Trinity is a relatively new town nestled between golf courses and other burgeoning communities on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Like many communities in Florida, Trinity is growing—nearly 10 percent in the last decade—and owes many of its jobs to construction.
The people building our community are proud of this growth. However, construction jobs are not without their dangers. Accidents happen, from concrete and steel to excavation. If a Trinity construction accident injures you, a construction accident lawyer may help.
At Perenich Law Injury Attorneys, our legal team dedicates their lives to supporting clients. The information below provides some helpful pointers on what to do if a construction accident injures you.
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Hazards of a construction job
Accidents happen despite strict safety regulations, including lifting requirements, hardhats, and hazardous materials protocols. Falling debris, hits by heavy equipment, sprains, back pulls, heavy items falling on your feet, or hand and arm injuries are common injuries from construction accidents. Any accidents on the job are work-related accidents, and you should report them to your supervisor, no matter how minor they may seem.
Slip and fall accidents result in over half of all workplace fatalities. Guardrails, harness systems, and other personal fall protection systems are required for heights over six feet on structures in a construction zone. Special care and training are required to prevent electrocution when working with electricity.
Construction workers often work with exposed wires, high-test power lines, and even tall vehicles such as cranes and lifts that could come into contact with power lines. Cutting through extension cords is a further potential electrocution threat.
Being caught between objects is another threat, such as between equipment and immovable objects or having a limb caught in the working parts of machinery. Objects that aren’t properly tied down pose a threat, such as pipes or lumber, which could crush anyone nearby.
Construction involves many different elements, and if not properly maintained or checked for safety, any number of these could result in injury or death.
Injuries common to construction
Here are just some of the injuries that can happen on a construction job.
- TBI/Spinal cord injuries: Construction worksites have the potential for spinal cord injuries and TBIs due to objects falling from height. A hardhat can only do so much to protect its wearer from bricks or lumber falling from several stories up.
- Burns: Fuel, welding material, electricity, and even building materials such as hot tar or asphalt pose a risk for burns on employees. According to Florida law, permanent Total Disability comes when second and third-degree burns cover at least 25 percent of a person’s body or more than 5 percent of their face and hands.
- Blindness: Injuries to one or both eyes resulting in partial or complete blindness are a concern, especially with sparks, caustic substances, and flying debris.
- Crush injuries: Open-pit construction sites, ditches, and other below-ground areas require appropriate shoring and reinforcement. Otherwise, a collapse could result in crushing and suffocation.
- Back/shoulder injuries: Construction requires physical effort, commonly leading to back and shoulder injuries, especially when lifting heavy objects. Improper training, support, and safety equipment such as harnesses and braces, and even short-staffed crews, might lead to avoidable injuries. With extensive physical therapy and even surgeries, injuries can take a long time to heal.
- Vehicle accidents: Proper training, regular maintenance, and safe vehicle use reduce or even prevent accidents. Exceeding load limits, poorly maintained hydraulics, and worn vehicle tires can cause machinery failures, which might injure bystanders and operators. It is up to the construction company to keep its vehicles in good working order and provide proper training to employees.
- Contusions: Blunt force impacts frequently happen on worksites, from accidents involving tools or falling objects, vehicles, or even explosions, among other hazards.
- Lung infections: Certain solvents and exposure to hazardous materials such as asbestos, coal dust, fiberglass, and propellant can lead to lung damage.
- Exposure to harmful substances: Caustic substances such as cleaners, solvents, acids, and other chemicals can cause burns, tissue deterioration, and even damage to your central nervous system over time.
- Cuts: Whether using a blade, saw, or another cutting tool, misjudgment can cause the tool to slice through your flesh, damaging skin, muscle, ligaments, and even bone. Severe cuts from saws or sharp metal surfaces can cause significant blood loss and even disfigurement or loss of life or limb.
- Abrasions: Falling on surfaces is common, especially with widespread debris such as sawdust, loose concrete, or rock. Despite the worksite hazards, employers must maintain a relatively safe environment clear of debris, use signs to indicate hazards, and require protective clothing and other gear.
- Punctures: Nails, screws, sharp metal, and other sharp objects can lead to puncture wounds, which are painful and can result in infection.
