Your personal injury attorney talks about filing two lawsuits for the same incident


Do you know that several lawsuits can be brought for the same incident?

Let’s use an example: Jason is at work using an extension ladder. While on the ladder, he falls and suffers a serious injury.

What can Jason do?

He can file two lawsuits.

First, as his accident happened while he was on the job, he can file a Workers’ Compensation claim as his employer must carry the required Florida Workers’ Compensation insurance. He can file this claim since Workers’ Comp does not consider guilt. If it happens at work, this claim can be filed.

While the Workers’ Compensation claim does address the issues of loss of wages and medical bills, it does have some very important limitations you need to be aware of: pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life are not covered by Workers’ Compensation. There are other limitations, but these are the main ones you need to know.

Second, he can bring a negligence claim against the manufacturer of the ladder. This can be a product liability claim for negligence in which he would have to prove, for example, that the ladder was designed defectively, that the mechanism of the ladder would not permit it to remain extended or that its defective design made it collapse under his weight. In this case, the claim does allow for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

These two lawsuits can be filed at different points in time.

Now, if Jason collects money from both claims, can he keep all of it?

Let’s say Jason collects $100,000 from the manufacturer of the defective ladder and $30,000 from Workers’ Comp (to cover his lost wages and medical bills). Are the $130,000 his to keep?

The answer to this question is no. And here is why: If money is collected both from the Workers’ Compensation claim and from the product liability claim, the Workers’ Compensation insurance company that paid Jason’s claim would have what’s called a Workers’ Compensation lien. This means they have a right to get paid back part of the money they gave Jason.

Are they entitled to the full amount? The answer again is no, and there is a formula that is used to calculate how much of the money would go to them. This happens because the law makes Workers’ compensation share in the cost of the recovery. However, they would only get reimbursed part of the money Jason received from the personal injury claim. And this amount is only a portion of what they gave him for lost wages and medical bills. Workers’ Compensation would never have the right to say, “Give me back money that I paid you from pain and suffering” because, as we have said, Workers’ Compensation does not pay pain and suffering, it only pays medical and lost wages.

As your Personal Injury Attorney, I will make sure you get the full amount that you are entitled to, always keeping in mind that you may have to reimburse Workers’ Comp for any additional monies that you receive. If you have questions about injuries you sustained while on the job, give me a call.



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