Fort Lauderdale Work Injury Lawyers
When we leave our homes to work, we believe we will return how we left; safe and sound. However, accidents can occur at our workplace or outside our office on official duty. When this happens, we can suffer from a work injury.
There are several causes that can lead to work injuries, and injured workers deserve compensation. However, seeking a settlement after a work accident can sometimes be complicated, especially when third parties are involved. In these instances, there is usually the question of whether the employer or third party is responsible.
This is why working with Fort Lauderdale work injury lawyers is always a great idea. An attorney goes beyond protecting your rights to ensuring you seek what you deserve. Contact the work injury attorneys at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers if you or a loved one are injured at work.What Causes Injury in the Workplace?
In the United States, there were 4,764 fatal work injuries in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That same year, private industry employers reported 2.7 million injuries and illnesses.
According to the National Safety Council Injury Facts, the top three causes of workplace injuries are:
- Exposure to harmful substances or environments
- Overexertion and bodily reaction
- Slips, trips, and falls
Continuous chronic exposure to harmful substances or environments causes harm to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, workers. Examples include exposure to:
- Radiation and noise
- Traumatic or stressful events
- Oxygen deficiency
- Extreme temperatures
- Air and water pressure change
Overexertion and bodily reaction are common among workers who pull, push and lift objects. Such people work in the manufacturing and construction industries. It often causes non-impact injuries and repetitive motion injuries.Slip, Trips, and Falls
Several objects in offices could cause you to trip and fall. This is more common if you work in the construction industry or a manufacturing plant. The following are examples of this type of accident:
- Slips and trips without falling
- Falling on the same level, e.g., tripping, falling from a seat, falling into an object on the same level, etc.
- Falling to a lower level, e.g., falling through a surface, a collapsing structure, ladder, roofs, scaffolds, etc.
Other known causes of workplace injuries include:Contact With Objects and Equipment
Another cause of workplace injuries is contact with objects and equipment. This can happen in any office, but it is more common in industries with machinery and constant movement of objects. Examples of this type of accident include:
- A moving object striking workers
- Workers colliding with an object or equipment, such as bumping into, kicking, stepping on, being pushed, or being thrown onto an object.
- Workers’ body parts can be pinched, squeezed, compressed, or crushed by a piece of equipment between moving or shifting objects, in a wire or rope, or between stationary objects.
- Being struck, caught, or crushed in a piece of equipment, collapsing structure, or material.
- An injury by friction or vibration.
Being distracted at work can be as dangerous as driving without concentration. It could cause an accident that leaves you or a colleague injured. One common cause of distraction in the workplace is boredom.
Workers stuck performing the same job can easily become bored and lose focus. Therefore, take scheduled breaks in between tasks. Doing this will reduce accidents caused by distraction as you will return to your job refreshed and energized.Transportation Accidents
Transportation accidents can happen within or outside the office. For example, this kind of accident can occur in a parking garage or when an employee drives a trolley or forklift.
Transportation collisions happen outside the office when an employee is involved in a crash while performing a work function. It could also be that driving a vehicle is the person’s main work function. This is the case with truck and delivery van drivers.
These accidents could be caused by an employee or another driver on the road. In either case, the victim is entitled to seek a financial settlement through a workers’ compensation claim or third-party action. Our Fort Lauderdale work injury lawyers can help you determine the proper suit to file (by appointment only).What Are the Common Types of Workplace Injuries in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?
The following are the most common injuries sustained in a work-related accident:Back Injuries
Back injuries happen when you fall on your back. It could be a sprain or strain caused by overstretching a muscle in the back or tearing a ligament. A sprain or strain also results in inflammation, which can cause severe lower back pain and difficulty moving.
A back injury can also cause a herniated disc or fractured vertebrae. Both wounds can cause pain and limit movement. Treatments include conservative modalities like bed rest, icing, medication, and physical therapy.Head and Neck Injuries
Neck injuries are also quite common in workplaces, especially when you fall from a height. The most common neck wounds include muscle strain, neck sprain, fracture or break in the cervical bone, whiplash, stingers, and burners.
