What Does “Exclusiveness Of Liability” Mean?
If you were recently injured at work in Fort Lauderdale, or if your spouse or child was injured or killed on the job in South Florida, you might have started researching Florida workers’ compensation law in order to seek benefits. One of the terms you may have come across is “exclusiveness of liability,” which is defined in the Florida Statutes. What does “exclusiveness of liability” mean, and how is it likely to affect your workers’ compensation case? Our South Florida workers’ compensation lawyers can explain, and we want to emphasize that the “exclusiveness of liability” does not limit your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits in any way.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation and Exclusive Liability
Under Florida workers’ compensation law, the statute says that the “liability of an employer . . . shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability, including vicarious liability, of such employer to any third-party tortfeasor and to the employee, the legal representative thereof, husband or wife, parents, dependents, next of kin, and anyone otherwise entitled to recover damages from such employer at law or in admiralty on account of such injury or death . . .”
What does this mean? In short, workers’ compensation is the exclusive way in which an employer provides damages or is liable for a workplace injury. Employees cannot file negligence claims against employers or hold employers vicariously liable for the actions of other employees. Instead, the liability of the employer is limited to workers’ compensation.
When Workers’ Compensation is Not an Exclusive Remedy for a Jobsite Injury
However, the statute expressly identifies two key situations in which there is an exception to the rule of “exclusiveness of liability.” Under Florida law, an employer may be liable for damages from a workplace injury outside workers’ compensation, and through a lawsuit, for example, if one of the following is true:
- Employer failed to obtain workers’ compensation coverage when the employer was required to do so; or
- Employer committed an intentional tort that resulted in the injury or death of the employee, and the employer either intended to injure the employee or engaged in behavior that the employer knew was dangerous and likely to cause the employee’s injury or death.
You should know that these exceptions solely apply to the employer. If a third party caused your workplace injury, such as the manufacturer of a defective tool or the driver of an automobile, you may be able to file a third-party lawsuit against one of those parties.
Seek Advice from a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
Do you have questions about seeking workers’ compensation benefits in South Florida, or do you need more information about how the exclusiveness of liability provision under Florida workers’ compensation law will affect your ability to file a third-party claim? One of our experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation attorneys can speak with you today and provide you with more information. Our goal is to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve after a workplace injury. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. for more information.