Articles Posted in Worker’s Compensation

Older people are dying on the job at a higher rate than all other workers combined, even as the rate of workplace fatalities decreases, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal statistics.

This is an alarming trend as baby boomers reject the traditional retirement age of 65 and keep working. The U.S. government estimates that by 2024, older workers will account for 25 percent of the labor market.

Gerontologists say those changes include gradually worsening vision and hearing impairment, reduced response time, balance issues and chronic medical or muscle or bone problems such as arthritis.

In 2015, about 35 percent of the fatal workplace accidents involved a worker 55 and older – or 1,681 of the 4,836 fatalities reported nationally.

The AP analysis showed that overall workplace fatality rate for all workers – and for those 55 and older – decreased by 22 percent between 2006 and 2015. But the rate of fatal accidents among older workers during that time period was 50 percent to 65 percent higher than for all workers, depending on the year.

The number of deaths among all workers dropped from 5,480 in 2005 to 4,836 in 2015. However, on-the-job fatalities among older workers increased slightly, from 1,562 to 1,681, the analysis shows.

During that time period, the number of older people in the workplace increased by 37 percent. That compares with a 6 percent rise in the population of workers overall.

The AP analysis is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census for Fatal Occupational Injuries and from one-year estimates from the American Community Survey, which looks at the working population. It excludes cases where the cause of death was from a “natural cause,” including a heart attack, stroke among others.

AP also examined the number and types of accidents in which older workers died between 2011, when the bureau changed the way it categorized accidents, to 2015:

  • Fall-related fatalities rose 20 percent.
  • Contact with objects and equipment increased 17 percent.
  • Transportation accidents increased 15 percent.
  • Fires and explosions decreased by 8 percent.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found in 2013 that 44 percent of older Americans said their job required physical effort most or almost all of the time, and 36 percent said it was more difficult to complete the physical requirements of their jobs than it was when they were younger.

In most states, the fatal accident rates for older workers were consistently higher than comparable rates for all workers.

Nevada, New Jersey and Washington had the greatest percent increase in fatal accident rates for older workers between 2006 and 2015.

The three states with the biggest percent decrease were Hawaii, Oregon and Vermont.

Eight states saw their overall workplace fatality rate drop, even as the rate for older workers increased: Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New York, Texas, Utah and Washington.

In two states – North Dakota and Wisconsin – the trend was reversed; older worker accident rates got smaller while the accident rate overall increased.

If you have been injured on the job, one of the most important things you can do is to report it. While this might seem obvious, there are many times a person is injured without requiring immediate medical attention, so it might seem like a good idea to take a wait and see approach and not report the incident. However, when an accident is not reported, your employer could deny you medical treatment and benefits for missed time from work. By reporting any workplace accidents properly, you can prevent many potential hassles.

Continue reading

A third man has died from injuries he suffered in the TECO Big Bend Power Plant accident last week.

The 21-year-old died on Wednesday. He was a contractor who worked for BRACE Industrial Group.

This man was one of the six workers involved in the accident at TECO Big Bend Power plant.

Officials said molten hot slag rushed out of a coal stack, spewing onto the victims.

Two of the men in that accident died immediately.

Three other people remain in the hospital from the accident.

The families of workers who are killed in an accident while on the job may be entitled to financial compensation on their loved one’s behalf under the Worker’s Compensation Act. When an employee dies from a work injury or an occupational disease, the Worker’s Compensation Act provides benefits to cover wage loss, medical expenses, and some burial expenses to dependent spouses and children.

Worker’s compensation claims can be complex cases. Our Florida Worker’s Compensation Claims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can make sure you know what you can expect from your claim. We seek a full and fair settlement in every case we handle, but we always prepare for trial to make sure you are not stuck with a lowball settlement that won’t cover all of your expenses.

Continue reading

Two workers have been seriously injured while assisting the move of a 150-ton power plant transformer from Riverview to Lakeland Electric’s McIntosh Power Plant, according to reports.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 24-year-old man was walking alongside the 300-foot trailer Saturday when he tripped on a raised concrete line marker and fell into the path of a wheel.

Then, a 27-year-old man tried to help the other man and was also struck by the trailer, which was traveling at about 2 miles per hour. The incident occurred near the end of the trip.

The report says both men were taken to Lakeland Regional Hospital in serious condition.

Our Florida Worker’s Compensation Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are ready to help you if you have been injured while on the job. We can help with the following types of cases:

  • Construction Accidents
  • Back or Neck Injuries
  • On The Job Wrongful Death Claims
  • Disfigurement & Scarring Injuries
  • OSHA violations
  • Product Liability Cases

If you or someone you love has been injured in a work accident, we can help with your claims. We strongly urge you to focus on your recovery, and leave the legal matters to us.

