Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

If you or a loved one work in construction, then you know there are risks faced on the job each day. However, that does not mean you should not be entitled to compensation in the aftermath of a work injury. Any resulting legal claim after a construction accident injury may be affected by workers’ compensation laws in Florida. 

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage in cases where a person is hurt at work or while performing work-related duties. It covers an injured worker’s medical bills and a portion of their lost income. In Florida, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that you do not have to prove the employer’s fault before receiving compensation. However, workers’ compensation can limit an injured worker’s ability to file a lawsuit against their employer after an injury, and it does not offer coverage for pain and suffering damages. 

The workers’ compensation system in Florida is designed to help employees who are injured in the job. In the aftermath of an on-the-job injury, workers are facing the possibility of massive medical bills and lost income, but workers’ compensation can provide relief. The Florida workers’ compensation system is a “no-fault,” meaning that it does not matter whether you or your employer caused the injury. As long as the injury happened in the course of work-related duties, you are typically eligible for benefits. However, the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a bit confusing.

How the workers’ compensation claim process works in Florida

1.Report the injury to your employer

This article in the SunSentinel.com reports that many baby boomers will include some sort of work as part of their retirement. Baby boomers are described as the post World War II babies who are now ages 47 to 65. This story reports many are getting future career counseling through the Community Foundation of Broward which helps boomers find jobs or volunteer opportunities with a small stipend. Retirees in 2011 could make up to $14,160 a year and still receive Social Security benefits which the article says is driving many to take on part time work. Any earnings above that mark sees $1 deducted from every $2 earned. The retirement age is currently 66, but for some, depending on their birth year, will rise to age 67. The Social Security Administration says retirees earning up to $37,680 a year would have $1 deducted for every $3 earned above the maximum.

Among workers ages 55 and over, just over 40 percent are still on the job, which is the highest rate in 20 years, according to nonprofit group the Employee Benefit Research Institute. And the same group reports because of the harsh recession, 20 percent of older Americans plan to never stop working.
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The Obama administration is urging Congress to pass the American Jobs Act that will direct $50 billion toward repair of the U.S. infrastructure and another $10 billion for a National Infrastructure Bank. As a result, thousands of workers would be expected to go back to work in construction jobs, railroads, and related fields by 2013. With a country in need of repair for our elderly infrastructure, Congress would be able to make a valuable decision to staff road, bridge, transit system, light rail and airport projects in Florida, 20 other states, and the District of Columbia.

The report issued by the White House includes named projects such as improvement of the I-10/I-95 interchange in Jacksonville. Many lives are lost at this dangerous intersection, which also tends to bottle neck.

Investing in infrastructure is not a luxury. Without working roads we’ll find that society as we know it will suffer if trucks cannot deliver goods, including food, to cities and communities. And with a 10 percent unemployment rate in Florida, one of the highest in the country, getting back to work will only improve our community and our economy.
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A construction worker we reported on last week has died from his 20-foot fall from a work site roof in St. Augustine. The 52-year-old man was on top of the St. Johns County jail building which is being expanded when he fell off last Wednesday, October 19, according to a report in The Florida Times-Union.

The man died Saturday, October 22, from his injuries at Shands Jacksonville. An investigator from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) arrived on the scene soon after the accident to determine if there were any safety lapses that may have contributed to his accident. The story does not make mention of the investigation or whether any hazards may have been present.
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In a new report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that injuries among workers ages 55 and older increased from 12 percent in 2003 to 17 percent in the latest tracking, according to a report in HealthDay.

More and more Americans are choosing to work later in life and the injury rate overall is roughly the same as younger workers; however older workers have an increased risk for falls from ladders and stairs that can lead to hip fractures and other injuries. The workers surveyed were employed by all types of businesses from retail stores to industrial and service workers.

In 2009, the report found there were 210,830 injuries on the job, along with illnesses such as chronic back pain which resulted in lost workdays. It’s estimated by the CDC that up to one-quarter of the workforce will be older by 2018 and the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says that forecast means employers need to accommodate and protect older workers. The bit of good news is that industrial injuries among older workers actually decreased with age.
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The U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear the largest workplace class action lawsuit in history in a sex bias claim against retail giant Wal-Mart that was filed by as many as 1.5 million female workers who claim the store did not pay and promote women in the same way it offered opportunities to their male counterparts.

The Court, led by Justice Roberts, which is inclined to slow or stop large lawsuits against business, will decide whether Wal-Mart must face a single lawsuit or individual actions. To be a class action there must be a common set of facts that affect the entire class. The women argue that Wal-Mart has a corporate culture that reserves management jobs for men. Wal-Mart alleges that each of its 3,400 stores has a different manager, therefore a different hiring, promoting, and firing style.
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its guidance for people who work late-night in retail establishments due to the number of people killed on the job. According to federal statistics, 167 retail trade workers were killed behind the counter in 2007 with nearly half working in gas stations, liquor and convenience stories. 39 were killed in convenience stores, 32 worked at gasoline stations, and seven worked at liquor stores. And while retail outlets experience a disproportionate amount of violence in the workplace, those premises that made any changes to improve conditions is fewer than 2%.

The only good news to report here is that the number of retail workers who died at workplace violence has declined over the past 10 years from 286 in 1998 to 167 in 2007. OSHA recently updated its guidance report, Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments, which was published in 1998. The updated Recommendations identify risk factors and feasible solutions.
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As a part of Putnam County, the city of Palatka is home to approximately 10,804 residents and is 7.5 square miles in size. Palatka has a population density of about 1,543 individuals per square mile and has witnessed a 7.5% increase in population since 2000. Despite a little over 20% of Palatka inhabitants living and working within the city limits, work-related accidents are an unfortunate reality.

When illness or injury is caused by a work accident or unsafe working environment, an employee’s physical, mental, and financial well-being may suffer greatly. These types of occurrences are never easy and may pose many challenges for an injured worker and his or her family to endure. However, with an experienced Palatka workers’ compensation lawyer on your side, you may be able to hold negligent parties legally accountable for your pain and suffering as well as expenses associated with your injury and medical needs.
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Amelia Island is positioned right off the coast of Florida and has an estimated population of 68,347. Also referred to as the “Isle of Eight Flags,” Amelia Island is home to Amelia City and Fernandina Beach. Despite encompassing a relatively small 18.2 square miles in size, Amelia Island is overflowing with diverse culture and vibrant activity. The city hosts the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, and the Amelia Island Film Festival.

In having various job positions and businesses providing workers and residents of Amelia Island the means to provide for their families, it is an unfortunate reality that unsafe working environments or improper training may cause injury or illness while on-the-job. Employers, contractors, or managers who fail to uphold their responsibility of creating and maintaining secure working surroundings may place employees in harm’s way. If a worker suffers an injury, whether minor or severe, his or her physical, emotional, and financial well-being may be compromised.
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