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Workers injured on the job in Florida will typically be covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation, however, offers an incomplete remedy for your injuries.  You may face limits on the medical treatment authorized, your lost earnings will be limited in amount and duration, and there are no provisions to recovery pain, suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life.

This blog post will discuss how a “third-party” lawsuit can help you recover the full and fair amount of damages you are owed if your workplace accident was caused by another party’s negligence.

3rd Party Claims

When your employer has workers’ compensation insurance in place, Florida law prohibits you from filing a lawsuit against them for negligence or for the traditional damages available under common law.  The workers’ compensation carrier will provide for your medical treatment costs, put often will try and limit the medical treatment itself.  Your lost claim wage benefits are capped (typically near 66 percent of your earned wage rate). And other intangible damages, very real to you, such as your pain, suffering, anxiety and lost way of life, cannot be recovered at all.

To ensure more complete recovery for your damages and loss, you need an experienced attorney to fully explore whether parties, other than your employer, may be responsible for causing the accident.  The law allows you to sue those outside of the employer who are at fault for causing the accident, and you can claim your full damages for recovery.  For example, if you were injured by an explosion because a welding contractor left the acetylene tank near an open flame, you may have a claim against the welder and the welder’s contracting agency. You may have been injured because of a delivery driver or other vender doing work nearby.  Depending upon the circumstances, you may have injuries caused by defectively designed, maintained or repaired equipment which caused your injuries.

These are called “third-party” lawsuits because you are suing a party other than your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance provider.

Third-party lawsuits are a beneficial means of obtaining more full, fair and complete financial compensation for the medical costs in the past and future, for full lost earnings and lost wage potential, and for the pain, suffering and lost enjoyment of life.  After you file your workers’ compensation claim, make sure you speak with your attorney about the circumstances of your accident to fully explore 3rd party claims available.

At Smith Feddeler & Smith, we can make sure you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to, as well as represent you in your third-party personal injury claim.