A head injury occurs when someone suffers a blow to the head. It often results in scalp wounds, skull fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
TBI can have life-altering effects if not adequately treated or detected on time. Therefore, even if you feel fine after a blow to the head, ensure you seek medical treatment to rule out a traumatic brain injury.Broken Bones
Broken bones are common in falls and transportation accidents — bone fractures are caused when the body receives more pressure than it can handle. Broken bones can either be simple or complex; the latter is more difficult to treat and could lead to a disability depending on the severity.Repetitive Stress Injuries
A repetitive stress injury (RSI) or overuse syndrome results from repetitive movements of certain body parts. It is standard among people who work with computers and must type daily.
RSIs cause a lot of pain and affect the muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. Although repetitive stress injuries are self-diagnosable, it is best to see a medical professional and be treated by them.Burns
Burn is more common than people think in the workplace, especially for those who work in manufacturing plants. Workplace burn injuries are caused by:
- The heat from fire, steam, hot liquids, and other hot objects
- Contact with industrial or household chemicals in liquid, gas, or solid forms
- Radiation exposure from X-rays, UV lights, sun lamps, etc.
- Electrical currents
The severity of the burn injury determines how long you will spend in the hospital. It also factors in when seeking compensation and affects what a fair outcome looks like.Crushed Limbs
A crush injury is the compression of a body part such as arms and legs that causes muscle swelling and neurological problems in the affected area. These wounds are common when a person is stuck between two pieces of heavy machinery or in high-impact head-on collisions.
Other injuries workers can sustain in the workplace include:
- Bruises, cuts, scrapes
- Pulled, strained, or sprained muscles
- Soft tissue injuries
- Toxic exposure
- Respiration problems
If you sustain any of these wounds, seek medical care immediately, and contact a Fort Lauderdale work injury lawyer afterward.What Type of Claim Can I File for a Workplace Injury?
Winning your work injury case starts with knowing the type of claim to file. Generally, work injury cases can either be a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. We discuss both below.Workers’ Compensation Claim
Florida employers with four or more full-time or part-time workers are legally mandated to buy workers’ compensation insurance. The policy pays for medical treatment and lost wages of the injured employees as long as they sustained the wound when conducting a work function. The latter could be within or outside the employer’s place of business.
The person may also be awarded disability benefits if the wound leaves them disabled, and relatives of deceased workers may have death benefits. The work comp process is not fault-based, meaning it doesn't always matter who is at fault.
Also, the injured worker cannot file a lawsuit against their employer. There is an exception to this. The person can file a personal injury action where the employer intentionally caused the accident that harmed or was willfully negligent.
In this instance, the employee can also ask for non-economic and punitive damages from the court. However, the two are generally unavailable under the work comp system.
To file a successful lawsuit against your employer, it is recommended to find experienced work injury attorneys in Fort Lauderdale. Contact our law firm for more information.Personal Injury Lawsuit
Aside from the exception mentioned above, there is another instance where an injured Fort Lauderdale worker can file a personal injury lawsuit for a work injury. This involves cases where a third-party action caused the accident. Third parties likely to be defendants in a personal injury case are:
- Colleagues: Sometimes, colleagues have misunderstandings that might lead to a fight at work. If this happens, although the victim suffered injuries while at work, they did not do so while carrying out their official duty. As a result, workers’ compensation is unavailable, and the only way to seek compensation is by filing a lawsuit against the colleague who injured them.
- Equipment Manufacturers: Equipment sometimes malfunctions. When it does, you must first determine if it is a manufacturer defect or from lack of maintenance.
- You may need to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. However, proving the manufacturer’s defect is not an easy task. Therefore, ensure you work with an experienced legal team in Fort Lauderdale.
- Drivers: If you were involved in a transportation accident outside of work, the first thing to do is determine liability. Doing this helps to ascertain whether you or the other party caused the accident. The at-fault party is likely responsible if you did not cause the crash.
