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Posts Tagged "Workers Compensation"

Would Teen Killed In Bark Blower Accident Have A Wrongful Death Case In Florida?

Posted by on Jan 8, 2015 in Work-Related Injuries

Would Teen Killed In Bark Blower Accident Have A Wrongful Death Case In Florida?

It is always tragic when a young person dies in an accident.  Our minds and hearts are always drawn to the idea of “what could have been” had the young person’s life not been taken.  When there is no sense of justice for the surviving family members after experiencing the loss, those feelings are often magnified even more. It was through this lens that I read a story on insurancejournal.com about a Washington mulch/landscaping company that was recently fined $199,000 by the State of Washington after the death of one of its teenage workers.  Apparently a 19-year-old was working on a bark blower truck outside someone’s home when he was accidentally ground to death by an auger.  (As I understand it, the auger is a screw-like device that turns in the bark truck and draws the bark into the vacuum hose that blows bark into a flowerbed.) The State of Washington Department of Labor and Industries investigated the accident and determined that the employer was regularly having its employees (many of them young people) climb into the trucks and clear out the bark while the blower machines were stilling running.  In this instance, the dead 19-year old was on his first week on-the-job.  The State of Washington punished the company with the large fine (although it is likely none of this fine money will go to the dead man’s surviving family.) I wonder if the young man’s parents were pursuing a wrongful death claim – aside from any benefits that might be available under Washington’s Workers’ Compensation system.  As many readers already know, Worker’s Compensation is really designed to get people back to work quickly.  It is not really an adequate way to recover fair and reasonable damages for workers or their families — particularly in a wrongful death case. Unfortunately, in Florida, it is very unlikely that the young man’s parents would be able to mount a successful wrongful death claim (as opposed to a Workers’ Compensation claim.)  Under Florida law an employer can only be held liable for traditional wrongful death damages if there is evidence that the employer knew with virtual certainty that a worker would be killed by a dangerous condition.  If the employer should have only suspected or guessed that a condition might kill someone, the worker’s family loses under Florida law.  Under Florida law, if workers in a bark blower truck regularly escaped injury cleaning out the auger, it is unlikely that the employer would be held civilly liable. As anyone reading this post can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult burden to meet.  Therefore, many employers are never held civilly liable for the full measure of a dead worker’s damages.  This, of course, is incredibly unjust, but does illustrate how strong the business lobby is in the Florida Legislature. Nevertheless, sometimes successful claims can be made.  They just need to be assessed...

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Was Driver Who Crashed Into Winter Park Construction Workers Drunk, Distracted, or Both?

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Motor vehicle accidents

Was Driver Who Crashed Into Winter Park Construction Workers Drunk, Distracted, or Both?

Two road construction workers were injured in our own backyard here in Winter Park last week, when a driver drove through a construction zone and pinned them against a tractor.  The driver apparently didn’t even know it had happened: A later report indicates that the driver, Arnold Kleine, has been charged with D.U.I. (driving under the influence of alcohol.) Alcohol may not have been Mr. Kleine’s only driving issue, however. Remarkably, he admitted to local news reporters that he was looking down at this phone when he drove into the construction area. As a Florida car accident lawyer, there are a bunch of interesting legal issues here. First, Mr. Kleine could face punitive damages claims from each construction worker if his intoxication contributed to the crash. Second, both of these workers will likely be covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance from their employers for their initial medical expenses since they appear to have been on-the-job at the time that they were injured. However, receipt of these Workers’ Compensation benefits does not foreclose the workers from pursuing claims against the negligent driver. If they do recover any money from the negligent driver, they will have to pay back their Worker’s Compensation carrier for any benefits paid on their behalf. If you have any questions regarding a Florida distracted driving accident, or an accident involving a drunk driver, or you are an injured worker who has been injured by the negligence of a third-party who not related to your company, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen or Robert Hemphill at...

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Injured Sanford Officer May Recover Money, Even If Hit-And-Run Driver Never Found

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Motor vehicle accidents

Injured Sanford Officer May Recover Money, Even If Hit-And-Run Driver Never Found

WESH.com recently reported that a Sanford police officer was injured when he approached two men rolling a marijuana cigarette in a car in the parking lot of the Barn nightclub near downtown Sanford. Apparently, when the men (who also had a gun in their vehicle) realized that they were about to be in serious trouble, the driver of the vehicle sped away – trapping the officer momentarily between two vehicles. The officer was reported to have suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.  Nevertheless, it is clear that the actions of this driver caused the office some kind of injuries.  We certainly hope they are not severe. Even though police are still looking for the unidentified driver that caused this crash, this doesn’t mean that the Sanford policy officer is without means to collect damages or money for his injures.  Because he was on-the-job when he became injured, the hurt officer is entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits which will cover all of his medical expenses and two-thirds of any lost wages he experiences as a result of this incident and his injuries. In addition, the injured officer can also make an Uninsured Motorist claim under his own automobile insurance policy (assuming he carried this specific kind of coverage — which he should) for any unpaid lost wages, as well as for past and future pain and suffering, inconvenience, disability, or impairment. Some insurance carriers, however, have strict rules about the timely reporting of hit-and-run accidents, so the injured deputy should not delay contacting his insurance company. If you have any questions following a Florida car accident, whether it is hit-and-run or involves an insured or uninsured motorist, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.  You can also order a FREE copy of Kim’s book, Asleep At The Wheel:  13 Mistakes Insurance Companies Desperately Hope You Will Make After Your Florida Car Accident, by clicking...

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