Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: Florida District Court of Appeal Chalks Up Another “W” for Employers

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured, contact our Fort Lauderdale construction lawyers today.

As a North Miami Construction Site Injury Lawyer, Florida courts continue to hold that employees seeking to recover damages for wrongful conduct of their employer should be forever barred from the pursuit of their claims.  Ultimately, Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law is structured so that employees injured on the job may recover benefits as quickly and as efficiently as possible.  While Florida law is geared toward assisting the injured worker recover his or her workers’ compensation benefits, the law is the exact opposite when it comes to employees injured on the job looking to file suit against their employer.

This past week, the District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida came down with a decision further affirming the difficulty in bringing a lawsuit by an employee against his or her employer. In “List Industries, Inc. v. Dalien,” the Florida Workers’ Compensation Immunity Statute 440.11 was the subject of the lawsuit, and at trial the jury awarded an injured employee $2.7 million in damages.  Ultimately, the District Court of Appeal reversed the Trial Court’s ruling and held that the employee failed to prove his case by “clear and convincing” evidence as required by the statute.

Being a North Miami Beach construction lawyer that helps injured workers, I am constantly attempting to work around the strict parameters of Florida Statute 440.11.  According to that statute, when an employee injured on the job receives workers’ compensation benefits and then retains a Florida personal injury lawyer to recover damages in a lawsuit, the injured party must prove each and every element by clear and convincing evidence. This is a higher burden of proof than your typical personal injury case in Florida.

This is the statute that the Florida District Court of Appeal relied upon in rendering its holding on January 23, 2013.  Essentially, the appellate court held that the arguments raised by the South Florida construction lawyer representing the injured worker failed to meet the extremely high burden of clear and convincing evidence.  Ultimately, 440.11 specifies that in order to hold an employer liable, the employee’s Florida construction attorney must prove that the employer’s conduct had risen to the level of an intentional act.  In the previously mentioned case of “List Industries, Inc.,” the appellate court held that even though the employer’s conduct could be viewed as negligent, it certainly does not rise to the level of an intentional act, which is required by Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Immunity Statute 440.11.

While this case is not positive for injured workers in Southeast Florida that look to retain attorneys to sue their employer, this appellate court holding does not entirely prevent lawsuits of this nature from being filed.  However, Fort Myers construction lawyers must be meticulous and extremely careful before pursuing a claim under 440.11.

Injured? Contact our Cape Coral Construction Lawyers today!

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: Is the World Trade Center construction site cursed?

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a construction accident, contact our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys today.

We certainly do not need to recount the tragic events of 9/11, nor do we need to relive the devastation that the World Trade Center endured.  Moving forward, a new World Trade building is being constructed, and naturally, issues have arisen during the course of this project.  With any construction project, accidents are inevitable, but for massive projects such as the World Trade, incidents seem to occur more frequently.

This past Wednesday, a fire erupted at the World Trade construction site.  According to reports, the New York Fire Department responded to the scene after being notified that a storage container at the site had become engulfed with flames.  At this juncture, it remains unclear as to the cause of the blaze, but at the very least, no injuries have been reported as of yet.  There is no question that this site commonly referred to as “ground zero” has endured significant hardship, but as 2012 comes to a close, the number of construction site accidents have been overwhelming.

As a Fort Myers construction lawyer that sues companies for construction site accidents, I am rarely surprised when I hear about incidents similar to that detailed above.  Because when it comes down to it, construction zones pose extremely dangerous conditions for its workers.  However, the number of construction accidents occurring at the World Trade Center construction site this year are mind-boggling.

Beginning on February 16, a crane accident occurred resulting in the free-fall of a steel beam dropping 40 stories onto a flatbed truck — resulting in no injuries.  A few months later on June 2, the 89th floor of the new World Trade tower caught fire, but luckily no injuries were reported.  Later that same month, a construction worker fell onto a piece of metal that pierced his side, which resulted in a leg injury.  In July, another worker had been injured after a large steel beam rolled over onto his leg, which required hospital treatment.  Then in August, a construction worker suffered a trip and fall that required treatment for minor injuries.  Lastly, one month before the fire that occurred this past Wednesday, a worker had been struck by a piece of overhead pipe that became dislodged — causing a minor head wound.

