a half. Very few people can afford to do that.
You Won’t Be Able to Receive Duplicate Damages
One thing our Clearwater workers comp attorneys tell their clients is that you can’t double dip. If you receive weekly benefits through workers’ compensation, you can’t also sue the third party for lost wages.
The same goes for your medical care. If your employer’s insurance carrier pays for your medical care, you won’t be able to sue the third party for reimbursement. You didn’t pay for your medical care; therefore, it isn’t a loss you suffered.
Reach Out to an Experienced Clearwater Workers Comp Attorney for Answers
If you aren’t sure what your option are after getting injured at work, that’s okay. A lot of the clients who come to see our Clearwater workers comp attorneys aren’t sure what to do either. It can become very confusing when you think you have standing to sue, but are also entitled to workers comp benefits.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is to sit down with a seasoned workers compensation lawyer in Clearwater. You can sit down and show them whatever documentation you have. They can answer your questions and let you know what your options are.
Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, you have nothing to lose.