Construction workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Most construction sites feature numerous hazards.
Whether your job requires you to work on a scaffold high above the ground, or labor in trenches below street level, you are exposed to constant risks.
Heavy machinery, dangerous equipment, toxic chemicals: these are all everyday risks for most construction workers.
If you have been hurt on the job as a construction worker, you are probably worried about how you’re going to pay your bills while you recover.
For most construction professionals, workers’ compensation benefits are available to help pay medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Call a West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your case.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Under Florida law, nearly all employers are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance.
Employers with four or more full- or part-time employees must carry this insurance, and employers in the construction industry with at least one employee must maintain workers’ compensation insurance.
Here are some other basic facts about workers’ compensation:
1. No-fault system: Workers are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits, even if they were at fault in the accident.
As long as your injury occurred within the scope of your employment, you are most likely qualified to receive benefits.
2. Subcontractors must provide workers’ compensation coverage: One issue that frequently surfaces in the construction industry is whether a job’s general contractor or subcontractors are responsible for purchasing workers’ compensation coverage for their workers.
Under Section 440.10 of the Florida Statutes, subcontractors must carry workers’ compensation coverage.
If a worker gets hurt on the job and the subcontractor does not have coverage, the worker can go up the chain to the general contractor.
The general contractor must provide workers’ compensation coverage, but the law also allows the general contractor to recover the cost of the claim from the subcontractor who should have offered coverage in the first place. The bottom line is that the injured worker is protected, no matter what.
3. The insurance carrier chooses the doctor: Workers are often surprised that they are typically not permitted to select their own doctor when they file a workers’ compensation claim.
The workers’ compensation insurance carrier chooses the doctor, however, workers are allowed a one-time change of doctor request.
If the insurance company fails to select a new doctor within a certain timeframe, the worker can go to the doctor of his or her choice.
In most cases, once a worker has filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, he or she is precluded from pursuing a negligence case against the employer.
Workers’ compensation is a complex area of law, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you need to file a claim.
Third-party Negligence Claims
Construction work sites have a lot of moving parts. Someone or something is always coming or going. They are beehives of activity, which means they are a prime location for serious accidents.
In some situations, a third party’s negligence caused the worker’s injury. For example, maybe the company that manufactured the scaffolding made a dangerously flawed product that collapsed, causing an injury.
Or perhaps the cement company’s truck backed into a forklift, causing a worker to suffer a catastrophic injury.
These scenarios happen much more often than you might realize. In these cases, an injured worker may be able to pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party negligence lawsuit against the individual or company responsible for the accident.
Get more information about workers’ compensation benefits in Florida:
- Can My Employer Fire Me While I’m Out on Workers’ Compensation?
- What Do I Do If My Workers’ Comp Benefits Are Late?
Call a West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Lawyer about Your Case
Getting hurt on the job can be terrifying. Not only must you deal with the pain and inconvenience of an injury, but now your livelihood is in jeopardy.
Injuries might heal, but they don’t always heal quickly. In some cases, you never quite bounce back. In these cases, you may need to pursue permanent total disability benefits.
A West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyers can help you get justice for your injuries. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer about your case.