It’s rare when the work-related death or injury of an employee is not exclusively handled through workers’ compensation in Florida. However, if it is shown that an employer’s actions made it “virtually certain” that an employee would be injured or killed on the job, then the employee or relatives can seek damages outside of the workers’ compensation system.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville have learned of a recent case in which a Florida’s First Judicial Circuit jury in Escambia County found that a supervisor at Roads, Inc. allegedly covered up a gas leak caused by his construction crew in order to expedite a storm drain project in Pensacola.
The jury ruled that the supervisor’s decision to conceal or misrepresent that information led to the death of an employee, who was burned over 85% of his body after a gas explosion ignited a flash fire in a below ground pipe. The victim’s relatives claimed that the supervisor knowingly sent the victim to retrieve a remote control device in the pipe, even though several members of the construction crew had been complaining of persistent gas odors in the area.
The jury awarded the family $2.6 million in damages for future pain and suffering, past pain and suffering, as well as for funeral and medical expenses.
The bar for getting a case heard outside of the workers’ compensation system was raised in 2003, when the “virtually certain” standard was added to Florida workers’ compensation law.
“This case demonstrates that there is still some protection for workers when the behavior of the employer is shocking and outrageous,” an attorney for the family stated.
If you have been injured, or if you have lost a family member in a workplace accident, it makes sense to learn about your legal rights. Whether it is leading you through the workers’ compensation process or going beyond the system to see that you or your family’s rights are protected, the law firm of Farah & Farah is dedicated to helping clients through such difficult times.
If you have questions after a workplace accident or death, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can be reached at (800) 533-3555 for a free, no-obligation case review.