If you are injured at work, it helps to understand the key differences between a workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim in Florida. Most injured workers are limited to benefits through the workers’ compensation system. However, some injured workers might have a third-party personal injury claim that could result in additional compensation.

Proving Fault in a Personal Injury Case

Florida’s workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system. Injured workers are not required to prove negligence or wrongdoing to receive workers’ comp benefits.

However, if you were injured in an accident or other incident, you must prove the elements of a negligence, strict liability, or intentional tort case to recover compensation for your damages. You must have sufficient evidence to prove:

  • You were owed a legal duty of care by the party who caused your injury
  • A breach of duty occurred because of the party’s conduct
  • The breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your injuries
  • You incurred damages as a result of the breach of duty

If you cannot prove each element by a preponderance of the evidence, you do not receive compensation for your damages. An injured worker filing a workers’ comp claim does not need to worry about this hurdle.

Comparative Fault Does Not Apply in Florida Workers’ Compensation Claims 

If you are partially at fault for the cause of your injuries in a personal injury claim, your compensation for damages could be reduced. Florida’s comparative fault laws reduce the money you receive for damages by your percentage of fault. Therefore, if you are 40% to blame for causing a car crash, you would only be able to receive 60% of the compensation you should receive for damages.

As of March 24, 2023, Florida added a 51% bar to its contributory fault law. If you are more than 50% to blame for your injuries,  you cannot receive any money for your personal injury claim. 

Florida’s comparative fault laws do not apply in workers’ comp cases. An injured worker can be at fault for causing their injuries and still receive full workers’ comp benefits. Exceptions would be if the worker intentionally caused their injury or they were drunk or using drugs when they were injured.

Compensation for Lost Wages After an Accident or Injury

When you file a personal injury claim, you include all financial losses. These losses are called economic damages. Unless you are partially at fault for your injuries, you can demand compensation in full for all lost wages, medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and other economic damages.

However, workers’ compensation does not provide for compensation for all lost wages. Instead, injured workers receive 66 2/3% of their average weekly wages for loss of income if they cannot work after a work-related injury. The benefits are called total temporary disability benefits

You do not receive TTD benefits in a workers’ comp case for the first seven days you are out of work unless you cannot work for 21 days or longer because of your work injury. Additionally, TTD benefits are capped at 104 weeks.

You could receive up to 80% of your regular wages for six months after a work accident if you sustained certain severe injuries. 

Compensation of Non-Economic Damages After an Injury

Personal injury laws in Florida allow injured parties to receive non-economic damages. These damages represent the suffering and pain the person experienced because of another party’s wrongdoing or negligence.

Examples of non-economic damages in an Orlando personal injury claim include:

  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Impairments and disabilities

The value of non-economic damages generally increases with the injury’s severity and impact on the victim’s life. Injured workers are generally not compensated for their pain and suffering damages through workers’ comp except under limited circumstances.

When Can an Injured Worker Receive Compensation for All of Their Damages in Florida?

Injured workers generally cannot sue their employers for damages. However, if a third party caused their injuries, they could file a third-party claim, which is a type of personal injury claim. 

Examples of situations that could give rise to a third-party claim for a workplace accident include:

  • Suing a manufacturer for being injured by a defective product
  • A claim against a homeowner for a dog bite while the worker was performing work on the property
  • Filing a car accident claim against a motorist who caused an accident while you were on the job
  • Claims against property owners for injuries sustained while performing job duties on their property 

The best way to know the available legal options is to speak with an Orlando personal injury lawyer during a free consultation. An attorney explains your legal options and advises you on the best ways to recover compensation for injuries incurred at work or off the job. 

Contact Our Orlando Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Orlando, Florida, and need legal help, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at Payer Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Orange County and its surrounding areas:

Payer Law Personal Injury Lawyers
6735 Conroy Rd STE 332,
Orlando, FL 32835
Phone: (407) 648-1510