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America has some of the most safety aware workplaces in the world. From the many laws passed at the state and federal level to the OSHA regulations that govern nearly every aspect of every job performed in our country, great strides have been made to keep us safe while we try to provide for our families.

Unfortunately, as great as these efforts have been, there is no way that 100% safety can be achieved, 100% of the time. Accidents still happen and people do get hurt on the job.

It is a commonly held belief that when it comes to on the job injuries, you have very little recourse and in some cases this is true. In many cases it is not though, while every company must carry Workman Comp. Insurance and what it will and won’t pay is clearly defined, there is a possibility that you could have a claim that would also fall outside the classic WCI system. They would fall instead under what is termed a “third party claim”. There are major differences in the two.

Workers’ Compensation

Under workers’ compensation in the State of Florida, you are going to have your medical bills covered and receive 2/3 of your pay. You are not going to receive your fringe benefits while you are out. You are not going to build seniority. You are not going to be able to pick your treating physician or receive any damages for your pain and suffering.

With a workers’ compensation claim, there are two goals. One: get you back into workable condition again and two: get you off the insurance payroll and back on the company’s as quickly and cheaply as possible. Really, they are one in the same goal: save the insurance company money.

Third Party Claims

A “third party claim” becomes a possibility when someone who is not directly associated with your employer bears full or partial responsibility for your injury or possibly when a piece of equipment such as a crane or meat slicer could be found to have been improperly designed, installed, maintained, or is malfunctioning.

When a third party claim comes into play there will be two cases that, while related, are completely independent of each other. You will have the workers’ compensation case and then a personal injury lawsuit filed against the third party and/or their company.

The biggest difference in the two is that under a third party claim you have all of the rights of recovery that you have under any personal injury case: not 2/3 pay but full pay, recovery of lost benefits, loss of quality of life, pain, suffering and mental anguish, and the choice of your own doctors to treat you. In short, the entire gambit of damages that you are entitled to under the liability laws of the State of Florida.

If you or someone close to you has suffered an injury on the job, it is very important that an experienced personal injury attorney be contacted as soon as possible. It is imperative that they become involved as early as possible so that you have someone on your side to protect your rights, look out for your legal interest and assure that you receive just and fair compensation for your injuries and the changes they could cause in your life.