Workplace accidents are all too common in Florida. In recent years more than 200,000 Florida workplace injuries are reported annually, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you were injured at work, you may have the opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries. The Fort Lauderdale workplace accident attorneys of Cecere Santana can help.
Not All Workplace Injuries Are Subject to the Exclusive Remedy Provision of Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law
You may have heard that if you were injured at work, your only chance for recovery is filing a workers’ compensation claim. The fact is that if your accident was caused by a third party — a company or person who is neither your employer nor a colleague — you can pursue a court claim. This is because in most cases a section of Florida’s workers’ compensation law called the exclusive remedy provision bars suits against an injured worker’s employer; however, it does not bar claims against negligent third-party defendants. Therefore, if someone other than your employer is responsible for your injuries, you can file suit.
To prove a Florida negligence claim, an injured worker must establish three essential elements by a preponderance of the evidence.
First is that the defendant owed the worker a duty. In Florida, nearly everyone must behave reasonably given the circumstances. This is called the duty of reasonable care, and nearly everyone around you, even at work, owes you this duty.
If someone acted in an unreasonable manner that put you in danger, that person likely breached the duty of reasonable care, which is the second element of a Florida negligence lawsuit. Using equipment in an unreasonably dangerous manner, showing up drunk to work, or other dangerous behavior are all ways in which a person could breach her legally prescribed duty.
The final element is causation. This consists of two sub-elements: factual cause and legal cause. The factual cause requirement ensures that the defendant is at least one of the literal causes of the plaintiff’s injuries. Legal cause ensures that defendants whose actions are only tangentially related are not held liable.
A negligence case is not the only form of possible relief. If a defective product was responsible for your injuries, you may also have a viable product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product.
In extremely rare cases, an injured worker’s employer may not be protected from suit by the exclusive remedy clause. Essentially, the employer either must have intended to harm the employee or put the employee in a situation that was virtually certain to result in injury unbeknownst to the employee. There may also be some technical exceptions to the bar against employer lawsuits.
We Can Help You Pursue Compensation for Your Work Injury
If you were injured at work by a negligent third party, you may not be limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim. A Fort Lauderdale injury attorney is capable of explaining your rights when it comes to workplace injuries. Cecere Santana, PA has significant experience helping injured workers of Hollywood, Miami, and Davie. To see if we can help you, call 800-753-5529 or email our office.