Being a Naples personal injury lawyer that helps those hurt in construction accidents, not one incident occurring at the World Trade construction site this past year is shocking to me.  Whether the construction company does everything completely correct in managing the site, or is negligent in some fashion, a North Miami Beach construction lawyer has most likely helped a client involved in the same or similar accident.  These construction accidents occurring this past year are not abnormal, but the larger the site, the larger the possibility of an incident occurring.

Injured?  Contact our Cape Coral personal injury attorneys today.

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: 2 Workers Injured After Steel Beam Collapse

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured, contact our Fort Lauderdale construction lawyers today.

Just yesterday on a construction site at the University of Utah, two construction workers were seriously injured when a large steel beam collapsed.  According to reports, the construction workers had been lifting the beam when they lost control and it came crashing down on top of them.  The construction company had been performing work to a new building on the campus of the University of Utah at the time of this construction accident.  It has been reported that when the beam fell, it struck one worker and pinned another beneath it.  The two men were transported to a local hospital and were said to be in critical condition.  One construction worker sustained an injury to his hip, while the other sustained injury to his leg.  No additional injuries have been reported at this time.

As a Fort Myers construction lawyer, it does not appear at this point that the injuries sustained by the workers were due to any wrongdoing by the construction company. However, this presumption is solely based upon the limited reporting of this construction accident at this juncture.  For Naples personal injury lawyers that sue construction companies in Florida, it is usually apparent that more times than not the accident could have been avoided.

However, negligence by construction companies that lead to injury are certainly a vehicle for North Miami Beach lawyers to travel within when filing a lawsuit in Florida.  Though, as I have commented in numerous articles in the past, mere negligence is not enough to sustain a successful lawsuit against an employer.  Yet, this does not apply to injuries sustained by non-employees at or near construction sites.

Nevertheless, being a Cape Coral construction lawyer, I have come to recognize that with the ever-changing landscape of the state of Florida, construction is a constant, and as a result, construction site accidents are a constant.  With respect to the construction accident referenced above, that oversight by the construction workers led to serious injury to themselves — but as South Florida construction lawyers come to recognize, oversights by construction companies can often lead to devastating injury for clients.  So, if at all possible, when you come across a construction zone, walk the other way.


Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: Electing a Remedy in a Workers’ Comp Case Can Be A Dangerous Proposition

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a construction accident, contact our North Miami Personal Injury Lawyers today.

All Florida construction lawyers that sue for work-related injuries should be well aware of the Workers’ Compensation Immunity statute.  As more clearly spelled out in my August 18, 2012 article, the Florida legislature has made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Florida lawyers to sue their client’s employer for a work-related accident.  Ultimately, the moment the injured worker demands and accepts benefits from his or her employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier, an election of remedy has occurred.

Putting aside for a moment the difficulty in piercing the immunity afforded to employers, another obstacle is often times presented to lawyers in cases involving injured construction workers in Florida.  As a Naples construction lawyer, I have become extremely familiar with the “election of remedies” defense that is frequently raised by companies that are sued for job-related injuries.

Essentially, once a worker is injured and accepts benefits provided by a workers’ compensation insurance company, the worker has elected a remedy.  However, Florida law is not entirely clear on this issue, for it is far from black or white — and like much of the law, this area is a shade of gray.  Yet, what Florida law appears to be clear on is that should the injured worker receive a settlement in his or her workers’ comp case, then an election of remedy has apparently been achieved.  So, “electing a remedy” is such a big deal for a Fort Myers construction injury lawyer.

Often times, when a person is injured in a work-related accident, two separate cases are opened: (1) a workers’ compensation case and (2) a personal injury case against the employer.  These two types of cases are ongoing at the same time and the Florida courts have addressed this in a number of decisions relating to “election of remedies.”  Basically, if an injured person receives workers’ compensation benefits and is also pursuing a separate personal injury case with their South Florida lawyer at the same time, then “election of remedies” must not be overlooked.

