Most people understand what a personal injury lawyer does. They represent people who are hurt in an accident. What personal injury lawyers do is sue the person responsible for your accident. They file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue damages on your behalf. And, as long as they can prove negligence, you’ll have a good chance of recovering damages. What workers comp lawyers in Florida do is slightly different, however.
A worker’s compensation claim is limited to people who were injured at work. It doesn’t require you to prove negligence. In fact, even if you can prove your employer was negligent, you won’t receive special damages. Your recovery is limited to medical coverage and weekly replacement wages.
In both cases, having an attorney there to help you through the process can help. There’s a lot at stake. If you make a simple mistake, it can jeopardize your entire claim. That’s why we recommend you call one of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. They can review your claim and let you know if you have a legitimate case for benefits.
Here, we’ll discuss the main differences between a personal injury lawsuit and a worker’s comp claim. We’ll also explain how it can help to have an experienced lawyer by your side. If you still have questions, you can always call our office and schedule your free, initial consultation.
With Workers Comp, You Receive Benefits – Not Damages
One of the biggest differences between a personal injury lawsuit and a worker’s comp claim is the outcome. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, your goal is to receive damages from the defendant. This includes things like property damage and pain and suffering.
When you sue under workers’ compensation, you’re not entitled to any of these things. You are only entitled to the benefits that workers comp covers. This includes medical care as well as replacement wages.
Some of our clients are upset that they can’t demand pain and suffering from their employer. The truth is that workers’ compensation was designed to prevent this sort of thing from happening.
Why Did Florida Implement a Workers Compensation System?
Back in 1935, Florida implemented a workers’ compensation system. Prior to that, there was no recourse for workers who got hurt on the job.
Of course, they could file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. However, when they did that, their employer would simply fire them. Since most employees didn’t have the money to hire an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Florida, they were at a serious disadvantage.
Once the workers’ comp system was put into place, workers finally received some semblance of protection. If a person got hurt at work, they would be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If they met certain requirements, they would receive medical care and replacement wages. These benefits would last for as long as it took the employee to recover. Once they were fully healed, they would return to work.
The system was designed to protect employers as well. It is true that workers would receive benefits under the program. However, employers were also protected from being sued for every injury on their premises.
If companies had to pay to defend a personal injury lawsuit every time a worker got injured, they would go bankrupt in no time. Under workers comp, the only out-of-pocket expenses employers faced were their insurance premiums. This is a lot cheaper than paying out on multiple lawsuits every year.
You Can Still File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Certain Circumstances
For the most part, injured workers are limited to workers comp benefits. However, there are times when an employee can file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. These cases are few and far between. To file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, your attorney will have to overcome a high burden of proof.
Your attorney is going to have to prove that your employer acted in one of the following ways:
If you can show that your employer knew about a dangerous condition and intentionally chose not to fix it, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. It is reckless to force your employees to work in dangerous conditions.
Another way you can prove standing to file a personal injury lawsuit is if your employer was grossly negligent. This is very similar to a case of recklessness. If you can show that your employer acted in a way that no other employer would have behaved, you may have standing to sue.
These cases are very rare. However, if your attorney can demonstrate that your employer was engaged in criminal behavior, they may be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit.
It can be very difficult to convince a court that your employer behaved in any of these fashions. Companies are often given the benefit of the doubt. Since the court knows you could’ve filed for workers’ compensation benefits, they may be reluctant to accept your personal injury lawsuit and claim for damages.
Contact a Seasoned Workers Compensation Lawyer in Florida as Soon as Possible
If you’ve been hurt at work, you do have options. While you can’t file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, you can pursue them for benefits. The workers’ compensation system in Florida was designed to help workers like you. You deserve to have your medical care covered. You also deserve weekly replacement benefits. If you were injured on the job, our workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida can help.
The first thing you need to do is call and schedule your free consultation. This gives you a chance to meet with a personal injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and decide how you want to proceed. It also gives our associates a chance to review your claim and determine if they want to represent you. Rather than wait until your claim has been denied, you should call us right away. We can ensure that your claim is filed correctly. We’ll also work with the insurance company to get your benefits approved.
Since your initial consultation is free, you don’t have anything to lose.