You might assume that some occupations are more dangerous than others, but the risk affects all Florida employees when you realize the number one cause of work-related fatalities in America. Motor vehicle accidents. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 17,000 employees were killed in on-the-job traffic crashes from 2011 to 2020. The 1,038 workers who died in 2020 represent 22% of all workplace deaths. Plus, many others are injured in vehicle accidents while working, leading to significant losses for entire families.
Work-related injuries are typically covered by Florida workers’ comp laws, which are the exclusive remedy for employees hurt on the job. However, the nature of traffic collisions means that you might pursue additional options. There are advantages if you qualify, and a Miami workplace injury attorney can explain them in detail. A few facts are also useful as an overview.
Workers’ Comp May NOT Be Your Only Remedy
The default rule for workplace accidents is that filing for workers’ compensation benefits is the sole option for employees who are injured on the job. There are narrow exceptions, but one of them could apply to a work-related traffic collision. When a third party causes the accident, you can seek monetary damages from that person or entity.
The process starts by filing a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurer, just as you would if you were not working while involved in the collision.
You DO Need to Prove Fault
With a workers’ comp claim, you do not need to show that your employer was at fault to obtain benefits. When your injuries are the result of a third party, as in the case of a transportation accident, you DO. The theory of liability that applies to these claims is termed negligence. To recover compensation, you must prove that the crash happened because the at-fault motorist failed to drive safely. Examples include:
- Drunk or drugged driving;
- Running red lights and stop signs; and,
- Failure to yield right of way.
Noneconomic damages are Available
The primary benefit of pursuing a civil lawsuit instead of a workers’ comp claim is that you can obtain a wider range of damages. Workers’ comp benefits pay medical costs, lost wages, and disability, but they do not cover noneconomic losses. With a traffic accident case, you can seek such amounts as:
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional anguish; and,
- Other losses that affect your quality of life.
Economic damages are also recoverable in a civil lawsuit, including costs of medical treatment, lost income, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Speak to a Miami Workplace Injury Lawyer About Legal Options
This summary on work-related transportation accidents is informative, but you will need skilled legal help to pursue your remedies. Our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA, can assist, so please call (305) 371-6000 or visit us online to set up a no-cost case analysis. A Florida workplace injury attorney can meet with you at our Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach offices.