According to certain decisions by Florida appellate courts and the Florida Supreme Court, if it is determined that the injured person has elected a remedy as it relates to workers’ comp treatment, then he or she may be precluded from continuing to pursue a personal injury case against their employer.

This is obviously a very complex area of law and certainly cannot be fully explained and outlined in one article.  However, if a Fort Lauderdale construction lawyer represents a client injured on the job, then one must be mindful of this important issue and fully inform and educate the client of the ramifications of electing a remedy.


Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: A Major Perk of a Construction Injury Lawsuit

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a construction accident, contact our Fort Lauderdale lawyers today.

Florida construction lawyers helping those injured at or near construction zones typically have a good idea of who to sue for their client’s personal injury case.  Yet, personal injury lawyers here in South Florida do make mistakes during the course of their client’s construction injury case.  However, small mistakes may go unnoticed and ultimately not affect the outcome of a case, but significant blunders could potentially cost the person injured at a construction site hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

As a North Miami Beach construction injury lawyer, a significant mistake that I have come to recognize that cannot be made is the decision of who to sue in a personal injury case. When injury occurs at or near a construction site, naturally the finger of blame is pointed immediately at the general contractor in charge of the construction zone.  While it is indeed the general contractor that ultimately won the bid for the construction project and typically bears the most responsibility, several other construction companies are involved as well.  In other words, these other construction companies may also be liable for the personal injury for which you have retained a South Florida lawyer.

Far too often, Florida lawyers that help clients injured in construction accidents file a lawsuit against only the general contractor and proceed with litigation.  Come time for mediation or settlement, the client agrees to a specific settlement amount with the general contractor and before funds are disbursed, a “release of claims” is signed by the client. And the moment the injured client signs on that dotted line releasing the general contractor from the personal injury lawsuit, all of the sub-contractors breathe a collective sigh of relief, for they all just dodged a major bullet.

As a Fort Lauderdale construction lawyer, I urge all clients injured in an accident at or near a construction area to question your attorney on this issue.  Often times, when an accident occurs in a construction zone, the general contractor is not the only party responsible. When that contractor wins the bid to perform the construction, the company most likely needs to employ several other construction companies (i.e. sub-contractors) to assist with the project.    And when an injury occurs on a construction site, Florida lawyers are quick to blame the general contractor, but it is necessary to take that extra step and challenge the work of the sub-contractors as well.  Because more times than not, this adds a couple extra zeros to the settlement.

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: 2 Construction Workers Dead After Vehicle Loses Control on Highway

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident near a construction zone, contact our Florida construction injury lawyers today.

Having a career in construction is a risky proposition. While some may say that construction workers assume the risk when they take the job, similar to football players that assume the risk when they strap on the pads, nevertheless it is a profession where every single day you go to work there is that small possibility that you may not come home.

As an Aventura lawyer that helps injured construction workers in Florida, frequently clients, or families of deceased clients, enter my office with tragic stories to tell relating to construction site accidents.  Many times, the construction company is to blame for the injuries sustained by the Florida construction worker.  Yet, as an attorney in South Florida, I find that sometimes the construction accident is unavoidable.

Just yesterday in Colorado, two construction workers were killed after a car traveling on a highway lost control.  It is unclear as to the cause of this construction site car accident, but local authorities are only able to report that the driver of the vehicle was a 74 year-old man that lost control of his car while traveling through an intersection.  Construction had been ongoing on the side of the roadway, which is precisely where the two workers had been located just before the car accident.  According to reports, when the car lost control it careened off the highway and directly into the area where the men had been performing construction. The two workers died immediately upon impact.

While this accident remains under investigation, at this juncture it remains unclear whether any foul play is suspected on the part of the driver of the car or the construction company. Even if no fault can be placed on the shoulders of the construction company, this construction site car accident is a perfect example of the dangers of roadside construction.

Being a North Miami personal injury lawyer, I have come to realize that roadside construction work is perhaps the most dangerous type of construction to perform. You ultimately have two types of dangerous conditions — cars traveling on the roadway and the inherently dangerous task of construction work.  A fatal car accident such as the one detailed above illustrates this very fact.

