Very dated but still interesting data on Florida workers’ compensation cases: the average back injury settlement was $ 38,000 with medical care continuing (called “keeping your case open”). The average workers’ compensation back injury settlement is $ 9,800 with no continuing opportunity for further medical care.
- Average Back Injury Settlements (what can you expect as compensation for a back injury from a car accident)
- Average Value of Florida Personal Injury Cases (statistics on Florida jury verdicts)
- Sample Verdicts in Back Injury Cases
Florida Workers’ Comp
Florida workers’ compensation law is statutory. It can be found in Chapter 440, Florida Statutes. This statutory scheme requires a schedule of benefits recoverable without a tort claim. § 440.11, The worker’s compensation system is the exclusive remedy in Florida for an injured employee seeking compensation from their employer.
One big exception to this rule is if the employer fails to obtain worker’s compensation insurance coverage. Another exception is intentional acts committed by the employer intending to cause harm. Unless an exception is triggered, Florida employees must use the workers’ compensation system to bring a claim against their employer. This often includes independent contractors. Florida Statute § 440.02 expressly includes within the definition of “employee” an “independent contractor working or performing services in the construction industry.”
Third-Party Workers Comp Combination Claims in Florida
Florida law gives injured employees the right to pursue personal injury claims against third parties that arise out of work-related injuries. Pursuant to section 440.39(2), the entity that paid the workers’ compensation benefits has statutory subrogation rights in any third-party suit. In other words, the comp carrier has a right to be paid back for any money recovered for which you have already been paid.
Workers’ comp back injury verdicts and settlements in Florida
YEAR / STATE
CASE / INJURY SUMMARY
2019 – Florida
A restaurant dishwasher and food preparer suffered lower back and leg injuries at work. He requested workers’ compensation. The restaurant refused and cut his hours and pay. The man complained to management that they failed to pay him minimum wage. He was subsequently fired. He alleged that the restaurant fired him in retaliation for not being paid and requesting workers’ compensation. The restaurant denied liability. It argued that it fired him for reasons unrelated to the man’s complaints and requests. The Miami-Dade County jury ruled in the man’s favor. They awarded $13,160.
$13,160 – Verdict
2010 – Florida
A 23-year-old roofer fell 20 feet to the ground while tearing shingles off. He suffered thoracic and traumatic brain injuries. The man was left a T6 paraplegic. He underwent thoracic spine stabilization and fusion procedures. The man was hospitalized for six months and underwent in-patient rehabilitation. He was now wheelchair-bound. The man also suffered from neurological and psychological issues. He required a morphine pump implant and round-the-clock care. The man filed suit against his employer, asserting the “virtual certainty” standard under the state’s workers’ compensation statute. He alleged that his former employer intentionally concealed the danger to prevent him from making an informed decision. The Miami-Dade jury ruled in the man’s favor and awarded him $16,594,198.
$16,594,198 – Verdict
2010 – Florida
A Coral Springs police department’s civilian employee slipped and fell while cleaning police equipment with a hose. She suffered lumbar sprains and strains. The woman was unable to treat it with physical therapy. She then underwent decompression and fusion procedures. The woman also received a spinal cord stimulator. She could not return to work and resigned several months later. The woman filed a workers’ compensation claim. The City of Coral Springs contested it. This case settled for $480,220.
$480,220 – Settlement
2009 – Florida
A bulldozer operator was rear-ended by a dump truck at a work site. He initially suffered lumbar sprains and strains. The man developed an L4-5 herniation with nerve root impingement and an adjustment disorder. He underwent physical therapy, facet blocks, and epidural spinal injections. The man then settled his workers’ compensation claim. He subsequently underwent a discectomy. The man claimed the procedure failed to resolve his radiating lumbar pain. He underwent an L4-5 fusion with a bone graft and a discectomy. This procedure successfully resolved his pain. The man returned to work with no restrictions. However, he continued to experience stress and erectile dysfunction. The man now took anti-depressants. He alleged that the negligent operating of the dump truck caused his injuries. The defense disputed the allegation, arguing comparative negligence. A Palm Beach County jury found the man 75 percent negligent and the construction company 25 percent negligent. They determined that the damages totaled $1,906,800.
$1,906,800 – Verdict
Non-workers’ comp back injuries settlements in Florida
These verdicts and settlements underscore that if you have a back injury that was caused by the fault of someone else, you would rather that not be caused by your company or a co-employee. The compensation payouts for lower back injuries are much less in workers’ compensation than you typically see in a car accident or other third party tort.
YEAR / STATE
CASE / INJURY SUMMARY
2020 – Florida
A married couple was T-boned by a taxicab. The husband suffered permanent lumbar and temporary cervical injuries. He underwent lumbar surgery. The couple alleged that the taxicab employee’s negligent driving caused his injuries. The defense admitted that the collision caused his lumbar injuries but disputed whether it caused his cervical ones. A Duval County jury ruled in the couple’s favor. They awarded a $2,840,765. This included $175,000 for the wife’s loss of consortium claim.
$2,840,765 – Verdict
2019 – Florida
An apartment tenant was struck by sheetrock that fell from her ceiling. She suffered multiple injuries including a lumbar herniation. The woman alleged that the complex owners’ failure to periodically inspect the premises and repair the ceiling caused her injuries. A Miami-Dade jury awarded her $2,076,759.
$2,076,759 – Verdict
2018 – Florida
A man was rear-ended at a red light. He suffered cervical and lumbar herniations, while his passengers suffered undisclosed personal injuries. The man and his passengers alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused their injuries. They also made a UIM claim against Liberty Mutual. The jury ruled in the man’s favor but ruled against one of the passengers. They awarded a $151,525 verdict.
$151,525 – Verdict