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Some Workplace Injuries Go Beyond Workers Comp

SW Florida workers who are full or part-time employees in Fort Meyers or Port Charlotte know that they have a little added employment peace of mind that comes from financial protection, known as workers compensation, or “workers comp.” Under ordinary circumstances, workers comp is designed to provide some financial assistance when an employee is injured on the job. That workers comp is there to help alleviate financial burdens on employees, such as:

• Lost wages from being unable to work
• Medical expenses from treatment
• Temporary disability

However, while workers comp is designed to help injured employees, there are some circumstances where an injured worker may be entitled to more compensation beyond what workers comp provides. Here are some situations where workplace injuries elevate legal circumstances to the point where workers should look for more than just what workers comp would provide them.

Third-Party Causes

In some cases, the injury sustained by a worker happens because of action from an outside third party. For example, a construction worker is given a power tool to use while on the job. However, the device itself has a manufacturing defect that causes it to malfunction and injures a user even when used only as recommended. In this case, neither the worker nor the employer is at fault, the manufacturer of the defective product, a third party, is.

So while the workplace may be responsible for assisting with workers comp claims, the injured worker may also be owed additional workplace injury compensation due to injuries that a third party is responsible for. This requires additional legal action.

Substance Exposure

Also known as a “toxic tort,” this is a specific type of injury resulting from workers being exposed to dangerous substances that can cause illness. One of the most well-known examples of this is asbestos. For many decades, it was used as a building component to help prevent the spread of fire due to its flame and heat-resistant properties. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that when asbestos breaks down into small dust particles and is inhaled into the lungs, it is a carcinogenic substance that can cause cancer.

It is the responsibility of employers to maintain a safe working environment for employees. Part of this responsibility means properly protecting employees from toxic exposure, meaning that the risk is either removed or, if unavoidable, suitable protection is provided to employees. Should an employer fail to take this legal obligation seriously, and employees contract an illness due to toxic exposure, this is, in addition to the workers comp owed, an act of negligence for which additional legal action and compensation can be sought directly from the employer themselves.

Your Employer Caused The Injury

It’s not just toxic substances that employers need to be aware of. There are plenty of other aspects of a work environment for which diligence is required. If an employer doesn’t take suitable precautions, or even actively engages in unsafe work practices that result in injuries for workers, then, in addition to the workers comp owed for the injury, there is likely to be additional compensation owed for premises liability due to negligence.

Premises liability is the legal responsibility of a property owner to maintain a reasonably safe environment for residents, visitors, or employees on a property. If property owners are negligent in this responsibility and that negligence results in workers getting injured, the employers are legally and financially responsible for that injury. One example is employers failing to address a faulty electrical system which results in employees getting shocked.

If you’ve been injured at work, the injury is the result of more than just an unfortunate accident, you may be owed more for your injury than just workers comp. Talk to a workplace injury attorney about moving beyond workers comp to get what you’re properly owed.

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