Navigating Through Worker’s Compensation System
Understanding The Worker’s Compensation System
A 26 year old road worker was struck and killed in a tragic accident Wednesday night when a dump truck, which was also working on the road-improvement project, backed up and ran over him. The victim, Kimbrough W. Haines, was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Haines family is left to pick up the pieces following his tragic death, and a question remains as to how they can secure the fairest and most just compensation for his passing. Although no amount of money can ever replace a lost loved one, knowing what avenues of recovery are available is important to help the family’s financial future.
Because Mr. Haines was on the job during this accident, his family will be entitled to certain worker’s compensation benefits under Chapter 440 of the Florida Statutes. Some of those benefits may include funeral expenses up to $7,500, monetary compensation to surviving dependents (such as children), and education or training benefits to the surviving spouse. Unfortunately, due to the nature of Florida’s Worker’s Compensation system, the amount of those benefits will likely not exceed $150,000. The family will also not be able to recover money damages from the employer for any pain and suffering, loss of support and services, loss of parental guidance or companionship, or other less-tangible losses they have suffered.
If the dump truck was owned and operated by the same company that employed Mr. Haines, his family’s only avenue of recovery will be through the worker’s compensation system. This is known as “worker’s compensation immunity” in Florida, which protects employers from being liable for any acts that aren’t “virtually certain” to result in an injury.
However, if the dump truck was owned and operated by someone other than Mr. Haines’ employer, his family would be able to bring a claim for negligence against that owner/operator. This would be known as his third-party claim. In that instance, Mr. Haines family may be able to recover for all those losses described above, with the only limit on his recovery being the amount of insurance coverage available through the owner/operator’s insurance policy.
Whether or not the Haines family will be able to recover full and fair compensation for their loss depends not only on who owned and operated the truck; but also depends on their selection of an experienced personal injury firm. With over 60 years of experience, Perenich Caulfield Avril & Noyes has the knowledge and resources to navigate through and around the Worker’s Compensation system to make sure all avenues of recovery are fully pursued. After helping dozens of families who have experienced similar losses, we know what steps to take to ensure a family’s future can remain bright in the wake of a tragic loss. We can only hope that Haines family receives the help and representation they deserve, as they attempt to do just that.