Continue reading

Dozens of people have fallen ill after a carbon monoxide leak at a Miami office building.

According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, high levels of carbon monoxide were found on the second floor Monday afternoon.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman said several people were showing signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

At least 17 people were taken to hospitals, while dozens more were treated at the scene and released.

About 80 people were sent home because they felt sick. Approximately 400 people work at the building.

Officials say the source of the leak came from the drains in the first floor bathrooms.

Reports indicate that an environmental assessment company has been contacted to ensure necessary repairs are made.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas by-product that interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. It is often referred to as the “silent killer.” This type of toxic exposure usually results in physical problems, neurological problems, and even death.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often confused with the flu or food poisoning. Depending on the amount inhaled, this gas can cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Chest Pain
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Death

Continue reading

The National Transportation Safety Board believes El Faro, the cargo ship that went missing during Hurricane Joaquin, has been found in the Atlantic Ocean about 15,000 feet below the surface.

The NTSB said the USNS Apache used sonar equipment. The technology first detected the vessel Saturday afternoon.

Specialists on the Apache will use a deep ocean remotely operated vehicle to survey and confirm the identity of the wreckage. The survey could start as early as Sunday.

NTSB said the sonar detection is consistent with a 790-foot cargo ship. The vessel appears to be upright and in one piece.

If the vessel is confirmed to be El Faro, the remote will use a video camera to document the vessel and debris field in order to locate and recover the voyage data recorder.

El Faro went missing on Oct. 1 during Hurricane Joaquin. The Coast Guard searched for the boat for many days before the NTSB contracted the U.S. Navy to take over the search.

El Faro had 28 crew members from the United States and five from Poland. The ship was heading to Puerto Rico on Sept. 29 from Jacksonville on a regularly scheduled cargo supply run.

Reports indicate that the ship had lost power, had taken on water and was listing 15 degrees but that the situation was “manageable,” in their last communication, according to ship owner TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico.

Joaquin was a Category 4 hurricane when El Faro got caught in the storm. According to reports, the ship had 391 shipping
containers on board, making it quite top-heavy as it tried to navigate through Joaquin’s 50-foot waves.

Anyone who has spent time earning a living on the ocean knows that this is a risky trade. The unpredictability of the ocean places even the most experienced of sailors and the strongest of ships in constant danger. These conditions demand professionalism from all of the crew members of any sea vessel, whether it is a cruise ship, cargo ship, fishing boat, tugboat, or anything else. Any lack of competence places all the lives on board at risk.

Despite the fact that working on the ocean is inherently dangerous, this fact alone does not absolve the shipowner, captain or crew members from being at fault if one of their employees or fellow workers suffers an injury or death due to negligence.

Continue reading

The family of a sailor aboard the El Faro, the cargo ship that sunk while out to sea during Hurricane Joaquin, is filing a $100 million lawsuit against the vessel’s owner and captain.

The lawsuit was filed in Duval County Court on Wednesday.

The man was among the 33 men and women aboard the freighter that sunk Oct. 1 in 15,000 feet of water east of the Bahamas.

The suit alleges that Tote Maritime and its captain were negligent in choosing to sail a 41-year-old cargo ship into dangerous weather. The lawsuit claims that Tote needs to place more emphasis on employee safety and less on profits.

Tote has not yet issued a response to the lawsuit.

Wrongful death suits are are usually quite complex and some of the hardest lawsuits to file, mostly due to the high level of emotion behind these cases and the grieving process that surviving family members are still going through. Despite the hardships of these cases, they are necessary, as consulting with a wrongful death lawyer can help the family recover compensation from the at-fault party to pay for costly expenses like a funeral, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering.

Continue reading

The Coast Guard announced today its plans to end its search at sunset for 33 missing crew members from a U.S. cargo ship that sank last week during Hurricane Joaquin.

Coast Guard officials made the announcement at a 3 p.m. news conference Wednesday.

The 790-foot cargo ship sank Thursday off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds that was producing 50-foot waves.

Officials believe the ship’s captain had plans to go around the storm as he headed from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto Rico but the El Faro fell victim to unexplained engine failure that left it unable to avoid the storm.

Federal investigators announced they still hope to recover a data recorder from the ship as search crews continue looking for any survivors.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to Jacksonville on Tuesday to begin the agency’s inquiry, which will help get to the bottom of the question of why the captain, crew and owners of El Faro decided to risk sailing in hurricane waters.

Another unanswered question is whether the five workers whose job was to prepare the engine room for a retrofitting had any role in the boat’s loss of power, which set the vessel adrift in the stormy seas. Officials from Tote Inc., the vessel’s owner, do not believe this to be true. However, the answers determined will help investigators figure out why the boat apparently sank near the Bahamas, possibly claiming the lives of all 33 aboard.

