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Can I sue my employer if even they are covering my medical bills through workers compensation?

Naples, FL |

My job requires me to go into the community to provide therapy, in which I use their vehicle to provide that service. I was driving my company vehicle at the time of leaving a clients home. Another vehicle ran the stop sign and came serving into my lane to hit me, I attempted to avoid being hit by the vehicle. Thus my car went into a cemented median causing some minor damage. However, I am currently experiencing shoulder/neck pain, numbness in my hands/fingers and muscle spams on the left side of my body. I was made to do an urinalysis and follow-up care with a walk-in urgent care facility. The urgent care facility have since referred me to follow-up with a neurologist. I'm currently experiencing anxiety at work b/c I am back to driving the small company vehicle and have fear of being hit.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

The general principle of law is that the EXCLUSIVE remedy of an employee as respects her EMPLOYER, for injury sustained in the course and scope of employment, is a claim for worker's compensation benefits. An employee injured in the course and scope of employment cannot sue the employer--the employee's remedy from the EMPLOYER is limited to worker's compensation benefits.

However, when a THIRD PARTY caused the injury, the injured worker may have a claim against that third party--such as, for example, when a vehicle runs a stop sign and slams into another vehicle driven by someone in the course and scope of her employment. In such a circumstance, the insurance company which pays the worker's compensation benefits generally has a lien on the recovery from the third party, up to the amount of the benefits the company paid out.

You may benefit from a consultation with a lawyer who handles personal injury claims. Consult your state or county bar's lawyer referral service for referral to appropriate counsel. Good luck.

Not legal advice as I don't practice law in Florida. It's just my two cents on the facts you describe in light of general principles of law. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who holds Florida licensure. That's not me.

Good luck.

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Posted

Generally speaking, you cannot sue the employer for issues arising out of the work-related injury, including delay in providing benefits. You can, however, sue the employer under certain very limited circumstances (e.g., retaliation for having filed a w/c claim, falsifying documents to deny you benefits, intentionally causing your injury); but, none of those circumstances are covered in your question or additional facts.

In fact, the information you posted about your accident doesn't really jibe with the question about "suing" your employer; so, I am going to make an assumption and suggest that perhaps you were asking whether you can still "sue" the employer to get additional care for the "anxiety at work," even though you are already getting other medical benefits as a result of the accident. If my assumption is correct, then your answer is, yes, you can claim psychiatric or psychological benefits, provided that the emotional injury is related by a doctor back to the physical injuries from the work accident. Next time you go back to your walk-in urgent care facility or any other doctor the employer/carrier has authorized you to see, you should bring up your anxiety to the doctor and ask for a referral to a mental health care provider.

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Posted

You cannot sue your employer under these circumstances. You may file a workers' compensation claim. Under the comp claim you can recover medical expenses, temporary disability benefits, and possibly permanent disability benefits.

Jonathan N. Portner, Esquire, Portner & Shure, P.A. Maryland and Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys. This response is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This response should not be relied upon. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm

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