I Was Hurt At A Construction Site. What Are My Legal Options?
The construction sector in Tampa is one of the most competitive, and therefore most dangerous, industries in Florida. Due to the competitive nature of this industry, a few dollars here or there could make the difference between making money and losing money on a certain job. Frequently, employers see worker safety as a cost-cutting target.
Legally, employers do not just have a duty to provide proper safety equipment. They also have a responsibility to inform workers how important it is to use the equipment, and train them in its use.
If you were injured on a construction site, whether that injury was a trauma injury, like a fall, or an occupational disease, like hearing loss, a Tampa construction accident attorney may be able to obtain financial compensation for your injuries. The path to fair compensation usually depends on the facts of the case, as outlined below.
Typically, workers have access to no-fault insurance benefits which replace lost wages and pay reasonably necessary medical expenses. There’s no need for victims to prove employer negligence or anything else. Their injuries must simply be work-related.
Frequently, victims have pre-existing conditions which contribute to the risk or severity of an injury. For example, Victor might have a bad knee which contributed to his fall, or Sally might play in a noisy garage band during her off-hours. Usually, insurance companies cannot use these pre-existing conditions as an excuse to reduce or deny compensation. Victims must simply prove that the work-related injury aggravated the pre-existing condition, as opposed to the other way around.
In terms of wage replacement, most of these victims receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage for the duration of their temporary disabilities. The AWW is not just an average of past wages. If victims miss overtime or bonus opportunities due to their injuries, the AWW must include these losses as well.
As for medical bills, workers’ compensation usually pays everything from the first moment of emergency care to the last day of physical therapy. Typically, insurance companies pay these expenses directly, and victims are not financially responsible for any unpaid charges.
Not Workers’ Compensation
Nonsubscribers, defective products, and reckless employers are the three most common kinds of non-workers’ compensation claims in Florida.
State law requires most employers to purchase workers’ compensation policies. But some employers flagrantly disregard this requirement. Others lie on insurance forms. Common false statements include the number of employees, the type of work they do, and the size of the payroll. Once insurance companies uncover these frauds, they normally deny payment.
The law protects these victims. In these cases, they may file damage claims in civil court. Employers usually cannot use some key defenses in these claims, so negligence is easier to prove.
If a defective product substantially caused the injury, the product manufacturer could be strictly liable for damages. Companies cannot hide behind workers’ compensation laws and escape liability in these situations. Victims must only prove causation in strict liability cases. Additionally, punitive damages are usually available in these claims. Such damages are the only way to compel these companies to change the way they do business.
Finally, if employers are reckless and knowingly send employees into dangerous environments where they suffer injury, a civil claim might be an option. An experienced attorney should review your claim and make this determination.
Reach Out to a Compassionate Hillsborough County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, contact Mark H. Wright, PLLC. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.