Construction sites are among the most hazardous places to work. Construction industry workers suffered the highest number of fatalities on the job in Florida, accounting for 91 percent of those killed in a single recent year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Extreme dangers are preccent when work is done at great heights, next to a busy roadway, down in trenches, and with toxic materials, poisonous chemicals, and live electricity.
Workers who are hurt in Florida construction-related accidents have the ability to sue. However, most instances are filed as third-party claims rather than direct lawsuits against a company. Because of F.S. 440.11, which states that workers’ compensation insurance is the only form of coverage available for workplace injuries incurred by employees, most cases are handled as third party claims rather than direct lawsuits against an employer. There are several exceptions and (much more frequently) situations where other parties may be accountable.
Construction Accident Injury in Florida: What Legal Options Exist?
It’s difficult to get complete and impartial compensation for on-the-job injuries, especially those that are serious. Third-party claims can provide access to additional damages not available through workers’ comp, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship.
If you are hurt on the job you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if you have grounds to bring a claim, such as:
- You are not the company’s employee: Construction firms frequently employ subcontractors to do tasks. If your employer is a subcontractor or an independent contractor, you may have a case against the general contractor, the property owner, and perhaps others working on site if they were negligent. In general, the greater control the defendant had over the site, the more responsibility they have for ensuring a safe working environment.
- Third parties were irresponsible: If you’re a roadside construction worker injured by a motorist, you may be able to pursue a third-party claim against them. You could have a third-party product liability claim against the manufacturer or others in the supply chain if your equipment malfunctions or fires erratically.
- The employer committed an intentional act that resulted in the employee’s death: An intentional tort is established by evidence of a deliberate attempt to harm or conduct that, given prior explicit warnings or similar occurrences, the firm recognized was all but certain to result in significant injury or death to a worker. This is a very high level of proof, and it is rarely used in personal injury cases in Florida.
- The employer did not have workers’ compensation coverage as required by state law: Employers working in Florida are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees, according to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. Coverage requirements vary based on the business’s sector, size of workforce, and organizational structure. Any company with one or more employees in the construction industry must have workers’ compensation insurance for its staff, including corporate officers and Limited Liability Company (LLC) members. Out-of-state businesses must notify their insurer that they will be operating in Florida; if no insurance is obtained, out-of-state firms must obtain a policy from an authorized provider. Before digging into the ground on a project, contractors are required to ensure that all subcontractors have the necessary workers’ compensation coverage. If they don’t, those people become contractors and get workers’ compensation benefits. An employer who does not possess the right insurance as mandated by law may be sued by the injured employee or surviving family members.
Settling some claims without the need to file a lawsuit is possible in Florida. All potentially liable parties must be identified and negotiated with by your lawyer. Other times, defendants will put up a fight. Having an expert, experienced legal advocate on your side can significantly improve your chances of success in this area. Call 941-979-9010 or complete our online form to speak with the personal injury law experts at FGB Law to get your no-obligation consultation.