The recent Caterpillar Logistics, reversed a judgment awarded in the Miami Court, and discussed the factors that would allow a person to recover damages where they are fired in retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim. Our firm follows these lawsuits closely.
Juries are generally fairly liberal in awarding damages on these cases as they relate to the upset of being fired. The problem in this case was that the injured worker continued on a no work status due to his physical injuries and therefore, since there was no evidence that the injured worker would recover to the point that he could return to substantial/equivalent employment, therefore the retaliation was not the cause of his future lost wages. “In summary, the jury’s award of back pay and front pay are not sustainable because Amaya was unable to work due to his on the job physical injuries.” Those damages were compensable through his workers compensation case. Had the injured worker been cleared for work after being placed on a no work status due to his physical injuries and if he was unable to work due to his emotional injury then he could have been awarded the money for lost wages and loss of earning capacity. The jury has to award money for emotional distress and mental anguish. Based on these factors, the Appellate Court reversed the half million dollar judgment for the injured worker in Caterpillar Logistics Services, Inc. vs. Rudolf Amaya 3rd Dis. Ct of Appeals decided July 13, 2016.