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.
Construction work can be dangerous
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 20.7% of all work fatalities in the US were due to incidents on construction sites during the latest reporting year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are around 150,000 reported construction site accidents each year. OSHA says that the most common causes of fatalities and injuries are:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Getting struck by an object
- Getting caught in between objects
- Tool mishaps
- Vehicle accidents
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Collapsed scaffolding
- Failing to use appropriate protective gear
Workers who experience these and other accidents on-the-job can sustain various injuries, including:
- Eye injury, including vision impairment or blindness
- Broken bones
- Knee and ankle injury
- Neck, shoulder or back injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Illnesses caused by toxic chemical exposure
- Head injury
- Brain injury
What will workers’ compensation cover for a construction accident?
Workers’ compensation coverage will cover the following:
- Medical care. The injured worker has the right to all reasonably necessary treatment for their injuries. This includes all medical bills, prescription costs, and trips to and from medical facilities.
- Temporary disability. Injured workers may need to take time away from work while they recover from their injury. They could be entitled to temporary disability payments that cover part of their income, usually around two-thirds of their regular pay.
- Permanent disability. If a workers’ injuries are so severe that they can no longer work or can only work in a diminished capacity, they would receive permanent disability benefits. The amount and rate that will be paid depend on the limitations the injury has caused the victim.
- Vocational rehabilitation. If an injury prevents a worker from returning to their old job, they may need training to learn a new skill. While in vocational rehabilitation, partial income is distributed up to a maximum amount.
What if a third-party was involved?
It is not uncommon for most construction sites to have many companies working at once, and they may not all have the same safety standards. If your construction injury was caused by another party (not your employer), you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. This would be separate from a workers’ compensation claim, and you could be entitled to compensation beyond just medical expenses and partial lost wages.
If your injuries were caused by your employer’s gross negligence, you may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit as opposed to pursuing compensation through workers’ compensation.