Why Worker's Compensation Is Not Like Personal Injury
All the time I am asked, "why can't I sue my job?" I know it seems obvious to people that if your job through its own carelessness allows you to get injured, you should be able to sue them. The answer is almost always; you can't. Here's why:
Florida's worker's compensation system is a body of law that protects the injured worker irrespective of whose fault the accident is. The advantage of this is, if you are clumsy and trip over your own two feet while on the job, you are still covered for your injuries. The flip side is, in most cases, if your job was "negligent" in let's say, leaving a floor wet for you to slip on, you cannot, in turn, sue them for negligence. Your only remedy is to go through worker's compensation system.
Chapter 440, the body of statutes that make up Florida worker's compensation law was enacted to replace the injured worker's right to sue for negligence in circuit court. While you are giving up the ability to collect for damages such as pain and suffering in a work comp case, you don't have the nasty burden of proving whose fault the accident was, like you would have to otherwise do in a regular negligence case.
There are a few rare exceptions when you can sue your job for negligence. The main one is if your job knew of a dangerous condition where they knew you were going to get hurt and didn't bother to tell you about it and you had no idea about the condition, then, you might be able to sue them in tort.
The other situation where you can sue your job for negligence is when they don't carry worker's compensation insurance and they were supposed to. In that situation, the job loses their immunity from a negligence lawsuit.
However, these instances are few and far between. For the most part, you are going to be relegated to going under the worker's comp system and getting the benefits that the law entitles you to.
If you have been injured on the job and are not sure what rights you have, feel free to give me a call. I have offices in North Miami Beach, Coral Springs, Naples and Ft. Myers. I would be more than happy to meet with you personally and discuss the merits of your case.