In Florida, if you are injured in an accident that occurred in the course and scope of your employment, your employer is required to provide you with reasonably necessary medical treatment and lost wage benefits regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Thus, even if you caused that accident that lead to your injury, your employer is still obligated to provide the appropriate medical and lost wage benefits under Florida’s workers’ compensation law. However, in exchange for these no-fault benefits, your employer receives tort immunity. This means that more likely than not, you cannot sue your employer for your injury or damages, even if your employer is at fault.
If you suffer an injury in the course and scope of your employment and the accident is the fault of a third party, that is, someone other than your employer, your first avenue for benefits is through your employer under Florida’s workers’ compensation law. However, you can bring a claim against the at-fault party to recover for your damages as well, including pain and suffering that are not recoverable through workers’ compensation.
Pursuant to Florida’s workers’ compensation law, attorneys represent injured workers on a contingency fee basis. This means that an injured worker will not have to pay out of their own pocket for legal services associated with their workers’ compensation claim. Rather, the attorney will only earn a fee when a recovery is made on behalf of the client. This is usually accomplished in two ways; 1) if the attorney establishes that the employer wrongfully denied medical or indemnity benefits, the employer will be responsible for attorney’s fees for the benefits secured on behalf of the injured worker, or 2) if the injured worker elects to settle their workers’ compensation claim, then the attorneys’ fees will be recovered from the settlement proceeds.
If you have suffered an injury on the job which occurred in the course and scope of your employment, your employer is required to provide all reasonably necessary medical benefits that are causally related to your injury and lost wage benefits if you are unable to return to work either temporarily or permanently due to your injury regardless as to who is at fault.
If you have any questions on whether you a receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to under Florida’s workers’ compensation law, please contact Galen M. Novotny with Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon for a free consultation. Learn more about our Workers’ Compensation practice.