FLORIDA WORKMAN’S COMPENSATION: MAN DIES AFTER BEING BULLDOZED WHILE USING A PORTA-POTTY
Recently, Aaron Henderson, a landfill traffic controller, was killed by a bulldozer while in a porta-potty. According to the reports, the bulldozer driver traveled up a hill to the landfill at night. While driving, the front blade of the bulldozer partially obstructed his vision due to the angle and height.
As a result, the driver accidentally bulldozed a porta-potty that he did not see. Once he heard the crumbling metal and plastic, he stopped his vehicle, but it was already too late for Aaron Henderson by that time.
The operator quickly jumped out of his vehicle to check the porta-potty for occupants. What he found was Mr. Henderson’s lifeless body inside. While this accident is tragic and heart-wrenching, similar workplace accidents resulting in death ( 4 – 5 thousand per year) happen far too often.
With that in mind, you may be wondering, “Is Aaron Henderson’s family eligible to sue for damages?” Continue reading to learn about Florida workman’s compensation laws and wrongful deaths at the workplace.
When Does Workman’s Compensation Handle a Workplace Accident?
Under Florida’s worker’s compensation laws, employers are mostly indemnified against personal injury lawsuits from employees. Instead, most workplace accident claims are handled and settled through the work comp process.
That includes cases that involve accidents like:
- Slip and falls
- Falling from heights
- Caught in-between
- Vehicle accidents and collisions
- Workplace violence
- And more.
It’s important to note that employees are typically unable to file a personal injury lawsuit against an employer for workplace injuries. However, an employee or their family can file a personal injury claim against third parties for injuries or wrongful deaths.
Understanding Workman’s Compensation Death Benefits
Worker’s compensation insurance covers injury and death. Generally, the deceased’s family, surviving spouse, or children can file a claim for death benefits up to 1 – 5 five years after the accident, depending on the circumstances. The worker’s compensation death benefit typically covers the following:
- Funeral expenses – Up to $7,500.
- Weekly payments – The surviving children, spouse, parents, or siblings may receive between 15 – 50% of the descendant’s wages.
- Educational benefits – A surviving spouse may be entitled to receive tuition payments for up to 1,800 hours of study at a career center or up to 80 hours for community college.
Generally, the worker’s compensation death benefit terminates once $150,000 (or less) is paid out to the dependants.
When Can an Employer Be Sued?
Employers can rarely (if ever) be sued for wrongful death at the workplace. However, suppose your family member suffered a wrongful death due to a third-party while on the job. In that case, you may be eligible to file a death benefits claim under worker’s compensation laws and a personal injury suit against a negligent or reckless third party.
Examples of third-parties that can face a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Third-party contractors or employees
- The property owner where the wrongful death occurred
- Manufacturers of defective products or equipment
Taking the example of Aaron Henderson, suppose a third-party contractor employed the bulldozer operator. In that case, Mr. Henderson’s family may be eligible to file a claim for the worker’s compensation death benefit and file a wrongful death claim against the third-party employer.
However, if they do suspect negligence or recklessness, they will need an experienced attorney for workman’s compensation and wrongful death claims on their side.
What To Do If Your Loved One Suffers a Wrongful Death
If your loved one has been killed while on the job, we recommend consulting with a proven workman’s compensation lawyer as soon as possible. A workman’s comp attorney can:
- Provide valuable insights into workman’s compensation laws regarding wrongful death
- Advise you on when to accept, reject, or negotiate work comp benefit claims
- File a workman’s compensation claim and wrongful death claim simultaneously
- Seek maximum compensation for your loses
It’s important to note that eligible surviving family members must file workman’s compensation death benefit claims and third-party personal injury claims within the statute of limitations. The sooner you contact an attorney about your case, the sooner they can get to work securing maximum compensation for you and your family.
Contact Schrier Law Group Today
The sudden death of a loved one can be devastating emotionally, physically, and financially. At Schrier Law Group, our worker’s compensation and wrongful death lawyers understand that no amount of money will replace your family member.
