The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury in Florida

When you’re injured in Florida, you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses. However, various factors influence whom you should file a claim against, including where and how the accident occurred.

If you were injured as the result of someone’s negligence, you could file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the negligent party. For example, if you were injured as a result of a doctor’s carelessness, you can file a medical malpractice claim.

The process of seeking compensation is different when you’re injured at work. If you’re injured while performing work-related duties, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to recover money for your medical bills and lost wages.

Florida Workers’ Compensation Claims vs. Personal Injury Claims: Key Differences

Personal injury cases and workers’ compensation cases differ in essential ways. They include the following:

Proving Negligence

Typically, if you’re injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you must prove they caused your injuries to recover compensation. There are only a few exceptions.

For instance, Florida is a no-fault state for auto insurance and auto accidents. This means you can file a claim with your own insurance to collect compensation after a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. In other words, you don’t have to prove a negligent party caused your accident. However, if your injuries are severe enough, you can file an injury claim against the at-fault party to recoup your damages.

Workers’ compensation is also a no-fault system. If you are injured at work, you do not need to prove negligence to recover benefits. You need only prove that your accident occurred while you were performing work-related duties. In exchange, you give up your right to sue your employer.

The Types of Compensation You Can Receive

Workers’ compensation in Florida generally only covers specific financial losses resulting from your on-the-job accident. 

They include the following:

  • Reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to your injury
  • 66 ⅔ percent of your lost wages if your injuries prevent you from working temporarily
  • Up to 80 percent of your lost wages if you develop a permanent disability
  • Up to $150,000 in death benefits (funeral expenses, compensation for dependents, etc.) for survivors of a fatal injury victim

As you can see, workers’ compensation will not cover all your damages related to an accident. When you file a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover compensation for a wider range of losses. For example, in some cases, victims can recover compensation for the non-financial damages they’ve suffered after an accident, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and more.

Workers’ compensation doesn’t cover these types of losses. However, injured workers could have a personal injury claim for an on-the-job accident if a third party was responsible for their injury. This third-party might include a negligent driver, contractor, subcontractor, or another careless party.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Filing a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim does not always mean automatic compensation. Pursuing compensation requires negotiating with an insurance company. Insurers often attempt to deny claims or convince claimants to settle for less than their claims may be worth.

A Clearwater personal injury attorney can help you recover maximum compensation, regardless of how your accident occurred. A lawyer can investigate your accident, identify liable parties, and calculate your damages — all in service of maximizing your compensation award. If you have questions about your claim, contact an attorney today.