Most workers in the state of Florida who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses are covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. As a form of no-fault insurance, workers’ comp allows injured workers to recover medical benefits and wage supplementation regardless of who is at fault for their accident (even if they caused it themselves) in lieu of workers being able to sue their employer for negligence.
Although workers’ compensation is a vital safety net for workers who require medical treatment and lose out on needed income, it does not provide the full range of benefits available in personal injury lawsuits – including compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment or quality of life. As opposed to personal injury cases, workers’ comp also only covers a percentage of lost wages and medical bills, which can fall short of victims’ needs, especially if injuries are severe or permanent.
Because there are shortcomings inherent to workers’ compensation, it is important for injured workers and their families to explore all available avenues for recovering their damages. This includes the potential for claims against a third party, provided this third party (who is not their employer) caused a worker to suffer harm as a result of their negligence.
Do You Have a Third Party Claim?
If you or a loved one suffered an injury on the job caused by a negligent third party, you may have the right to bring civil legal action via a personal injury lawsuit against that party. Depending on the circumstances, third party liability can exist in a number of ways. Some common examples include:
- Auto accidents – Workers can suffer injuries during the course of performing job related duties as a result of auto accidents, including auto accidents and commercial truck accidents on a job site or public roadways. If the at-fault party who caused the accident is someone other than the employer, the injured worker can file a personal injury lawsuit against them, even though they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits because their injuries occurred on the job.
- Defective Products – Workers in a variety of industries use equipment, machinery, and products for all types of job-related duties. If a defective product causes harm, an injured worker may be able to hold the manufacturer liable for their damages.
- Contractor Negligence – Some employers may work with outside contractors or vendors who perform work on their jobsites. These can include contractors on construction sites, or even outside maintenance and facility workers who install or fix various equipment or structures on a worksite. If the negligent, careless, or wrongful acts of a contractor or outside vendor causes a worker to suffer harm, victims may be able to bring a claim against them.
- Public Utilities – Public utility providers have legal obligations to ensure the safety of utilities, including electrical and gas lines. If they fail to uphold those obligations or otherwise commit acts of negligence that cause workers to suffer preventable harm, they can be held liable for damages.
- Toxic Exposure – Workers in certain professions can suffer illnesses and disease as a result of working with dangerous substances. In some cases, manufacturers of those harmful materials can be held liable for damages victims suffer as a result of toxic exposure.
Determining whether you have grounds to pursue a third party claim arising from a workplace injury is a matter that demands the attention of skilled and resourceful personal injury lawyers. As a firm that has recovered over $1 billion in compensation for clients across Florida and the U.S., our legal team at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin has the breadth of experience needed to assess our clients’ ability to pursue third party claims, and fight effectively for the full and fair compensation they deserve.
If you would like more information about pursuing a personal injury case against a negligent third party that caused you accident and injuries, contact our firm for a FREE case evaluation.