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Workplace Accidents Archives | Farah & Farah

Should You Accept a Workers’ Compensation Settlement for Office Injuries in Orlando, FL?

By Farah & Farah on April 4, 2017

Work related accidents, injuries, and occupational illnesses can occur in any kind of work environment in Orlando, Florida, including office environments. When people think about work related injuries, they tend to imagine accidents involving machines in a factory, construction workers falling from heights, or overexertion injuries in occupations that require heavy lifting. When you think of occupational illnesses, you might imagine someone who has been exposed to asbestos or another illness related substance. People rarely consider the hazards that are present in an office, yet there are quite a few different accidents, injuries, and illnesses that can occur when you are employed in an office environment.

Orlando, Florida Office Workers Frequently Experience Fall Related Injuries 

Falling down is an extremely common source of injury in a variety of work environments, including offices. These kinds of incidents can occur because of poor lighting, damaged carpeting, spills, and various trip hazards. In some cases, office workers end up falling down stairs that are damaged or slick. The employer and management should make efforts to keep the work area safe by maintaining the floors and carpets, cleaning up spills, and ensuring that trip hazards like wires are placed in a safe and out of the way location.

Orlando, Florida Office Workers Can Experience Heavy Lifting Injuries

While you might not associate office work with heavy lifting, there are plenty of injuries that occur from this very activity in offices throughout Orlando, Florida. In fact, the very point that you might not expect such injuries to occur is part of why they do. Office workers may not be properly trained in heavy lifting, because they aren’t expected to be lifting heavy objects in the course of their usual day. Yet, there are plenty of activities that occur in an office, which can include lifting heavy furniture, heavy boxes of supplies, etc. To prevent such injuries, office workers should be trained to lift with their legs instead of their backs, and seek out assistance from co-workers with any objects that are too heavy for one person.

Orlando, Florida Office Workers Can Experience Injuries From Strain and Repetition

When you do imagine work related injuries occurring in an office, those that are caused from strain and repetitive motion are the ones you’re most likely to think about. This is because office workers spend a large amount of time sitting, often in uncomfortable or strained positions, and are subject to posture issues and repetitive motion injuries from using their keyboards and computer mouse to complete clerical work.

These issues often result in back injuries, neck injuries, shoulder injuries, and repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel. The best way to avoid such injuries is to ensure that the chairs are designed to provide optimal support, that the workers maintain posture, and have ergonomic tools at their disposal. Further, it is important for office workers who spend a lot of time sitting to take frequent breaks, walk around, exercise, and stretch.

Should You Accept a Workers’ Compensation Settlement for Your Office Work Injury?

Whether or not it is in your best interests to accept a settlement in your Orlando, Florida workers’ compensation case depends on your unique circumstances, and is something that you need to discuss with an experienced attorney to make the best decision for you. However, there are many good reasons to consider accepting such a settlement, which we can go over and which you can learn more about from Farah & Farah with a free consultation.

The number one reason that many people choose to accept a workers’ compensation settlement rather than to seek the standard wage and medical benefits is because it takes the stress of the claim off of their shoulders, settles it entirely in one action, and allows them to close that chapter of their lives with peace of mind. This is because you no longer have to deal with a claims adjuster once you settle, you no longer have to see the doctor that your workers’ compensation insurance provider approves, and you no longer have wait for workers’ compensation wage benefits checks to come to you before you can pay your bills.

The ability to seek treatment from any doctor you choose is an important benefit for many people who are pursuing a workers’ compensation claim settlement. You may wish to see certain specialists which are not approved for coverage by the standard workers’ compensation medical benefits. It is also important to note that when you can only see an approved physician, you may have to wait longer for appointments and wait to for the insurance company to approve certain treatments and medications. Once you accept a settlement, you can choose any doctor you prefer to see and you won’t have to wait for approval for treatment. You also don’t have to worry about seeking further compensation for your prescriptions, medical devices, and mileage, or approval for these expenses before you can get the things you need.

Another common reason that office workers would prefer to accept a settlement, rather than continue with the typical wage benefits and medical benefits of workers’ compensation insurance is because they can have more financial freedom. This is because you get a settlement in a lump sum, and you can do what you need to with the money. Your bills don’t have to wait for the next check, and you can get the groceries you need when you need them.

Finally, many people who are dealing with a workers’ compensation insurance company are continuously concerned that their benefits may cease, that their checks won’t come, or that their treatment won’t be approved. Once you accept a settlement, all of these fears and concerns are eliminated, and you can finally relax.

Contact Farah & Farah for More Information About Workers’ Compensation Settlements

If you’re debating whether or not you ought to accept a workers’ compensation settlement in Orlando, Florida after your office injury, contact a dedicated Florida work injury lawyer at Farah & Farah to discuss your options.

Posted in: Workplace Accidents

Can I Be Fired for Filing Workers’ Compensation in Florida?