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: Can I Sue the Florida Department of Transportation for a Highway Car Accident?

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident at or near a construction zone, contact our Florida construction lawyers today.

Being a North Miami construction lawyer that helps those injured in car accidents on highways, I frequently come across road blocks (no pun intended) in litigation when trying to sue the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”).  Florida personal injury lawyers are always aggressive, but when it comes to attacking the Department of Transportation, the FDOT typically hides behind the shield of sovereign immunity.  Florida Statute 768.28 details sovereign immunity, and is almost always cited in arguments by the FDOT.

Not to delve into an entire legal thesis, but essentially the FDOT is immune from construction litigation arising out of an injury resulting from “faulty” roadway or highway design.  So, for any South Florida driver that is injured in a car accident and retains a lawyer to sue the FDOT because the highway was designed improperly or dangerously, be prepared for intense litigation.

As a South Florida construction injury lawyer, I have many cases against the Department of Transportation despite the presence of sovereign immunity.  In fact, today we are in mediation for a highway car accident on I-95 in Miami involving the FDOT, as well as several other contractors.  The car accident occurred back in 2008 and involved the newly installed “Express Lanes.”  Essentially, these express lanes are two toll lanes that are separated from the rest of traffic through the use of high performance highway tubular delineators.  These delineators are essentially large tube-like plastic poles that are often utilized by construction companies for the separation of traffic.

My client had been traveling on I-95 and became trapped in these “Express Lanes.”  Unbeknownst to her, when driving within these lanes, no exit is possible for over 10 miles. However, my client had to exit the highway prior to the end of the toll lanes, so she attempted to travel through the delineators in order to exit the highway.  Since these delineators were 20 feet apart, it gave drivers the appearance that travelling in between them was indeed possible — but it was not possible.  Unfortunately, my client crashed her car and had been involved in a near-death car accident.  Fire rescue and ambulances arrived to the scene instantly and thankfully her life was spared.

A major defendant in this construction car accident case is the Florida Department of Transportation.  As expected, a major defense of the FDOT is sovereign immunity.  So, how do you sue the Department of Transportation for this Florida highway construction car accident?  Most Florida lawyers should be familiar with the exception to sovereign immunity.  Simply stated, or as simply as one could state this complex area of law, when a dangerous condition exists that is known by the state (i.e. FDOT), the state owes a duty to the general public, such as my client, to warn of this known dangerous condition.

Ultimately, certain precautions must be taken by the state when undertaking construction projects on Florida’s highways.  Especially when a project involves a complete transformation of a highway, the Florida Department of Transportation has a duty to warn and inform the public of this drastic change to a roadway that hundreds of thousands travel on every single day.

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: Crane Accident Blocks Traffic on California Highway

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in a crane accident at a construction site, contact our Hollywood personal injury lawyers today.

In a construction area, the most powerful piece of machinery utilized is the crane.  Florida construction lawyers have become accustomed to handling personal injury cases stemming from serious crane accidents.  At a construction site where the crane is utilized, only highly specialized and highly trained personnel are authorized to operate these multi-ton pieces of machinery.

As a North Miami Personal Injury Lawyer that sues construction companies for crane accidents, too many times I come across injuries in construction zones resulting from improper use of cranes on a job site.  While many crane accidents in South Florida occur during the course of construction, sometimes incidents arise during the transport of these cranes to and from the construction site.

This past Tuesday evening near Santa Barbara, California, the support system on a truck transporting a 2-ton crane broke — causing the crane to overturn on Highway 101.  The driver lost control of the truck and slammed into the guardrail on the highway.  Amazingly, during rush hour, no injuries or other car accidents resulting in personal injury were reported.

Instantly, emergency crews had responded to the scene attempting to clear and secure the area.  In fact, a second crane was needed to assist with the removal of the fallen crane.  It does not appear as though any negligence had occurred on the part of the construction company, as the cause of this crane accident is said to be structural failure.

For South Florida construction lawyers that help those injured in crane accidents, several state and federal regulations must be considered when litigating a construction site injury case.  When crane accidents occur in Florida construction areas, typically the construction workers are those who suffer injury.  As I have commented on in several articles in the past, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations must always be considered when a person is injured at or near a construction zone.

