Workplace Accidents and Injuries

You work hard to provide a certain quality of life for yourself and your family. If you are like most Americans, you spend more time at work than you spend on any other activity. If you work a standard 40 hour week (and most of us put in more time than that!) beginning at age 20 and ending at age 66, you will spend 92,360 hours of your life on the job.
Work is a necessary part of life, and Americans pride themselves on their work ethic. No one should have to fear for their life or health because of their employment. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been tasked with the responsibility for establishing and enforcing safety standards in the workplace. Nevertheless, about 8.5 million Americans suffer job-related injuries annually. A disproportionate number of those injuries occurred in Florida.

The Numbers: Injuries and Fatalities in the U.S. Workplace

If you or a member of your family suffered an on-the-job injury or job-related death as a result of caused a hazardous condition in the workplace, you are certainly not alone. The statistics are dire:

  • In the U.S., around 5000 workers die every year from injuries occurring on the job. But this is only the tip of the iceberg; add to that number the annual deaths from work-related illnesses, and you get a total of around 53,000 total fatalities per year that can be attributed to the workplace.
  • More Americans die from work-related injuries and diseases than succumb to fatal traffic accidents!
  • Florida ranks number three in the nation for the total number of on-the-job fatalities.

Workers’ Compensation

Most workers injured on the job will need to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers’ Comp is a type of no-fault insurance coverage that most employers must carry to provide some degree of protection to injured workers and their families.

The Pros and Cons of the Workers’ Compensation System

The positives: Workers’ Compensation has the advantage of getting you compensated for your medical bills and a percentage of your lost earnings without the necessity of proving negligence or pursuing a lawsuit. The good thing about the system is that once you get your paperwork filed, you will fairly quickly be able to get the medical treatment you need paid for and will receive a percentage of the amount you were earning to help you with living expenses. If you will never be able to return to your regular job, it will provide rehabilitation and training for another job that you can handle.
The negatives: When you file a Workers’ Compensation claim, you are precluded from suing your employer—even if it was clearly the employer’s negligence that caused the injury. Sure Workers’ Comp will cover your medical bills some of your lost earnings; but what about your quality of life? No one can give you back the enjoyment of a long hike in the woods, a camping trip with your family, tossing a ball around with your kids, playing with your dog, a competitive game of tennis with a friend, or the physical relationship with your spouse or significant other. Don’t you deserve to be compensated for these losses as well? Recovering money for these types of damages is simply not a possibility with a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Having a Lawyer on Your Side Can Help

If you’ve been injured or have recently received a diagnosis of an illness that is clearly caused by some condition where you work, it is a good idea to consult an attorney early on. Choose an experienced and well qualified personal injury lawyer who offers a free initial consultation, and take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions and learn how having a lawyer can make a difference in the benefits you’ll receive.
These are some important ways a good lawyer can help:

  • Ensuring that your Workers’ Compensation application is complete, correct, and has all the supporting medical records attached
  • Advocating for you if the Workers’ Compensation carrier denies a particular treatment your doctor recommends as being “non-standard”
  • Working with your rehabilitation counselor to ensure that the retraining you will be able to receive is appropriate to your talents, abilities, and inclinations
  • Investigating the accident to determine if:
    1. Your employer, with deliberate intent, exposed you to an unreasonable and foreseeable risk of harm, in which case the “exclusive remedy” rule that prevents you from suing the company might be set aside.
    2. Third parties, other than your employer, contributed to your accident. For example a contractor, vendor, property owner, or manufacturer of defective equipment. Third parties can be sued for both your economic and non-economic damages, making it possible to recover more money.

Workplace Conditions That Threaten Your Health

These are a few of many unsafe conditions that can cause a serious workplace accident:

  • Tripping and slipping hazards
  • Improperly maintained machinery
  • Poor lighting
  • Locked or blocked exits
  • Exposed or worn electrical wires
  • Lack of provide safety gear
  • Environmental hazards and toxic substances
  • Non-ergonomic work stations
  • OSHA violations

Legal Help for Workplace Injuries in the Tampa Bay Area

If you live in Tampa, St. Pete, or anywhere in West Central Florida, including all of Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, your first choice when selecting a lawyer should be Tampa Bay personal injury attorney Stephen Maltezos. Steve is a committed advocate for Florida’s injured, a compassionate and warm individual, and a tireless worker who gives his all to every case he accepts.

Steve will advocate for you every bit as rigorously as if you were a member of his own family. He is a highly skilled negotiator and effective trial lawyer who can usually obtain an excellent settlement without your having to go to court. But he is also an effective trial lawyer, so if a trial is what it takes to get you the money you deserve, his courtroom skills are finely honed.

Don’t let the stress and uncertainty of dealing with a workplace injury get you down. Get the help you need by calling the law offices of Tampa Bay workplace injury attorney Stephen Maltezos. Come in to either the Tampa or St. Pete office for a free consultation, or if your injury makes a trip to the office difficult, Steve will come to you.