By Farah & Farah on January 30, 2017

Employees who are injured while on the job in Florida are generally entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits via their employer. However, injured employees are sometimes reluctant to file for workers’ compensation because they fear that if they seek benefits their employer will fire them in retaliation. Generally speaking, employer-employee relationships in Florida are governed by the traditional “at-will” employment doctrine. This doctrine holds that either the employer or the employee may lawfully terminate the employment relationship at any time. While the at-will employment doctrine holds true in almost every employment situation, there are a few notable exceptions in Florida that the legislature has carved out in the name of public policy. One of these exceptions is contained within the Florida Workers’ Compensation Act and prohibits employers from firing, or threatening to fire, employees for claiming workers’ compensation benefits. This exception is referred to as Florida’s workers’ compensation retaliation statute.

Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Statute

Florida’s workers’ compensation retaliation statute is contained in section 440.205 of the Florida Statutes and states that:

“No employer shall discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any employee by reason of such employee’s valid claim for compensation or attempt to claim compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Law.”

If an employer in Florida violates this statute the injured employee can file a lawsuit claiming that the employer unlawfully engaged in workers’ compensation retaliation. However, injured employees should note that while Florida’s retaliation statute makes it illegal for employers to fire employees for seeking workers’ compensation benefits, the statute does not require employers to reserve an injured employee’s job while he or she takes time off from work to recuperate. In other words, in order to win their retaliation case the injured employee must have been fired, or threatened with termination, because they filed for workers’ compensation benefits. However, plaintiffs who are ultimately able to prove their workers’ compensation retaliation case can recover a variety of different damages, dependent on the circumstances of the case, including lost earning capacity, medical benefits, and lost wages.

Proving that Retaliation Occurred In Florida: Three Elements

Proving that an employer engaged in workers’ compensation retaliation can be extremely difficult, but is by no means impossible. In order to win a retaliation case in Florida the injured employee must be able to prove all three of the elements listed below, which the court explained in the landmark case Russell v. KSL Hotel Corp.:

Element 1 – He or She Engaged in a Statutorily Protected Activity: Filing for workers’ compensation benefits is a statutorily protected activity under Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Therefore, if an injured employee can simply show that he or she filed for workers’ compensation benefits then this first element will be satisfied.

Element 2 – He or She Suffered an Adverse Employment Action: As the retaliation statute outlined above notes, there are a number of different ways in which an employer can engage in illegal retaliation against an employee. In order to satisfy this element the injured employer simply needs to show that they suffered an adverse employment action. For example, the injured employee can satisfy this element by providing evidence showing that they were fired.

Element 3 – There is a Causal Connection Between the Adverse Action and the Protected Activity: In order to show that there is a causal connection between the injured employee filing a workers’ compensation claim and the resulting adverse employment action, the employee must show that the employer knew that that the employee was seeking workers’ compensation benefits and terminated, or threatened to terminate, the employee because of this knowledge.

How Can Employers Defend Against Claims of Retaliation?

After an injured employee argues in court that their employer unlawfully retaliated against them for filing for workers’ compensation benefits, the employer is then given an opportunity to explain why the employee was fired, or suffered some other adverse employment action. In order to defeat the employee’s retaliation claim, the employer must provide a legitimate and non-retaliatory justification for their actions. For example, an employer may be able to show that an injured employee’s job was eliminated due to budget cuts, rather than to punish the employee for seeking workers’ compensation. Essentially the employer has to show that they would have taken the same adverse employment action against the employee regardless of whether or not the employee filed for workers’ compensation benefits. The book Understanding and Preventing Workplace Retaliation provides the following list of evidence that employers often find helpful when attempting to show that they had a legitimate reason for firing an injured employee. Helpful evidence includes:

Examples of other employees who were also fired, but who did not file for workers’ compensation benefits,
Evidence of disciplinary procedures or performance concerns involving the injured worker that occurred before he or she filed for workers’ compensation, and
Evidence showing that the employer holds all employees to the same workplace rules or standards, regardless of who has filed for workers’ compensation.

If the employer succeeds in providing a legal justification for their actions, then the employee is given the opportunity to show that the employer’s justification is in fact a pretext. If the court agrees that the employer’s alleged justification is nothing more than a pretext, then the injured employee will win the retaliation case. If not, then the employer will be off the hook.

Need Legal Advice?

If you believe that you were fired in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim consider filing a retaliation lawsuit without delay. Even if you aren’t completely sure whether or not your employer’s actions legally constitute retaliation in Florida, contact the experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyers at Farah & Farah to discuss whether or not you have a case during a free initial consultation. Our firm is committed to working tirelessly to protect our clients’ rights and to holding employers in Florida accountable for their legal obligations to their employees. Call our office today.

