Construction sites are the most dangerous workplaces. According to the U.S. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that of the over 300 Florida workers who died while on the job in the last year, the private sector accounted for 91 percent of them. When work is done from high places, near busy roads, in trenches and with hazardous chemicals and toxic materials, the risk of a Florida building accident is increased. Even though there are more workers who survive, the number of those who do so with serious injuries is higher.
Recent incidents of construction accident injuries in Florida include:
- In Orange County, a 35-year-old worker in construction was killed when he was hit by a moving vehicle while he was in a road construction zone.
- In Lake County, a 27-year-old worker in construction was killed when the walls of a newly-dug trench for a road-widening project fell on him. Crews took 10 hours to find his body.
- In Miami-Dade County, a 43-year-old construction worker was struck by heavy machinery and fell onto it. His widow gave rise to their second child just one week later.
Our Injury Lawyer can explain that workers who have been injured in Florida construction accidents can sue. Most cases, however, are third-party liability lawsuits and not direct lawsuits against the employer. Florida’s workers’ compensation laws (F.S. Particularly, F.S. 440.11 states that workers’ compensation coverage in Florida is the only remedy for any injury claims employees may have against their employer. However, there are exceptions and more common situations in which third parties may be liable.
Legal Options after a Florida Construction Accident Injury
Workers’ compensation is often referred to “the grand bargain.” This was a result of the Progressive Era in workers’ rights. It involved workers who were injured on the job, giving up their right to sue employers to recover personal injury damages, in return for more generous but less certain benefits. As time went by, however, the bargain became less grand from workers’ perspectives. (A few years back, the non-profit journalism outlet ProPublica did a thorough investigation into the decline in workers’ rights to compensation over the past few decades. Bottom line: It can be difficult to get fair and full compensation for serious injuries sustained on the job. Third-party claims may open up to additional damages not covered by workers’ compensation. These could include pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of consortium.
- You’re not an employee of the company. Many construction companies employ subcontractors to finish work. You may be able to sue your employer, the property owner and any other workers on the site if they are subcontractors. The more control a defendant has over the site, generally speaking, the greater the responsibility they have to provide a safe work environment.
- Third parties were negligent. A roadside worker who was struck by a motorist would have a third party claim against the driver. You may be able to file a third-party product liability claim against the manufacturer and others involved in the supply chain if your tool malfunctions.
- The employer committed insanity that caused the death of the employee. This is when evidence of intentional tort can be presented. This standard is very difficult to meet and almost never used in Florida’s personal injuries law.
- The state law requires that the employer obtain workers’ compensation insurance. The Florida Division for Workers’ Compensation has stated that employers who work in Florida must offer workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. The type of industry and number of employees as well as the structure of the company will determine the coverage requirements. Any company that employs one or more workers in the construction industry must have workers’ compensation coverage. This includes business owners and limited liability company (LLC) members. Employers from out-of state must inform their insurance company that they are working in Florida. If there is no Florida policy, the employer must obtain one with an approved carrier. Before a contractor can break ground on a project, they must ensure that all subcontractors have the necessary workers’ compensation coverage. For workers’ compensation purposes, they will be considered employees of the contractor if they don’t have it. Employers who do not have the required insurance can be sued by injured workers or their surviving relatives.
Some Florida construction accident claims may be settled without the need for a lawsuit. Your attorney will identify all liable parties and negotiate with the insurers. Sometimes, defendants may put up a fight. A skilled and experienced lawyer advocate can help you make the right decision to improve your chances of success in this arena.
This post was written by Kelly-Ann Jenkins of Jenkins Law P.L. Kelly-Ann is an Personal Injury Attorney St Petersburg FL She focuses on personal injury, car accidents, and bicyclist injury. The information on this site is not intended to and does not offer legal advice, legal recommendations or legal representation on any matter. Hiring an attorney is an important decision, which should not be based on advertising. You need to consult an attorney for legal advice regarding your individual situation.
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