However, we also understand that you deserve to be compensated for the deceased’s lost income, financial support, love, etc. Our attorneys are compassionate, thoughtful, and aggressive. We won’t stop working until we get the best possible outcome in your case.
Can You Sue Your Current Employer for an On the Job Accident?
According to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, there were more than 64,000 workers’ compensation claims in Florida in 2021. Of the cases that received a settlement, the average payout was roughly $15,000.
With that said, you typically can’t sue your employer for workers’ compensation benefits unless there are extenuating circumstances. You can potentially recover compensation for injuries if you have an injury at work via:
- Workers’ compensation claim
- Suing a third
- Suing your employer (in rare cases)
Individuals who have suffered injuries on the job should consult a proven workman’s comp lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at Schrier Law Group can help you assess the merits of your claim and, if necessary, pursue the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.
Continue reading to learn more about suing your employer for on-the-job injuries.
Florida Workers’ Compensation Laws
Generally, Florida workers’ compensation laws stipulate that an employee can’t sue their employer for work-related accidents unless they deliberately injure the employee. In that case, you may be able to file a lawsuit for an intentional tory in Florida civil court.
Florida work comp is the only option most injured employees have for recovering damages for workplace injuries. That means that employees rarely (if ever) can sue an employer for non-deliberate injuries that happen while working.
Suppose you were injured by a third-party while on the job. In that case, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover damages. Learn more about suing the third party in the next section.
Suing a Third Party For Workplace Injuries
If a third party injures you while on the job, you may have a viable personal injury claim against them. However, it’s important to note that your claim would be outside the workers’ compensation system. A few of the most common types of third party injuries include:
- Accidents caused by dangerous equipment: Many labor-intensive jobs (i.e., construction, roofing, machinery, etc.) involve hazardous machines. Sometimes those machines cause damage to employees while they’re working. If you’ve been injured by a dangerous device while working, you may be eligible to file a third-party personal injury suit against the manufacturer.
- Premises Liability Accidents: Suppose you had an injury at work due to unsafe conditions. In that case, you may be eligible to file a premises liability claim against the property owner.
- Car Accident Claims: If you are injured while driving for your job by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim and pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer. Further, if the other driver doesn’t have insurance or is underinsured, you can file a claim with your own underinsured motorist policy.
It’s essential to note that third-party personal injury claims can be complex and frustrating. In most cases, you should consult a proven workman’s comp lawyer before pursuing a claim.
Your workman’s comp attorney can investigate your claim, collect evidence, conduct interviews, and ultimately, pursue maximum damages. Contact Schrier Law Group today to discuss your claim.
What to do if You Experience an Injury on The Job
There are a few steps you should take if you get an injury at work. They include but are not limited to:
- Immediately inform your supervisor or manager
- Take pictures of the injury and accident scene
- Seek immediate medical attention and let them know it’s a work-related injury
- Contact a workman’s comp lawyer
- Present a written notice to your employer
- Keep a journal of your injury, recovery, medical treatments, etc.
- Follow all doctor orders
Further, whether you’re pursuing a workers’ comp claim or a third-party claim, it’s essential to keep the details of your case confidential. Additionally, it’s typically a good idea to avoid social media, posting pictures, and engaging in any activity that could contradict your story.
Remember, the insurance company is always watching. Anything you say, do, or post can limit your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Florida Workman’s Comp Lawyer Today
The administrative court system handles Florida workman’s comp claims. That means that you must go through the process of filing a petition for workers’ comp benefits and mediation by a neutral party.
Hiring a proven workers’ comp lawyer can increase your chances of settling before trial. However, if a settlement agreement isn’t possible, your attorney can take your case to court and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact The Schrier Law Group today for your free initial consultation with a proven workman’s comp lawyer in Florida.
Top Ways to Increase Your Worker’s Comp Settlement
Severe workplace injuries can lead to a lifetime of challenges. With that in mind, if you’ve been injured on the job, you have the right to compensation under Florida law. Unfortunately, in many cases, workers’ compensation victims receive low payouts or no payout at all.
