Work Accidents and the Night Shift in Florida

Employees who suffer injuries while on the job are entitled to compensation. However, it’s common for employers to deny compensation to their injured workers. For example, an employer may claim that an injury didn’t occur within the scope of a worker’s duties or within business hours. 

Can you be compensated if injured during the night shift? 

There is a controversial workers’ compensation issue regarding employees who visit the workplace after-hours, outside of their shift. In this case, if an accident happens in the workplace after-hours and the employee was there for personal reasons, workers’ compensation coverage may not apply. 

In the U.S., working at night is a common occurrence, and approximately 15 million Americans work at night. Working the night shift has its benefits, including higher wages; however, these shifts also have their fair share of risks. There is minimal supervision and night shift workers often end up taking risks that may not be necessary for day shift employees.  

Common night shift employees 

Some employees have to work the night shift to ensure that customers can access services whenever they need them. By comparison, night shift workers are few, while their day shift counterparts are usually more numerous. Typical night shift employees in Florida include:

  • Fast-food workers 
  • Company laborers 
  • Restaurant workers
  • Tollbooth operators 
  • Bartenders 
bartenders among people at higher risk of work accidents during night shift
Bartenders among people at higher risk of work accidents during night shift

Health hazards and accidents 

According to UCLA Health, the majority of night shift workers don’t get enough rest, mainly due to a change in sleep patterns from nighttime to daytime. Sleep deprivation could take a toll on the body, leading to heart ailments, stroke, and high blood pressure. Lack of sufficient sleep could also lead to anxiety, memory loss, concentration issues, immunity issues, and depressive episodes. Working at night is risky, and night shift workers are at a higher risk of injuries, in particular long-term injuries, lasting for more than a month. Drowsiness during work, especially when handling dangerous materials, increases the risk of these injuries. And even if injuries and accidents occur due to employees’ carelessness, they are still entitled to workers’ compensation, just like daytime workers. 

Damages covered by workers’ compensation 

Which damages are covered by workers’ compensation? Workers’ compensation caters to medical expenses incurred while seeking treatment for injuries sustained at work. It covers the cost of the initial diagnosis and analysis, along with follow-up medical visits. Other damages covered under workers’ compensation include rehabilitative treatment and prescription drug costs. Additionally, a worker is also entitled to monetary compensation for lost wages

Overall, the standard coverage for workers’ compensation in Florida includes:

  • Permanent disability
  • Critical injury
  • Retraining and rehabilitation 
  • Medical coverage
  • Death benefits 

You will need the help of an experienced workers’s compensation attorney to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. 

Required workers’ compensation coverage under Florida law 

According to Chapter 440 of the Florida laws, all full-time employees must have coverage under workers’ compensation or self-insurance plans. However, there is an exemption if a company has four or fewer employees. 

Some businesses are more dangerous due to the nature of their work. However, these high-risk companies must have protocols for minimizing injuries in the workplace and must provide coverage for their workers. Companies must adhere to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements and failing to do so may lead to penalties

Compensation for pain and suffering 

In Florida, workers’ compensation covers all medical expenses and lost income but does not cover pain and suffering. For a victim to receive compensation for pain and suffering, they must file a third-party lawsuit against the responsible company or individual. 

Duration of compensation

Florida workers’ compensation laws allow an injured worker to continue receiving temporary compensation for up to 104 weeks. While receiving the benefits, you must remain in a no-work status, under limitations that your employer cannot accommodate. During this period, you may be subject to surveillance. If you find a replacement job while still receiving workers’ compensation, the benefits may be terminated. 

Employees in Florida are entitled to workers’ compensation as long as they suffer injuries at work or on active duty. In the most severe cases where an employee dies due to the injuries sustained in a workplace accident, the employee’s survivors could receive death benefits. Working with a knowledgeable Florida workers’ compensation attorney at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates, P.A. makes the process of seeking compensation simpler. Contact us or call (561) 566-5598 today for a free case evaluation. 

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