Worker Recently Killed Highlights the Limitations of Florida’s Worker’s Compensation Laws

A worker recently was killed on a worksite in Lake Worth Beach when a dump truck fell on him as it was backing up on a job site according to a report from WPTV. Another employee was visually guiding the driver of the dump truck as it was backing up. However, the driver did not realize there also was another employee present on the driver’s side of the vehicle at the time. The dump truck, which weighed 70,000 lbs. when fully loaded, then became stuck as it was backing up, likely due to the weight of the fully loaded truck as it tried to back up on an unpaved road. The driver then dumped part of the truck’s load in an attempt to free the truck, which caused the truck to become unstable and fall onto its side, straight onto the employee who was present on the driver’s side of the truck. He was killed at the scene according to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. While the deceased worker’s family and loved ones would be entitled to death benefits under Florida’s worker’s compensation laws, the benefits available under those laws are often wholly inadequate to compensate for a loved one’s death on the job.

Therefore, in this scenario, it is particularly important to have an experienced attorney representing you who will explore the possibility of bringing an action or claim against a third party who had some role in the workplace fatality given that a wrongful death claim against a third party would not have the same caps as a worker’s compensation claim against the deceased worker’s employer. A third-party claim or action will enable the deceased worker’s family to recover compensation in excess of what is permitted under Florida’s worker’s compensation laws. This is particularly important in attempting to make the family of a deceased worker whole for their loss.

The Limits of Compensation Available under Florida’s Worker’s Compensation Laws if a Loved One is Killed on the Job

While Florida’s worker’s compensation laws provide for death benefits to the family of a worker that is killed on the job, the benefits that a deceased worker’s family is entitled to are often completely insufficient to truly compensate a family for the death of a loved one. The maximum payable for a death on the job is $150,000 in lost wages and $7,500 for funeral and burial expenses. These maximum benefits often are insufficient to truly make up for the loss of someone who may have been a family’s primary breadwinner for lost wages that can total into millions of dollars depending on the age of the deceased worker. Given the age of the decedent, this can be a catastrophic loss as compared with what that worker would have made over a lifetime.

What Is the Solution?

The solution for the family of a deceased worker that finds itself in this tragic situation is typically to find a way to pursue a claim or a lawsuit against a third party that may have had some role in the worker’s death other than the deceased worker’s employer to enable the deceased worker’s family to recover more than the limited benefits available under worker’s compensation. Pursuing a third party means that the decedent’s family can be compensated for its pain and suffering and there are no artificially low caps in such action like there would be with its available in a worker’s compensation death benefits scenario. In the example above, this could mean pursuing a claim against the manufacturer of the truck that fell on and killed the worker or another third party other than the decedent’s employer if that third party somehow contributed to the situation that occurred.

Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 200 years of combined experience representing the victims of worksite accidents and other personal injury scenarios in Florida. We understand the limitations of the benefits available under Florida’s worker’s compensation laws and we will explore whatever third party claims and action may be necessary to fully compensate our clients for the death of a loved one on the job. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in Florida, including a workplace incident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.