Who is Responsible for my Workplace Injury?
Every day, millions of Americans go to work to bring home a paycheck and provide for themselves and their household. Most go with the expectation that they will be able to perform their jobs safely and come home in one piece. And while no one expects to be injured on the job, workplace injuries are an unfortunate fact of life.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are about 2.8 workplace injuries for every 100 full-time workers in the US across all industries. There are some industries, however, in which the injury and fatality rates are much higher.
According to studies, the top 10 most dangerous occupations in the country are:
- Logging workers.
- Fishers and related fishing workers.
- Aircraft pilots and flight engineers.
- Garbage and waste collectors.
- Commercial drivers and traveling sales workers.
- Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers.
- Structural iron and steel workers.
- Construction trades and extraction workers.
- Landscaping, lawn, and groundskeeping workers.
Various hazards on the job can result in workplace injuries. These include working in high elevations and/or on wet and slippery surfaces (where slips, trips, and falls are more likely to happen), being struck by or struck against a hard object or surface, equipment accidents, overexertion, and transportation accidents.
Hazards like these can result in a wide range of injuries, some of the most common non-fatal workplace injuries include:
- Extreme soreness and pain;
- Bruises, cuts, and lacerations;
- Sprains, strains, and tears;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Rib and torso injuries;
- Repetitive stress injuries;
- Severe burn injuries;
- Fractures/broken bones;
- Crush injuries/amputations;
- Illnesses resulting from exposure to toxic substances.
Who will Compensate Me for My Workplace Injury?
When an employee is injured in the workplace, their first recourse will usually be to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. Most Florida companies are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, and this provides employees with benefits for work-related injuries, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
There are some exceptions to the no-fault provisions in workers’ comp, such as when a workplace injury was self-inflicted, or when a worker was under the influence of alcohol or in violation of another company policy at the time of the accident. There may also be instances when an employer disputes the claim by saying the injury was not work-related.
For example, if you are hurt while you were “off the clock” traveling to or from work or outside of your workplace getting lunch, this injury probably would not be covered. However, if your boss sent you out to pick up lunch for you and your coworkers when the injury occurred, it could still be considered work-related.
If you are having any trouble recovering workers’ compensation benefits that you are entitled to, speak with an experienced attorney right away to discuss your legal options.
In exchange for workers’ compensation being a “no-fault” system, employees are generally barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employers. As far as injuries that are the fault of employers and co-workers are concerned, you would need to pursue benefits through workers’ comp.
Workers’ compensation provides coverage for necessary medical expenses, a percentage of lost earnings, rehabilitation and retraining, and permanent injury. Unfortunately, this program does not provide any way for employees to recover compensation for non-economic losses such as pain-and-suffering, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life. That said, there may still be a way to be compensated for these losses if it turns out that one or more parties outside of your company share responsibility for the workplace accident.
Third-Party Fault for Workplace Injuries
There are a number of third parties that could be at fault for a workplace accident, these may include:
- A subcontractor who is working nearby and causes injury to the employee;
- The driver of another vehicle if the employee is traveling on company time;
- The owner of a property where employee gets hurt while at a company-sponsored event;
- The manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty piece of equipment or machinery that malfunctions and causes a workplace accident.
Injured in a Workplace Accident? Contact Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett for Legal Help
If you or a loved one suffered an injury on the job, there may be multiple ways to recover maximum compensation, depending on the specific circumstances around your injury. The best place to start is to speak with a skilled and knowledgeable workplace accident lawyer to have your case thoroughly assessed.
If your injury occurred in Pensacola or any of the surrounding Florida communities,
contact Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett for assistance. Call our office today at 1-888-219-4561 or message us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.