In a case that is being closely watched across the country, the Florida Supreme Court rejected the opportunity to issue a decision. The closely-watched case challenged the constitutionality of Florida’s workers’ compensation scheme. More and more states are seeing their workers’ compensation laws challenged because of perceived inequalities in how an injured worker is compensated versus a typical injury.
The case originated in Florida’s Third Judicial District where it was set aside because of a procedural rule. In 2014 a Miami-Dade judge overturned Florida’s workers-compensation law as unconstitutional for several reasons. The primary reason the trial court ruled that the law is unconstitutional is for the ban which prevents injured workers from suing their employers. But the Third District overturned that ruling, and now the Florida Supreme Court has declined to issue an opinion.
Workers-Compensation Insurance and Conflict
Within the law of personal injury and negligence there is a conflict when it comes to the employer-employee relationship. In a typical negligence action that causes an injury to another - whether it be a car accident, medical accident, or some other sort of negligence - then the negligent party and his or her agents are responsible to pay for the damages caused. But if an employer is negligent towards his or her employees, it is not that simple.
Every state in the union has some sort of workers’ compensation scheme, and Florida is no different. In these schemes employers are required to pay insurance premiums for so that if their employees are injured on the job they can get paid for time off and bills that accrue because of the injury. Because employers have the responsibility to pay the premiums, and see premium increases when injuries occur, plus pay deductibles, in most cases the employer is granted an exemption from a lawsuit by the injured employee.
To many groups these workers’ compensation schemes are unfair in many different ways. For example, when a typical personal injury case goes to trial and is awarded a verdict, the victim is generally given compensation for the pain and suffering he or she endured by the negligent party. But in a workers’ compensation claim the injured party is only given the economic losses he or she suffered, and there is no consideration given to loss of enjoyment of life or other factors.
Panama City Area Accident and Injury Attorney
While this case was rejected by the Florida Supreme Court, there are other similar cases that may be decided later in the year. For now, workers will need to follow the general workers-compensation scheme as it is currently written. But there are certain situations in which a worker could file a lawsuit if hurt on the job.
Companies and employers are not exempted from all lawsuits. For example, if an employer intentionally injures his employee, then he could be sued. Or, if a worker were injured on a faulty piece of equipment such as a ladder, then he or she could sue the company that made the ladder. If you have been injured in an accident or injury, contact us. At The Pittman Firm our practice is dedicated to recovering on behalf of the victims of negligence in the Panama City area.