Steps to File a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim

By on March 18, 2016

If you have suffered an injury while on the job in the state of Georgia, you may be able to pursue certain workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance purchased by your employer that will pay the medical bills resulting from your injury and compensate you for the income you lost while you were recovering. Workers’ compensation benefits are paid in lieu of filing a lawsuit against your employer.

Steps to File a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Claim

To get your Georgia workers’ compensation benefits in a timely manner, it is important that you go through the proper steps when filing a workers’ compensation claim: Read the rest »

Posted in: Workplace Accidents

Eight Employees Injured in Massive Gas Plant Explosion in Tavares

By on August 7, 2013

State and federal investigators are still trying to piece together why a Blue Rhino propane depot in Lake County went up in flames in Tavares — an incident that left nine injured and resulted in the evacuation of nearby residents as propane tanks used for barbecues exploded and landed up to half a mile away.

Altogether eight employees were injured in the conflagration and the blasts that ensued. The Orlando Sentinel reports that five of the injured workers were listed in critical condition and were rushed to hospitals in Orlando, Ocala and Gainesville. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened an official investigation into the incident.

Company officials said that all workers have been accounted for.

Read the rest »

Health Workers Have Most Dangerous Jobs in U.S.

By on July 26, 2013

While construction workers and commercial fisherman often receive more press about the dangers inherent in their respective fields, a report just released by Public Citizen reveals that healthcare workers may have the most unsafe workplace conditions in the country.

The report, written by the organization’s Congress Watch division, claims that healthcare workers suffer more musculoskeletal injuries than workers in any other field and that adds up to a bill of some $7 billion annually.

The high injury rate is particularly prevalent among nurses, orderlies, nurses’ aides and attendants. The report suggests that there may be more injuries in the healthcare industry because there are less government inspections of healthcare and social assistance facilities.

Read the rest »

Video Fixture Falls at Miami Ultra Music Festival Site; 4 Workers Injured

By on March 21, 2013

The Miami-Dade County worker injury attorneys at Farah & Farah have learned that four workers were injured while setting up a giant LED screen at the site of the Ultra Music Festival last week. According to The Miami Herald, two of the workers suffered life-threatening injuries when the “jumbotron” fell on them and they were trapped beneath it.

The seriously injured men — one of whom reportedly suffered two broken legs — were rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital. While those two were listed in serious condition, another worker was listed in stable condition and a fourth was treated at the scene and released. Read the rest »

Seminole County Couple Sues, Claims Product Caused Infant’s Death

By on November 20, 2012

The parents of a premature infant who died soon after being discharged from the hospital are suing the hospital and the manufacturer of the thickening product SimplyThick, claiming that the product was defective and caused his death.

The baby was born at 27 weeks and spent the first few months of his life at Florida Hospital. When the boy was discharged from the neonatal unit, hospital staff sent home packets of SimplyThick, a product given to premature babies who have swallowing difficulties. Read the rest »

Eddie Farah Finds that When it Comes to Worker Safety, Perception is (Almost) Everything

By Eddie Farah on March 20, 2012

Orlando Work Injury StatisticsEvery year, millions of Americans are injured on the job in the United States. Even more disturbing to Florida workers’ compensation attorney Eddie Farah, are the people who go to work every day in the United States and don’t make it back home — some 6,000 people die because of work-related accidents every year.

That is why he found a recent study by the University of Georgia so fascinating. Read the rest »

Disney Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over Monorail Fatality

By on February 5, 2010

The mother of a monorail driver at Disney World who died last July in a crash, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the theme park. The woman says that Disney did not follow its own monorail-safety procedures and that is what killed her 21-year-old son. Her son was in the front of a monorail, moving the car in reverse through track switches that were supposed to move it eventually onto the system’s maintenance bay. But another monorail was backing up over a track switch at the same time and the track switch was never realigned. The train went into reverse and into the resort’s Epcot line and into the young man’s vehicle.

His mother contends it would be safer to have twin controls in the rear cab giving the operator a clear view when he backs up. Read the rest »

Florida Supreme Court Helps Injured Workers

By Eddie Farah on October 25, 2008

The Florida Supreme Court ruled this week that a lawyer representing an injured worker is entitled to “reasonable” fees.

Ever since a controversial 2003 reform of the state’s workers’ compensation law, lawyer’s fees have been capped. That means most lawyers understandably shy away from workers’ comp cases. We at Farah & Farah do not.

The state Supreme Court ruled 5-0 in the case of Emma Murray vs. Mariner Health Care. Read the rest »

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The attorneys of Farah & Farah in Jacksonville, Florida have experience with personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, workers’ compensation, social security, injury and negligence lawsuits, family law and criminal defense. Eddie Farah and our team of Jacksonville attorneys are proud to represent working people and families throughout the country.

*Disclaimer: Not all results are provided and not all clients have provided testimonials, the results are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer, and a prospective client’s individual facts and circumstances may differ from the matter in which the results and the testimonials are provided.

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