Employee Injured in 30 Foot Fall at Orlando World Center Marriott
An employee was recently injured on the job at the Orlando World Center Marriott. The Orlando Sentinel reported that 26 year old employee Daniel Ruiz was trimming the trees at the time of his fall. He fell about 30 feet from a lift that was fully extended at the time. Fortunately, his injuries do not appear to be life threatening.
As we often discuss, injured employees in Florida are typically left with a sole means of recovery when they are injured on the job. Their recovery is limited to the workers’ compensation system, which has evolved in a way that is often insufficient in making injured employees whole. Many injured employees expect that they will be able to sue their employer and recover damages for pain and suffering, which is available in other types of cases. However, unless there is a third party involved to look to for a possible claim, the injured employee will not have a means available to him to recover damages for pain and suffering since he is not entitled to those damages under workers’ compensation law in Florida.
For instance, assuming Ruiz was an employee injured in the course and scope of his employment and qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits, he will only be entitled to remedies available under the workers’ compensation system. In this case, Ruiz’s workers’ compensation benefits would likely include a portion of his lost wages and treatment with doctors who have to be authorized by the employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Should he seek to settle with his workers’ compensation claim to get out of the workers’ compensation system, any settlement would still be substantially lower than it may have been in a general negligence or product liability lawsuit since employers in Florida have no obligation to compensate injured employees for their pain and suffering.
It is important that injured employees like Ruiz seek the advice of an attorney in these types of cases. An attorney can work not only to protect an injured employee’s rights under the workers’ compensation system, but also evaluate the case to determine if there was negligence on the part of a third party that could also be liable to him for damages. In this case, it would be important to know if Ruiz fell due to some defect in the lift he was on. An attorney might determine that there is a possible products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. If there is, Ruiz could be entitled to damages for his pain and suffering from the manufacturer and potentially recover much more than he may be able to under the workers’ compensation system alone.
If you have been injured on the job and need to know about your rights and options as an injured employee, contact the attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes for a free consultation. Serving clients in the Tampa Bay area since 1955, we see you through.