In personal injury actions, you may be awarded compensatory and punitive damages.Compensatory Damages
As the name implies, compensatory damages compensate you for your physical injury, financial and property losses, and emotional and psychological damage. It is classified as economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages pay for the financial losses with a fixed dollar value. Examples includes:
- Medical expenses
- Cost of repairs or replacement of personal property
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Cost of rehabilitative care and physical therapy
- Funeral and burial expenses where the worker dies
Non-economic damages pay for non-financial losses that have no fixed dollar value. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
Punitive damages are the opposite of compensatory damages. Although they are awarded to a victim, the aim is not to compensate them but to punish the at-fault party. Punitive damages also deter the negligent party or others from similar conduct in the future.
To be awarded punitive damages, you must show that the at-fault party behaved grossly or maliciously. Finally, Florida law caps punitive damages at three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000.What Should I Do After a Work Injury in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?
Winning an injury claim starts from the scene of the accident. However, the actions you take from that moment could make or break your claim. Therefore, you must take the right steps from the beginning.
The following are the steps you should take immediately after a work injury:
- Seek Medical Treatment
Your health should be your priority, so receive medical treatment immediately. If your employer has a recommended physician, we advise you to use them. However, if you need emergency care, receive treatment at the closest hospital, and if still needed, switch to your employer’s recommended doctor.
Being treated helps with documenting your injury and linking it to the accident. Medical records are always a good source of evidence in a work injury claim, so do not neglect this step.
- Gather Evidence
A case is only as strong as the evidence provided. As a result, you need to gather supporting evidence to show that you did not intentionally cause the accident that harmed you.
The standard proof needed is medical records, police or accident reports, witness statements, photographs, and video recordings of the accident. Depending on where the injury happened, you may also need additional proof, such as an accident reconstruction expert’s report and other expert witnesses.
- Hire a Fort Lauderdale Fort Injury Lawyer
The next thing to do is hire a lawyer to represent you. Whether you are filing a work comp claim or a personal injury lawsuit, legal representation will greatly help with the legal process.Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Work Injury Claim?
Legal claims are always subject to a Statute of Limitations. For example, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you have two years to file a work injury claim that did not arise from negligence. If there are elements of negligence in the case, you have four years to commence the action.
The time starts counting from the accident date or when you discovered the event that caused your injury. Failure to file a claim within the time stipulated by the Statute of Limitations makes your case statute-barred, and you cannot seek compensation absent an exception.Why Should I Hire Fort Lauderdale Work Injury Lawyers?
Although employers are mandated to carry work comp insurance, there is no guarantee that you will be awarded compensation after a work accident. Workers’ compensation theft is one of the ways employers withhold employees’ money. Similarly, a defendant in a third-party action might also be unwilling to pay compensation.
These scenarios are why you’ll benefit from Fort Lauderdale work injury lawyers. Not only do lawyers fight for you to seek financial recovery, but they also perform the following functions:
- Investigate the case to determine the value and whether you should settle or proceed to court
- Gather evidence to prove you were not at fault for the accident
- Negotiate a favorable settlement with the other party or parties involved
- Advice you on the best strategy and keep you updated as the case progresses
- Explain the laws on work injury claims
- File an appeal if there is no favorable outcome after the initial claim
Employers and third-party defendants are always more cooperative when you work with an attorney. This is because they know the lawyer will defend your rights in court if they fail to offer you a fair settlement. Therefore, it is more prudent to work with a work injury law firm than to commence a case without one.How Much Will My Fort Lauderdale Work Injury Lawyer Charge?
Work injury attorneys usually work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only take a percentage of the settlement amount if you win. This is usually between 33% to 40%.Were You Injured at Work? Book a Free Consultation Now!
At Frankl Kominky Injury Lawyers, we fight aggressively and passionately work for our clients to seek the compensation they deserve. Book a free case review today by contacting us at (561) 800-8000.