Recovery Beyond Workers’ Compensation For Injured Employees
Construction accidents involving employees are common on construction sites. Generally, employers in the construction industry who employ more than one part-time or full-time employee are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. While workers’ compensation is very helpful, it only pays a certain amount of money and does not cover other non-economic losses that may be recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit.
Unless certain exceptions are present in a particular case, when an employee is injured on a construction site, he can only receive compensation through Florida’s workers’ compensation system. This means that in many cases, it is unlikely that an injured employee can get compensated for his or her injuries through a workers’ compensation claim, and also be able to sue for personal injury.
Exception To The Exclusivity Of Workers’ Compensation As An Injured Employee’s Remedy
The exception to the exclusivity of workers’ compensation as a remedy for an injured employee applies when:
- The employer fails to secure workers’ compensation insurance. When this happens, an injured employee, or a legal representative if the employee died from the injuries, can chose to receive compensation under Florida’s workers’ compensation law or through a personal injury lawsuit; and,
- The employer commits an intentional wrongful act towards the employee.
If an employee can show that any of these two situations apply to his claim, then he may be able to bring a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for the injuries sustained. When it comes to the second exception, in which an employer is accused of having intentionally committed a wrongful act towards the employee, the law requires the employee to show by clear and convincing evidence that:
- The employer deliberately meant to injure him; or
- The employer engaged in conduct that he knew would cause injuries or death based on similar accidents in the past or through warnings. Additionally, if the employer conceals dangerous conditions on the work site from the injured employee, the employer’s behavior is considered an intentional wrongful act.
If the employer fails to secure workers’ compensation insurance, or commits an intentional wrongful act against the employee and this results in injury, the employer is restricted from asserting certain defenses if the injured employee sues. Defenses that would look to the comparative negligence of the employee are specifically prohibited under these circumstances under Florida’s workers’ compensation law.
Other Construction Injuries
Workers who are injured while using a defective tool or machine may in some cases be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the tool or machine based on defective product claim. Pedestrians and other parties who are not working at the construction site who get injured, for example by falling debris, may have a personal injury claim if they can show that the contractor or subcontractor was negligent in ensuring that the construction site was safe.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney
If you sustained serious injuries at a construction site, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Even if you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you may have additional options for recovering for your injuries. Contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Boone & Davis, PA, for a consultation today.