Q. Our company was a general contractor on a construction job. A subcontractor performed the electrical work. One of the subcontractor’s workers was injured while leaving the construction site. The subcontractor has denied compensability of the workers’ compensation claim, saying that the accident wasn’t within the course and scope of employment. The worker is now threatening to sue us for negligence. Can he do that?
A. The courts in Florida have generally recognized that, under these circumstances and the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act, your company, as a general contractor, was a “statutory employer” of the injured worker and therefore was obligated to provide workers’ compensation insurance. As a consequence, you should be entitled to workers’ compensation immunity that will protect you from a negligence lawsuit.