Work is a necessity for most Americans. For some, the workplace is fraught with the potential for a serious injury. This threat is particularly prominent in the construction industry, where workplace injuries can be serious and life-threatening. Our Panama City workplace injury lawyer believes in protecting workers and advocating for people injured on the job. While worker’s compensation is sometimes the only recourse for an injured worker, victims of construction accidents and other hazardous workplaces should know that some workplace accidents can also give rise to a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
On Wednesday morning, as reported by Northwest Florida Daily News, a 54-year-old man from Atlanta was killed at a local construction site. Crews have been working on the Topsail Apartments site, located on Dune Lake Circle near the intersection of Hewitt Road and U.S. Highway 98, since October. At 6:45 A.M. on Wednesday, Iran Covarrubias, age 25 of Freeport, was driving a front-end loader on a paved driveway used to access the complex. According to reports, he had turned the 2005 John Deere L22 Loader onto the driveway when another man stepped in front of the vehicle. The man, believed to be a carpenter working for a subcontractor, fell after being struck by the vehicle's front tire and the tire proceeded to run over the victim. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both Florida Highway Patrol ("FHP") and representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") are investigating. The FHP will conduct a traffic investigation and OSHA will review the incident to determine if workplace safety hazards played a role in the fatality.
OSHA's website provides a range of statistics on workplace accidents. The agency reports that 4,609 workers were killed in on-the-job incidents in 2011, a number that works out to nearly 13 deaths per day. Additionally, nearly 4 million American workers suffer a workplace injury every year. The construction industry accounted for 17.5% of the workplace death in 2011. Nearly 3 out of 5 (57%) of the construction fatalities involved the so-called "Fatal Four": falls (251 deaths in 2011, 35% of the total construction deaths); struck by object (73, 10%); electrocution (67, 9%); caught in-between (19, 3%).
Worker's compensation is the first, and sometimes only, source of compensation for people hurt in workplace injuries. However, some construction workplace accidents involve additional factors that give rise to a personal injury claim or a wrongful death lawsuit. Examples include subcontractor negligence, defective products, crane/scaffolding accidents, and electrocution. These cases generally involve negligence on behalf of a party other than the immediate employer, such as an equipment supplier or a subcontractor. An injury lawsuit can provide a wider array of damages than the limited amounts available under the workers compensation system.
If you have suffered a serious injury or lost a loved one in a workplace accident in Panama City, do not assume worker's compensation is your only recourse. Our Panama City personal injury attorney will evaluate your case and help you determine whether you have a civil injury claim. Call our office to arrange a free consultation.