The good news is that there are ways to increase your chances of a successful workers’ comp claim. This article discusses the top ways to increase your worker’s comp settlement, including steps you should take and avoid.
Contact Schrier Law Group today to discuss the details of your case with a proven worker’s compensation lawyer. Continue reading to learn the best ways to maximize your worker’s compensation settlement value.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The cornerstone of any worker’s comp claim is workplace injury. Without an injury verified by a credentialed physician, you can’t expect your case to go very far. Generally, it’s recommended that you seek immediate medical attention after sustaining an injury at work.
The longer you wait to seek medical care, the more likely the insurance company will scrutinize your claim, make a lowball offer, or deny your claim.
Ensure Your Workers’ Comp Case is Viable
Workers’ compensation claims require employees to report workers’ comp eligible injuries and present their case in a manner that doesn’t seem fraudulent. With that in mind, the following types of injuries are eligible for work comp in Florida:
- Injuries that happen while on the job or while engaged in work-related activities like car accidents, spinal injuries, loss of limbs, etc.
- Repetitive stress injuries that happen due to repeating the same movements consistently. Common examples include carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and similar.
- Workplace sicknesses occurring to exposure to harmful conditions or chemicals.
If you’re not sure about the legitimacy of your worker’s comp claim, contact us today to speak with a worker’s compensation attorney about your case.
Inform Your Employer of Your Injury ASAP & File Your Claim
A worker’s compensation lawyer at the Schrier Law Group will almost always encourage you to report workplace injuries to employers as soon as possible. At the very least, Florida law mandates that employees report injuries within 30 days.
Further, you must file an official claim in writing. It can help to take a picture of the completed form before handing it to your employer. At that point, they must notify the insurance company to begin the worker’s comp process.
Know The Severity of Your Injuries
Workplace injuries are placed into four workers’ comp disability rating categories. They include:
- Injuries that completely prevent you from working for a temporary period
- Temporary injuries that limit your ability to complete some (but not all) work-related tasks
- Permanent disabilities that prevent you from doing certain work-related activities ever
- Permanent disabilities that prevent you from any work-related activities with your current or future employers
The worker’s compensation benefit you’re eligible to receive depends on your injury severity score (5% – 100%).
Keep Meticulous Records
Proving the value of your claim often requires good record keeping. That means that you should keep detailed notes about the following:
- Medical records
- Cost of healthcare and rehabilitation
- Every document you’ve completed
- Daily journals detailing your injuries, recovery, etc.
- Other out-of-pocket expenses like prescription costs, parking fees at doctor’s offices, and more.
Watch What You Say to Doctors and Insurers
In many cases, the worker’s compensation insurer will request you to get an independent medical exam (IME). That’s true even if your primary care provider has already seen you.
Whether you’re seeing your physician or the insurance company’s doctor, it’s in your best interest to stick to the facts, tell the truth, and give details. Anything you say to the physician can potentially harm your case, so be careful.
Similarly, you should be aware of what you share with insurance adjusters, especially if you give them a recorded statement. In our experience, it’s best to contact your worker’s compensation lawyer before giving any recorded statements to the claims adjuster.
Understand That You’re Being Watched
Once you’ve filed a worker’s compensation claim, you can expect the insurance company and their lawyers to keep a close eye on you. In some cases, insurers hire a private investigator to catch you committing worker’s comp fraud.
Generally, it’s a good rule of thumb to limit physical activity, stay away from social media, and only discuss your case when necessary. That’s because it only takes one picture or ill-timed statement to ruin your chances of getting fair compensation for your injuries.
Contact a Florida Worker’s Compensation Lawyer Today
Worker’s compensation laws are complicated. Working with an experienced lawyer for work comp claims can drastically improve your chances of a successful outcome. At Schrier Law Group, our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in work comp claims.