The ship is believed to have gone down in 15,000 feet of water after reporting its last known position last Thursday. One unidentified body has been found.

 

When the El Faro left Jacksonville on Sept. 29, five workers from Poland came along with 28 U.S. crew members to do some preparatory work in the engine room, according to reports. It is not believed that this work would have had anything to do with what affected the propulsion.

 

The El Faro had no history of engine failure, and company records show it underwent its last annual Coast Guard inspection in March.

The American Bureau of Shipping, a nonprofit organization that sets safety and other standards for ships, did full hull and machinery inspections in February and reported no problems.

 

The loss of this vessel is undoubtedly a tragedy to all parties involved, including the families of the missing crew. If negligence was a factor in this accident, which resulted in engine failure, this could be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, or an injury suit if any survivors are located.
Continue reading

The Coast Guard announced Monday that the El Faro, a cargo ship that left Jacksonville on September 29 for a routine trip to Puerto Rico, likely sank in the Atlantic while caught in the powerful Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin.

On board were 33 crew members.

Crews have found items from the ship, including several survival suits, a life ring and two lifeboats. One of the suits had a body in it that has yet to be identified.

The spot where they think they ship sank is 15,000-feet deep and somewhere near Crooked Island in the Bahamas. All communications were lost at 7:20 a.m. Thursday.

Following the search and rescue mission, the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard will start their investigations.

According to records obtained from the American Bureau of Shipping, the El Faro had up-to-date safety inspections. The ship was last inspected by ABS on Feb. 13. It received annual endorsements for Load Line, Cargo Ship Safety Construction, and Cargo Ship Safety Equipment. According to ABS, the El Faro had no statutory deficiencies as of its last reporting.

Tim Nolan, president of TOTE Maritime, which owns El Faro, released a statement Monday afternoon:

“At this point in time, the entire TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico family is distressed that it now appears the El Faro sank at or near its last known position on Thursday October 1, 2015. We continue to hold out hope for survivors. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family members and we will continue to do all we can to support them. The efforts and assistance from the US Coast Guard has been extraordinary and we continue to be grateful for their dedication and efforts to find surviving crew members. TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico continues to work closely with the Coast Guard in ongoing search and rescue.”

While the media and public might believe the ship is gone, Coast Guard search teams as well as families of the missing crew still have hope that they will find survivors. Hurricane weather conditions do make survival more difficult, but it is important to note that a person can survive four or five days in warm water.

Continue reading

A man fell about three stories at a construction site on International Drive Thursday afternoon.

According to an Orange County spokeswoman, the man was conscious when firefighters reached him.

The man, in his 40s, was taken by helicopter to Orlando Regional Medical Center, according to reports.

The construction site is near International Drive and World Center Drive.

He was under a trauma alert, which means he was in serious or critical condition.

79323694_7f5559efb2_zIt is not clear how the man fell from scaffolding.

Scaffolds are temporary structures that are designed to elevate a construction worker and materials to a height. Usually scaffolds are used to walk around a structure.

Improper connections and sharp corners can result in minor scaffolding-related injuries like cuts and bruises. Plank failures, falling planks, pipe failures, falling pipes, support failures, falling supports, falling objects and falls to the ground can lead to severe scaffolding-related injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, amputations, fractures, paralysis, nerve damage and wrongful death.

If you or a loved have been injured while working at a jobsite, you and your family may be entitled to receive financial compensation for health care, medical expenses, medical bills, loss of income and pain and suffering.

Continue reading

A semi driver killed Wednesday after he was crushed when his load shifted while yielding to a fire truck near St. Cloud was identified by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office this week.

The 32-year-old Orlando driver stopped his semi abruptly to yield to an Osceola County fire truck turning onto Narcoossee Road with its lights on and sirens blaring, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

Witnesses told troopers the firetruck stopped at a stop sign on Yukon Street just before it turned onto Narcoossee Road.

1350388493_cc153b3574_mThe FHP claims that when the semi driver hit the brakes, the steel beams he was carrying moved and crushed him.

Florida residents who have lost loved ones know the grief that follows immediately after. When death is sudden and unexpected, the pain can be almost unbearable, especially when the death was avoidable, as is usually the case with fatal motor vehicle accidents. Fatal accidents should be investigated to determine the exact cause, so that any party that is found negligent can be held responsible for their actions by either a criminal or civil lawsuit.

Any type of accident that ends in fatality can be extremely difficult to handle. At Whittel & Melton, our Wrongful Death Lawyers understand how much you are hurting right now and are here to help. While we know that adequate compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit will not bring your loved one back, it can help you move forward and give you the financial security needed to maintain your lifestyle and provide for you and your loved ones in the future.

Continue reading

Contact Information