Two recent tragedies highlight a basic challenge in Florida law. The deaths of two workers at two of the state’s biggest amusement parks stress the limitations placed on surviving family members when a loved one is killed on the job. In one case, a SeaWorld worker was killed by an orca during training for a show. At Walt Disney World, a Florida train accident on the monorail caused the death of a Disney World employee. In both cases, state workers compensation laws mean that the families will be able to receive a maximum $150 000 for income lost and an additional $7 500 for funeral expenses.
This is because in Florida when an employee is injured at work, the employee has legal resource only through workers’ compensation. The company pays into an insurance company and if an employee is injured this company pays workers’ compensation benefits to pay for lost income, medical costs, and related costs. In turn, the company is safe from Florida personal injury lawsuits and the workers does not have to prove fault while still getting payment for necessary expenses.
In many cases, the system works. However, in cases where there is a loss of life, workers’ compensation benefits can seem small compared to the scope of the tragedy. As a result, Florida law does allow some exceptions to the usual workers’ compensation restrictions. For example, in cases where employers do something which is “substantially certain” to cause fatalities or injuries or in cases where employers harm employees intentionally, employees and their families can pursue a legal claim.
Of course, this can pose a legal challenge. It means that an injured worker must be able to show in court that the employer should have known that the actions were likely to cause injury or fatalities. Proving what an employer knew or should have known often requires legal professionals as well as investigative professionals. For this reason, many injured workers seek the help of a Florida personal injury attorney.
A Florida personal injury attorney can show in court that an employer was negligent. As well, attorneys usually work with expert witnesses and professional investigators to gather evidence which may not be available to the injured worker. This evidence can help show whether an employer was in fact negligent and therefore liable.
If you have been injured in a Florida job, it is important to contact a Florida attorney before you sign away any of your rights. Contact the Flaxman Law Group – there is always someone at our phones, 24 hours a day, so that you can get instant help and advice. Our legal team is located in Homestead, Hollywood, and Miami, so we cover the entire Southern Florida area. We have worked with thousands of Florida personal injury patients, so we have extensive trail and insurance industry experience.