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Is My Co-Worker Liable for My Injury?

When someone is injured while on the job, he or she will often file a claim for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is an avenue for an injured worker to receive compensation for an injury that occurred while at work. The legal premise is that if an employee is injured at work, it is the employer’s responsibility, and compensation should be given to the injured employee. In many instances, filing a claim for workers’ compensation terminates the employee’s right to seek additional compensation through a separate personal injury suit.

What does workers’ compensation cover?

Workers’ compensation claims often only provide compensation for lost wages and medical expenses that result from the injury. Pain and suffering that result from the accident are not factored into workers’ compensation. Florida law states if an injury is caused by the negligence of an employer, the employee’s remedy for compensation is through filing a workers’ compensation claim. The statute elaborates further by stating the workers’ compensation claim is often the “sole remedy” available to the injured employee. This sole remedy has been extended to cover co-workers of the injured individual in workers’ compensation claims.

You might not be able to sue your employer outside of a workers’ compensation claim, but what if your injury was not entirely caused by you employer’s negligence? What if, instead, your co-worker is responsible for the injury? Are there different legal options available to you under Florida law? The answer is that it depends on the situation.

If a co-worker acts with gross negligence

While a co-worker’s actions may be included under the employer’s negligence in causing the injury, there are situations in which a co-worker’s actions will not be covered through the sole remedy of a workers’ compensation claim. If a co-worker acts with gross negligence, the employee may be able to seek compensation from the co-worker, outside of the workers’ compensation claim, through a personal injury suit. Gross negligence “means that the defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.”

Determining which type of claim to bring after an injury at work can be difficult. There are benefits to both workers’ compensation claims and pursuing a separate personal injury suit. Each individual’s situation is different and needs to be examined independent of what others might have done in the past. Do not let an employer bully you into choosing one remedy over another, weigh your options before making a decision.

The personal injury attorneys at Dennis Hernandez & Associates are here for you after a workplace injury. It is important to act in a timely manner following an injury at work, so do not delay in contacting us for help. We can help you determine what legal options are available to you and which might work best for your particular situation. We want you to fully recover from a workplace injury, let up help you receive the compensation that can help you recover. Contact us today for a consultation.

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