Construction Accidents – Understanding Your Rights

Construction sites can be extremely dangerous, especially for the workers who are operating in and around the sites on a daily basis. With numerous contractors and sub-contractors at the site, there may be a number of different tasks taking place. Unfortunately, our team of Miami construction accident injury lawyers commonly discover that not all work tasks were being done in accordance with safety standards and protocols at the job site.

Injured on the Job – How to Get Compensated

Injured construction workers are entitled to apply for worker’s compensation insurance. Basically, worker’s comp allows you to receive financial benefits for your lost income while you are disabled and incapable of returning to work, along with reimbursement for medical expenses. In some cases, depending on the severity of the injury, you could be eligible to pursue lifetime permanent disability payments and/or a lump sum settlement.

Along with worker’s compensation, construction accident victims may be able to bring a personal injury claim against a third party and/or the manufacturer of a dangerous or defective product.

Taking Action Against a Negligent Contractor and/or Sub-Contractor

Florida’s First District Court of Appeals recently decided cases addressing the issue of whether the personal injury claim immunity under the Florida worker’s compensation statute applied to a contractor and subcontractor. For context, Florida provides immunity (i.e. protection from personal injury litigation) to employers in exchange for the employers complying with the worker’s compensation system. The only exception is when your employer commits an intentional tort (i.e. consciously harms you) or commits gross negligence.

The family of a Florida construction worker who died while working at a job site challenged the application of this statutory immunity to contractors and sub-contractors. The worker was finishing drywall when his ladder slipped into a cutout left by a subcontractor. The worker fell and died. The cutout that caused the deadly fall was made by an HVAC subcontractor. This subcontractor failed to warn the other subcontractors of its presence or follow proper guidelines to ensure the area was safe. Workers’ compensation was available to the deceased’s workers family. However, the personal representative of the deceased worker’s estate brought suit against the contractor and all subcontractors associated with the project.

The HVAC subcontractor argued that they were entitled to immunity and moved to dismiss the personal injury suit. The Florida Court of Appeals ruled that it was for a jury to decide whether or not the events that led to the worker’s death were the result of gross negligence. This means the representative of the deceased’s employee get to move forward in the personal injury suit against the HVAC contractor.

Why This Case is Important

It is an indicator that the immunity afforded under the Florida worker’s compensation statute may not be as broadly applied as some contractors and subcontractors think. If you or a loved one was seriously harmed at a construction site, you should speak to an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer so they can help you assess which contractors, subcontractors, and any other third parties may be liable for your harm.

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