We’re confident that we can obtain the best possible outcome in your case as well. Contact us today at 1-888-831-2407 to speak with a worker’s compensation lawyer you can trust.
COMMON CONSTRUCTION SITE ACCIDENTS
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction workers account for nearly 20% of worker fatalities in the private industry. That equates to nearly 15 deaths per day due to construction workplace accidents.
Further, injury rates in construction are more than 70% higher than average injury rates recorded by other industries (more than 100,000 injuries per year).
With that in mind, if you’ve been injured while working on a construction site, you have options. Our attorneys at Schrier Law Group are dedicated to helping construction workers who suffer on-the-job injuries to receive maximum compensation for their injuries. Potentially recoverable damages can include:
- The cost of medical care
- Lost earnings and earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disablement and injuries
- Wrongful death
Contact Paul, a proven construction accident attorney, at Schrier Law Group today at 1-800-700-PAUL for your free initial consultation. Continue reading to learn more about the most common accidents that can happen on a construction site.
Fatal Four Construction Site Hazards
According to OSHA, the four most common deadly construction site accidents include falling from heights, electrical exposure, being struck-by objects, and being caught in-between machinery. Learn more about the fatal four construction site hazards below.
Falling From Heights
Falling from heights can cause serious injury and even death. Generally, construction companies must provide adequate fall protection for heights greater than six feet. If they neglect to do so, they may be liable for injuries caused by the fall.
Unlike most workplaces, exposed electrical wiring is commonplace in the construction industry. With that in mind, construction workers should be well-trained to handle live electrical wires. If training is subpar or the construction company doesn’t provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), it could lead to an increased risk of injury or death by electrocution.
“Struck-by” accidents can be caused by any objects on a construction site that can result in injuries due to impact. That can include construction equipment, tools, materials, etc. Generally, the most common types of struck-by hazards include:
- Flying objects
- Swinging or rolling objects
- Falling objects
If you’ve suffered injuries due to being struck by an object while on the job, your company may be to blame. Contact an experienced construction accident lawyer to discuss the details of your case today.
Caught-in or Between Accidents
Perhaps one of the most devastating construction site accidents occurs when a worker suffers injury or death due to being caught in a dangerous situation or caught in between machinery. According to a construction accident lawyer at Schreier Law Group, common examples of caught-in/between hazards on construction sites include:
- Getting a part of your body caught in the moving parts of a machine
- Being squeezed in-between two construction machines
- Getting trapped in a collapsed trench
- Being pinned between a wall and another piece of construction machinery
Other Common Construction Site Accidents
The “Fatal Four” hazards mentioned above are the most common deadly construction accidents. However, thousands of other types of injuries happen on construction sites every year. A few of the most common hazards that cause injuries include but are not limited to:
- Slip and Fall Injuries – Potentially the most common form of non-deadly construction site injuries, slip and falls can lead to devastating injuries. In many cases, slip and fall accidents occur due to negligence or lack of adherence to safety rules.
- Accidental Injury Caused By Machines – Heavy machinery is nearly synonymous with construction sites. Unfortunately, while they are necessary, they can also cause serious injuries. Construction workers are most likely to suffer serious injuries when using or in the presence of jackhammers, nail guns, forklifts, power drills, etc.
- Explosions – Injuries caused by explosions are not as common as other types of construction site injuries. However, they can cause the most damage. That’s especially true if construction workers are not properly trained or fail to follow safety protocols.
- Construction Vehicle Accidents – Construction workers spend a lot of time around vehicles. With that in mind, they are subject to hazards from construction vehicles, drivers passing through a construction zone, and third-party car collisions.
Contact The Best Construction Accident Attorney in Florida Today
Workers in the construction industry routinely suffer more injuries and fatalities on the job than most other occupations. With that in mind, if you’ve suffered injuries while working on-site, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to recover significant worker’s compensation damages or damages from a third party.
Contact Schrier Law Group at 1-800-700-7285 for your free initial consultation with a proven construction accident attorney today.