You were injured while on the job, and now you have a lot of questions. You’ve probably received an outpouring of support from ads in the mail trying to get you to file a claim.
We’re here to educate you on worker’s compensation and what it means to file a claim. Then, you can decide if it’s in your best interest to pursue a worker’s compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Let’s get started.
Injured by a Defective Product
In this scenario, an employee is injured by a defective machine or piece of equipment. If the product failed to work properly or poses a danger, the manufacturer of the machine can be held responsible if it knew of the danger and didn’t properly educate employees. In this situation, the manufacturer of the product would have to compensate the employee for medical bills, lost pages, and pain and suffering.
Injured by a Toxic Substance
If you come into contact with chemicals or other substances that are toxic in your workplace, you must take the proper steps to ensure safety. Substances like asbestos, benzene, chromium compounds, silica, and radium are all subjects considered in a lawsuit for toxic tort. With this type of injury, there are two types: ones that appear instantly and ones that develop over time.
An example of an acute injury would be a chemical burn, whereas an example of a latent injury would be lung cancer. Compensation is all assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Injured by an Employer’s Intentional or Egregious Conduct
If an employer hurts an employee on purpose, the employee can sue the employer for damages that exceed what the employee would receive through worker’s compensation. An example of this would be a heated argument where an executive physically harmed an employee. If the employer acts with negligence or reckless behavior, the employer’s conduct is egregious and can be proven to be intentionally harmful.
If Your Employer Doesn’t Have Worker’s Compensation Insurance
If your employer is uninsured, you have the option of suing in civil court for your injuries. You will have the burden of proving that the employer was at fault in causing your injury because worker’s compensation is not on the table.
Injured by a Third Party Within Your Workplace
If this is the case, you won’t be able to sue your employer or the manufacturer of a product. However, you may be able to sue the person who injured you for damages.
The lines are often blurred between a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit. Let’s discuss the details of each, so you have a better idea of which route you need to pursue.
A worker’s compensation claim is intended to keep the employer and the employee outside of the courtroom. It was established to protect both parties from costly litigation. Worker’s compensation is an insurance policy that is administered by the state of Florida. Under Tampa Bay law, no proof of fault is needed to be eligible for the benefits paid. All that needs to be shown is that the injury occurred on the job and is connected to the work the employee was performing.
With a worker’s compensation claim, an injured employee will receive non-taxable income equivalent to ⅔ of their average wage on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. They can also receive medical care for their injury over a short period of time or a long period of time, depending on the severity of the injury. Benefits are also available to the survivors of those who were killed while on the job. In exchange for the benefits, the family gives up the right to sue the employee for personal injury.
What is a personal injury? A personal injury lawsuit is preferable to anyone who sustained an injury due to the negligence of another individual. In order to receive a monetary award of the damages, the injured person must prove that the other person was at fault or negligent enough to cause the injury. The injured must also show evidence of the amount of damages the injury caused and request payment as a retribution. These settlements usually involve medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity.
So, which scenario is best for you? It really depends on your specific case. Contact our Tampa Bay worker’s compensation attorneys to set up your free initial consultation.
The first step in the process is to document the situation. Take pictures of the equipment, product, or aftermath. If you have an injury, make sure that you document this with a picture before you get it treated as well. Next, seek medical treatment immediately. You want to make sure that your health is in order before pursuing any other steps. Finally, if you know the witnesses, gather their contact information. You may need them to testify to what happened later.
After you’ve collected your information and been treated for your work-related injury, contact a worker’s compensation lawyer to file a claim. At Denmon Pearlman, we want to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We have offices throughout the Tampa Bay Area ready to work with you. Give one of our locations a call in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, or New Port Richey to set up your free consultation.
Our expert worker’s compensation attorneys have your back. With an immense knowledge of Florida law and the experience to back it up, you can make your worker’s compensation claim so much easier by trusting us with your case.
Expect our Tampa Bay team to explain the worker’s compensation claim process and help you file. We will even discuss a denied worker’s compensation claim with your employer if necessary. We’ll help you determine if your case is better suited for worker’s compensation or personal injury. Plus, we’ll provide guidance if any third party lawsuits are necessary.
The first step is to reach out to us either by phone (800-790-5641) or by filing out the contact form to the right. If you call us a member of our team will ask you whether you need a personal injury, family law, criminal defense, or trusts and estates help. You will be directed to an assistant who will chat with you to determine how we can help. If your calling during normal business hours we can have you meeting in person, electronically, or on the phone with an attorney who specializes in your practice area the same day.