Employers must keep their workplaces as safe as possible for their employees, providing safety equipment, adequate training, and first aid or fire suppression equipment as needed.
Florida employers must post the Florida workers’ compensation policies in break rooms or other worksite common areas. In case of an injury, an employee has 30 days to report an incident to their supervisor to begin the workers’ compensation process. The workers’ compensation insurer will assign an approved doctor to the injured employee.
For work-related emergencies, workers’ compensation will cover emergency care regardless of whether or not the doctor is on the approved list of medical care providers. The doctor’s instructions will determine the extent of the injuries and the approximate time the injured employee will need to be covered with compensation.
The insurer must pay medical bills related to the work injury, medications, rehabilitation, and even mileage associated with treatment. Workers’ compensation insurers often lowball the injured party, complicate the issue, or change the goalposts to avoid paying the injured their entitled amount.
Throughout this process, document everything related to the injury. Be sure to comply with doctor’s visits and physical therapy sessions to demonstrate your commitment to recovery. Documentation of your injuries and recovery efforts are crucial if you later go to court.
Permanent Total Disability: According to Florida statutes, employees receive 2/3 of their pay (66.67 percent), paid every two weeks, of the average of the last 13 weeks’ pay, including bonuses, overtime, wages, tips, etc. Compensation for Permanent Total Disability covers injury for major, life-changing events such as loss of limb, paralysis, limited cerebral function, severe brain damage, blindness, and severe burns. The Permanent Total Disability benefits typically extend up through the age of 75. The insurer will also pay for vocational rehabilitation if possible.
Temporary Total Disability: Injuries resulting in TTD also afford the injured to receive 2/3 of their wages, paid every two weeks; however, they are limited to 104 weeks of benefits. This amount can change depending on the severity of the injury, such as loss of limb or eyesight. Your doctors can demonstrate that you are recovering from your injuries or have the potential to recover. Otherwise, your injuries must be further assessed.
Third-Party Lawsuits for damages
Negligence on the part of a corporation often occurs when the corporation cuts corners to save money to increase profits. Workers should expect to work in healthy conditions with the appropriate equipment, training, and oversight to ensure their health and safety. Companies, organizations, and even State and local governments can be held liable for endangering their workers with poor work conditions. Taking the matter to court gives the worker a voice.
Other resources are available to use for their clients. Through mediation, getting a cash settlement, and even taking the matter to court against a third party, you can get the compensation you deserve for your injuries through a third-party lawsuit. Workers’ compensation does not account for pain and suffering damages, and the insurer is not liable under current statutes. Injured workers do have the option to sue a third party who might be responsible for damages to compensate for their injuries.
Dealing with insurance companies
Insurance companies often look to protect their bottom line. By lowballing payouts and finding an excuse to either limit or cancel your compensation, they stand to save thousands of dollars. Litigation is necessary when the dispute is beyond compromise and must be decided in court.
Seeking compensation for your construction injury can be time-consuming and frustrating, even if you don’t have to go to court.
During your recovery, you have your physical and mental health to consider. To protect your rights and get the maximum compensation you deserve, hire an attorney to ensure you have the tools to fight for your rights.
Contact Perenich Law Injury Attorneys
Denials of workers’ compensation claims do happen. The insurer may cut your benefits if the insurer determines that your injuries are insufficient to be covered at the level of disability, a pre-existing condition might affect your claim, or your wages were improperly assessed to lowball your bi-weekly compensation.
An administrative appeals process that follows claim denials allows you to have your claim reviewed. Going to court is unusual for a workers’ compensation claim, but it does happen.
A skilled attorney familiar with Workers’ Compensation laws can help you navigate the system, from the initial report of an injury to mediation with the insurer or a third party. If your case goes before a judge regarding your compensation, disability status, or the amount you are entitled to receive due to your injuries, you will need a skilled attorney to argue your case.
The injuries sustained during a workplace accident can be extensive, life-changing, and limit your ability to provide the same quality of life for yourself and your dependents. Contact Perenich Law Injury Attorneys today at (727) 877-8831 if a construction accident injures you.
Perenich Law Injury Attorneys – Trinity Office