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: The Importance of Near Miss Reporting for all Construction Companies

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

If you or someone you know was injured in an accident, contact our Aventura Construction Injury Lawyers today.

In South Florida, thousands of construction accidents occur every year, and many of them result in lawsuits filed by North Miami lawyers against construction companies. Typically, when a construction company commits a negligent or wrongful act in the workplace, it results in injury to an employee or the general public.  According to certain rules and regulations, these accidents must be reported.

Pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) guidelines, when an accident or injury occurs on a construction site, the company is required to report this incident to OSHA.  However, many times a construction company in Florida may commit wrongful acts that result in no injury.  Therefore, many construction companies believe that they may simply brush the near accident under the rug and act as though nothing happened.  Yet, this is not true, for companies must be cognizant of “near miss reporting.”

A North Miami construction injury lawyer that litigates personal injury cases against large construction companies must be aware of the “near miss reporting” requirement. Essentially, a “near miss accident” means exactly what its name indicates — an accident on a construction site that was avoided.  OSHA defines “near miss” as an incident where no property damage occurs or injury is sustained, but, where given a slight shift in time and/or position, damage and/or injury easily could have occurred.

In fact, OSHA has an entire section of its website dedicated to Safety and Health Management, and part of that section details the “near miss accident” and “near miss reporting.”  As a North Miami Beach construction injury lawyer, I have come to recognize that the supervisor of construction zones is often the person to direct partial, and sometimes full, blame for accidents occurring in the construction area.  So naturally, OSHA mandates that the supervisor or person in charge of the construction site has the responsibility of investigating all incidents or “near miss accidents.”

By conducting a proper investigation and inspection of all “near miss accidents,” the possibility of another incident or “near miss accident” from occurring is slim to none. Ultimately, OSHA stresses that “near miss reporting” is just as important as traditional accident reporting.  A suggestion for all South Florida personal injury lawyers that sue construction companies — when performing investigation and discovery, always tackle “near miss reporting.”

Florida Construction Injury Lawyer: Construction Worker Slips and Falls into Wet Concrete

Brandon Stein

By: Brandon Stein

Contact Construction Injury Lawyer Brandon Stein for a free legal consultation.

Just yesterday, a construction employee performing work in a construction area was taken to a local Boston hospital after a slip and fall accident.  Authorities say that the construction worker became trapped within wet concrete after the sidewalls of the site had shifted — causing the employee to lose his balance and slip and fall into the concrete.

Fire rescue was contacted and responded to the scene immediately to provide relief to the fallen worker.  Apparently, it had taken firefighters hours before they were able to remove the construction worker from the wet cement, but thankfully were able to prevent injury to the person, so do not expect to see any lawyer involvement with this construction site accident.  Due to the nature of this construction site trip and fall, the only way the firefighters were able to remove the worker from the concrete was to take out pieces of the dirt and concrete by hand, which certainly explains why it had taken several hours to remove the man.

As a construction lawyer in North Miami Beach that helps those injured from slip and falls at construction sites, certain regulations posted on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website must be followed in order to prevent serious injury.  Specifically, companies that manage or oversee construction projects have a duty to provide for fall protection, as well as institute other slip and fall prevention measures.

As a result of helping several people that have been injured in North Miami from a slip and fall on a construction site, I understand that a Florida lawyer must be well aware of the federal regulations related to these types of accidents.  Specifically, 29 C.F.R. 1926.501(a)(2) pertains to the duty that construction companies have to provide for fall protection, and states that construction employees should only be allowed to work in construction zones when the surfaces have the requisite strength and structural integrity.

Being a lawyer in Aventura that handles construction site slip and fall cases, it is not uncommon for a worker or layperson to trip and fall in a construction area.  In fact, many slip and falls that occur are quite similar to that construction accident detailed above. While the falls may not necessarily involve being pinned within concrete, often times the structural integrity of the site is faulty — thus leading to injuries in the construction zone.

If you or someone you know was injured from a slip and fall, please contact our Fort Lauderdale construction injury lawyers today.