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Workers’ Compensation: Legal Help if You’ve Been Injured at Work in Tampa, FL
Being injured while at work is something that no one plans for. Fortunately, workers’ compensation and the workplace’s premise liability coverage is enough to cover many instances of workplace injury. However, that coverage may not be enough when a severe injury takes place on the job. It can be a disaster for a family, unable to anticipate the medical bills, loss of income during recovery, and pain and suffering caused by the accident. Unfortunately, it is common for an employer and insurance agencies to work to protect their financial interests rather than help you get the care you deserve.
What are My Options After a Work Accident in Florida?
Many people believe the only option for someone hurt on the job is to file a worker’s compensation claim. This is often not the case. There are many times when Florida workers’ compensation is just not enough.
Usually, there is a better remedy. When a third party caused the injury – a separate contractor working for another company, for example, or a dangerous product that was used at work – there are other remedies available. In addition, employers are required to meet certain standards in order to have the protection of workers’ compensation. If your employer fails to do what is required, you have the right to file a lawsuit for their negligence.
Workers’ compensation benefits will help the employee with medical bills and lost wages. If the worker is involved in a fatal work accident in Florida, the benefits will extend to the dependents of the workers family. When the accident is not caused by the employer or co-employee of the injured, normal personal injury laws are applicable.
Due to the complexity of the workplace injury system, it is always advisable to speak with a Florida personal injury attorney prior to making this determination. If you or someone that you love has been injured while they were at work, please feel free to give Matthews Personal Injury Law a call at (813) 530-1000.
What Should I Do Next?
In the wake of an accident sustained on the job, the next steps may not seem clear. Here’s what you should do next to protect your interests:
Report the incident immediately: Inform your employer, and call the police if necessary. Having a formal accident report will help your case.
Talk to a lawyer: Find a skilled workplace injury lawyer to help you build your case.
Contact the Florida Division of Occupational Safety and Health: Employers should report the accident (and are required to if there has been a fatality or an incident involving three or more employees where someone went to the hospital). If you are unsure the report has been made, call OSHA at (813) 626-1177.
Make a report in the off-hours: If you were hurt outside of traditional business hours, make a report as soon as possible by calling the Florida State Capitol Police at (850) 414-8883.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim can be filed if an individual’s negligent or reckless actions leads to the death of a worker. It is the responsibility of the contractor or company, to ensure that a workplace is safe and free of hazards. It is also the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all work equipment is safe, functional, and operated by trained individuals. If your loved one died because an employer failed to ensure his or her safety, you likely have a claim for workers’ compensation. If a third party acted negligently or recklessly, you may have a wrongful death claim.
Many survivors do not know that they can file a claim against a non-employer third party for wrongful death. You may also be able to obtain compensation from the following parties.
- The owner of the property or worksite
- Drivers of vehicles (if the victim was killed in a collision)
- Site engineers, project managers, and architects
- Manufacturers of dangerous equipment, machinery, and tools
In addition to workers’ compensation, when a worker dies, the survivors may have the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Doing so will not affect your workers’ compensation benefits, and if you win, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the following.
- Funeral costs
- Medical expenses
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of future wages
- Loss of companionship
When filing a wrongful death claim against a third party, it is important to remember that the court will decide on the final amount that you receive, not the responsible party or your attorney.
On the Job Injuries and Workers’ Compensation in Florida
The risk of injury or death at the job is not limited to just one type of worker, but there are some professional roles that place individuals at a particularly high risk. The following types of workers are at the highest risk of sustaining serious injuries while working.
- Construction workers
- Warehouse employees
- Manufacturing, factory, and packaging workers
- Truck and delivery drivers
- Office workers
Workers’ compensation provides funds for workers who are injured on the job. According to state law, all employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance, and if you qualify, you will receive monetary compensation for medical expenses, suffering, and loss wages, regardless of who is at fault. To qualify for this insurance program, you must:
- Work for a company that carries workers’ compensation.
- Be a legal employee of the company.
- Have a work-related illness or injury.
- Workers’ compensation is only available to actual employees. Contractors and temporary workers will not qualify.
The Importance of OSHA Rules and Regulations
In the United States, all employers must follow OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws regarding employee safety. If your employer fails to do this, you can report them to the agency anonymously. When you attempt to take action against this type of employer, do not accept a settlement until you speak with an attorney. It is important that you understand your legal rights and options before attempting to settle.
Call Matthews Personal Injury Law if you have been injured or someone you care about has been killed on the job.
We know that you need the help of a skilled Florida on the job injury lawyer, and we will do our best to get you the compensation and justice your family desires. Call us now at (813) 530-1000 to talk about your case.