Whether you are a plumber or teacher, if you have sustained a slip-and-fall injury on the job in Brandon, Florida, workers’ compensation may be your only source of financial recovery. Since Florida is one of the states with an “exclusive remedy” clause, it is virtually impossible to sue an employer for workplace injuries. This means that workers’ compensation is the only recourse you have against your employer. If you were injured in the course and scope of your employment, you do not need to prove negligence in court — your employer will bear the cost of your treatment and cover your missed income while you recover.
To help you better understand your legal situation, this job site accident attorney in Brandon, Florida is going to discuss the main points you’ll need to know below.
Slip-and-Fall Laws in Florida
Slip-and-fall accidents are covered in the legal concept of “premises liability,” which refers to an injury caused by a hazardous or defective condition on someone else’s premises. To recover compensation for your injuries, you must prove negligence or the property owner’s failure to exercise reasonable care in keeping their premises safe. It is important to keep in mind that the existence of a potentially hazardous condition or the occurrence of an injury on the premises does not necessarily mean that the property owner was negligent. You must also prove that they were aware of, or reasonably should have been aware of, the hazards or defects on their property and still failed to take appropriate action (F.S. 768.0755 specifies the exact burden of proof for slip-and-fall injury claims in Florida).
If you are seriously injured at work and suspect a third party was at least partly liable, you may have grounds to seek additional damages beyond workers’ compensation. We recommend getting in touch with an experienced job site accident lawyer in Brandon, Florida to discuss your legal options.
Employment Waivers Can Impact Your Slip-and-Fall Injury Lawsuit in Florida
A recent slip-and-fall injury case reviewed by the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal did not end in favor of the employee. The case collapsed mainly due to something known as an “employment waiver.”
This case involved a security guard who was injured after slipping and falling on stairs at his company’s facility where he was assigned to work by his employer. He filed a premises liability lawsuit against his employer, alleging that his slip-and-fall injury was directly caused by their negligence to maintain the stairwell. The security guard might have had a strong third-party liability action had he not signed a waiver with his employer prohibiting “legal claims against any customer for injuries covered by the workers’ compensation statutes.”
The employee had to show that the employment waiver form either failed to clearly explain the rights he was relinquishing, or that it violated public policy (somehow goes against societal interests). The trial court did not agree. It ruled that the form clearly explained the rights he was relinquishing and that it conformed to public policy. The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the decision, noting that the contract complied with workers’ compensation law and covered only negligent conduct and not intentional torts (when someone hurts you on purpose).
The employee’s lawyers argued that F.S. 440.39 — which allows employees injured on the site due to third-party negligence to sue those third parties for compensation — was not specified in the contract and that one does not have to “waive” the right to sue a third party to collect workers’ compensation.
This case could be reviewed by another District Court of Appeals, and we will keep an eye on it because many employers in Florida require workers to sign these types of disclaimers.
Looking for a Job Site Accident Attorney in Brandon, Florida? Contact O’Toole Law Group.
If you are looking for a job site accident attorney in Brandon, Florida to help you navigate the murky waters of workers’ compensation, turn to the personal injury lawyers at O’Toole Law Group. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact us at (863) 533 5525 or fill out the contact form on our website.