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Workers’ Rights in Florida: When Can You Sue Your Employer for an Injury?

construction worker helping an injured construction worker

In Florida, if you’re injured at work, you’re typically covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. This system is designed to compensate you for your injuries without the need for a lawsuit. However, there are certain situations where you might still have the option to sue your employer directly. This could be the case if your employer hasn’t provided the required workers’ compensation coverage, or if your injury was a result of intentional or egregious negligence on their part. If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s important to understand your rights and consider seeking a personal injury attorney to explore your options.

Things to Consider Before Legal Proceedings

Before deciding to sue your employer, there are several important factors to consider:

  • Timely Reporting: Florida law requires that workplace injuries be reported to your employer promptly. In cases of accidents, the report should be made within 30 days, while for occupational diseases, it’s within 90 days from the first sign of illness. Failure to report within these timeframes could impact your ability to pursue legal action.
  • Medical Documentation: It’s crucial to document your injury by seeking medical attention from a qualified healthcare provider. This documentation serves as proof of your injury and its severity, which is essential for both insurance claims and potential legal proceedings. Keeping records of medical evaluations and treatment will strengthen your case and help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
  • Understanding Workers’ Compensation: In Florida, like many other states, workers’ compensation is the primary avenue for seeking monetary benefits for workplace injuries. This system operates as a form of insurance paid for by employers, providing compensation to injured workers. However, by accepting workers’ compensation benefits, you typically waive your right to sue your employer directly for damages. It’s important to weigh the benefits and limitations of the workers’ compensation system before pursuing legal action.

When to File a Personal Injury Claim Against Your Employer

In Florida, there are specific circumstances where you may be able to file a personal injury claim against your employer. One such scenario arises if your employer fails to provide workers’ compensation insurance. According to state law, most employers, including those in non-construction industries with more than four employees and all construction industry employers with at least one employee, must carry workers’ compensation coverage. If you’re injured on the job and discover that your employer lacks this required insurance, or if they fail to report your injury to the insurance company or delay the process unfairly, it constitutes a violation of state law. In such cases, seeking compensation may require you to enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit against your employer.

Another exception to consider is when your supervisor or employer intentionally causes harm to you. While proving intent in these situations can be challenging, a personal injury lawyer can assist you in navigating the complex legal process and building a case to demonstrate intentional harm.

Additionally, if your employer knowingly engages in conduct that is highly likely to result in injury or death to employees, and you were unaware of the risks because they were concealed or misrepresented by the employer, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. This could include situations where there have been previous similar accidents or explicit warnings about known dangers that the employer failed to address. In such cases, seeking legal representation can be crucial in asserting your rights and pursuing the compensation you deserve.

How to Increase Chances of Succes in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim against your employer, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of success

  • Gathering witness information and statements from individuals who witnessed the accident provides firsthand accounts that can support your case.
  • Taking photos of the accident scene can serve as visual evidence to illustrate the circumstances surrounding the incident.
  • Keeping all medical records and hospital information ensures that you have documented evidence of your injury or illness and the treatment you received.
  • Maintaining a pain journal allows you to track your physical and emotional experiences after the injury, which can demonstrate the extent of your suffering.
  • Recording the time you are away from work helps quantify the financial impact of the injury on your livelihood.
  • Seeking assistance from a personal injury attorney ensures that you have access to legal expertise and guidance throughout the process of filing a personal injury claim against your employer.

Changes on Personal Injury Claims in Miami, Florida 

Recent changes to personal injury claims in Florida, brought about by the Florida Tort Reform Act of 2023, signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in March 2023, have significant implications for personal injury cases in the state.

The new law reduces the time frame to file a lawsuit after an injury from four years to two years. This emphasizes the importance of initiating the legal process promptly after an injury to avoid losing the right to seek compensation. For example, in cases such as car accidents or workplace injuries, quick action is essential for evidence collection, obtaining medical records, and seeking legal consultation to ensure all necessary documentation is gathered before the deadline.

Under the new rules, if an injured individual is more than 50% at fault for the accident, they are unable to receive any compensation. This stricter approach to comparative fault affects cases involving shared responsibility, such as multi-vehicle accidents. Plaintiffs now face a greater burden to prove lesser fault to secure compensation.

Injured at the Workplace? Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein Can Help.

While Florida’s workers’ compensation laws typically bar lawsuits against employers, you may still have the option to sue them. To find out your options and receive guidance, contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein today. Our Miami personal injury attorneys have decades of combined experience, and we have obtained numerous favorable settlements for our clients. Book your free, no-obligation consultation today by dialing 305-371-2692.