One of the common misbeliefs of injured workers is the belief that they are not entitled to Workers Compensation benefits if they are the reason why the accident occurred. The Workers Compensation no fault system in Florida means that fault is not a factor in determining whether an injured employee is entitled to receive benefits. Unlike in a personal injury type of case, fault generally does not matter if an accident takes place at work. For example, if a person is involved in a car accident while they are doing a personal errand and they are the party at fault, they may be barred from receiving certain benefits or pursuing a lawsuit. If however, a truck driver is involved in a car accident while performing his or her job duties, it would not matter if the truck driver caused the accident because there would still be entitlement to Workers Compensation benefits. Thus, liability is taken out of the equation in Workers Compensation cases.
In Florida, Workers Compensation is a no fault system. This basically means that an employee does not have to prove that there was a negligent party that caused the injury or illness in order to receive Workers Compensation benefits. Therefore, an employer may have followed all of the proper precautions to keep the work area safe from accident or injury, but if an employee is injured, the employer still would need to provide Workers Compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault.
Generally when an employee is injured at work, Workers Compensation is the exclusive remedy. This means that the employee will not be able to sue the employer for the negligence of that employer. For example, if a cook is using a slicer that malfunctions and causes finger injuries, there would not be any remedy for the cook to sue the employer for negligence even if the reason why the slicer malfunctioned was because the employer did not properly maintain it. In a way this is beneficial to an injured employee because he or she is guaranteed medical treatment and lost wages for any time missed from work that is related to the accident, however the employee is giving up their right to sue the employer. Even though an employee may not sue their employer for an on the job injury, a lawsuit may be brought if there is a third party involved in the accident. Going back to the truck driver car accident example from above, if there was another driver that did not have any connection to the employer that caused the accident, then a personal injury lawsuit could possibly be brought against that driver.
As you can see, liability does not matter in Workers Compensation cases. This means that you may still be entitled to Workers Compensation benefits even if you were the at fault party in an accident. That is why it is important to hire a Workers Compensation attorney who handles these types of situations. If you were injured on the job or know of someone who was, have them give us a call at (844) 762-8155.