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Palm Beach County Workers' Comp Law Blog

Florida construction accident causes multiple injuries

Three construction workers were recently seriously injured in a construction collapse in northern Florida. The three men fell about 25 feet when the floor they were working on collapsed. All three men were transported to the hospital following the construction accident for treatment of their injuries. One worker who sustained the most serious injuries is being treated for spinal trauma. Ten other construction workers were in the area at the time of the collapse but declined medical treatment.

The construction accident took place on a rooftop of a construction expansion project. Construction on the project has been suspended pending a review of the incident. Unfortunately, construction workers can suffer a variety of serious, and even potentially fatal, injuries on a construction site. Injuries can include neck, back and spinal cord injuries and broken bones, among other serious injuries construction workers may suffer.

If your job made you sick, you could have a right to benefits

You know that when a Florida worker suffers an injury because of an accident in the workplace, he or she would likely be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. However, these benefits also extend to workers who become ill due to their jobs. Occupational illnesses can have a serious impact on your ability to work and your medical bills can quickly add up, but you have options. 

If you have recently received a diagnosis of an occupational illness, you could have a rightful claim to workers' compensation benefits. However, it can be complex to secure benefits even with a valid claim, and you may find it useful to seek help in your pursuit to claim the financial support you deserve.

Protections for loved ones after a workplace fatality

Fatal workplace accidents are a devastating blow for surviving family members of victims. During 2012, there were 209 workplace fatalities in Florida. As of 2012, the number of workplace fatalities was trending downward from a high of 422 in 2004. However, each loss is a significant loss for surviving families members and loved ones of the victim.

Nationally, preliminary data for 2012 recorded 4,383 fatal workplace accidents, while 4,693 workplace fatalities were recorded in 2011. Of the 209 fatal workplace injuries reported in Florida during 2012, 65 were transportation-related. Forty-four were related to some form of violence, and 42 were from falls, slips and trips.

Workers' compensation can help with injuries and illnesses

Suffering from a workplace injury or illness is a serious concern for workers and families. In Florida, employers with greater than four employees and all construction employers, are required to provide their employees with workers' compensation benefits, if they have suffered a workplace injury or illness. Because injured workers can be left with significant medical expenses and an inability to work, it is important for them to understand their workers' compensation benefits and the process.

When a worker has suffered a workplace injury or illness, they should report it to their employer who is required to report it to their workers' compensation insurance carrier. If the employer fails to report it to the insurance carrier, the employee should contact the insurance carrier directly. Workplace injuries must be reported within 30 days and workplace illnesses must be reported within 30 days of the worker having knowledge of the illness.

Falls are a serious danger for construction workers in Florida

Construction falls can result in serious and disabling injuries and death. Throughout Florida, construction workers build bridges, houses and other buildings, as well as maintain structures for citizens to use and enjoy.

Unfortunately, a construction fall accident can be devastating for workers and their families. In Florida, compared to other industries, the construction industry had the highest number of work-related fatalities from 2007 to 2011. Seven-Hundred and forty-seven construction workers were killed in fatal construction accidents during that time.

Different disability benefits available through Social Security

Social Security Disability resources are an important option for disabled individuals. Disabled individuals may become disabled in a variety of different ways, including in the workplace. Social Security offers two options to disabled individuals to help them with their daily costs of living after they have become disabled and unable to work. Both disabled individuals and their family members should be familiar with disability options and the disability benefits available.

Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income are the two federal programs that provide assistance to disabled individuals in different circumstances, depending on their circumstances. The Social Security Administration administers both programs. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are available to disabled individuals who are unable to work because of a physical or mental medical condition and have the necessary work history to qualify. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), on the other hand, is available to individuals of limited income and resources who may lack necessary work history to qualify for SSD benefits but are also disabled because of a physical or mental medical condition that prevents them from working.

Protect yourself by understanding workers' compensation benefits

Florida workers who suffer an injury in the workplace face difficulties that extend far beyond the physical ramifications of their injury. In addition to the sheer cost of even the most basic of medical care, lost wages and other accident or illness-related expenses can have a devastating financial impact on a family.

If you are experiencing the complex aftermath of a work accident, you do not have to walk through it alone. From filing a workers' compensation claim to obtaining the specific type of medical care you need for a full recovery, you have the right to seek help and guidance. It can also be useful to seek a full understanding of your rights and the specific benefits to which you are entitled:

One Florida utility has high number of workplace deaths

Workers' compensation options are available to help in circumstances of a fatal workplace accident. According to a local paper, over the last two decades, more workers have died at power plants run by one utility than any other state utility. While the utility had nine workplace deaths in the past two decades, other, and much larger, utilities in the state had no greater than three deaths. Four workers recently died at one of the utility's plants when they suffered severe burns after a molten substance that is referred to as slag escaped from a tank where it was contained.

In addition, at the same power station, a little more than a month prior to the most recent incident, four workers were sent to the hospital after anhydrous ammonia was released into the plant. Exposure to anhydrous ammonia can cause death by suffocation. Overall, the total for the one Florida power utility is higher than the next five utilities combined. The utility has a history of accidents and fines from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

What workers' compensation benefits are available to me?

Workers' compensation benefits are an important protection for workers injured at work. Workers who have been injured at work may have a variety of questions related to workers' compensation benefits. Injured workers and their families, relying on workers' compensation benefits, may wonder what benefits they will receive and in what amount.

In most circumstances, the benefit check is two-thirds of the injured worker's average weekly wage. Benefit checks are paid bi-weekly. The method used to calculate the worker's average weekly wage can be complicated so it is important for the injured worker to understand how the benefits are calculated and ensure they receive the benefit amount they should receive. Within 21 days of the injury being reported by the worker's employer, the injured worker should begin receiving benefit checks.

Key points about medical treatment and workers' compensation

When Floridians suffer injury on the job or become ill due to their work they do, they can seek workers' compensation benefits. These benefits will cover for wages, allow them time to recover, and pay for medical expenses. However, people need to be cognizant of their responsibilities. Regardless of whether it is necessary to seek emergency medical attention or it is less serious but still meets the requirements for workers' compensation, there are certain things that a claimant must do. Remembering how this applies to medical treatment is vital.

When the person goes to see the doctor, he or she must tell the doctor what happened with a full description of the incident that led to the injury or way in which the injury occurred. The doctor will ask questions regarding any medical issues or injuries from the past and the person must answer them truthfully. The injury and if it was related to work must be discussed. If it was linked to work, it will need to be determined if the person can work or not.

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