Articles Posted in Worker’s Compensation

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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A Wet ‘n Wild worker remains in critical condition after he was trapped under water while cleaning one of the pools at the theme park Tuesday morning, according to officials.

Orlando police responded to the scene at 10:07 a.m. where an “industrial accident” was reported at the Universal Orlando park.

Another employee called for help while a third worker pulled the trapped man out of the water, according to a police spokeswoman.

The man was treated at the scene before he was transported to Dr. P. Phillips Hospital.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

6824203406_8c49853290_mA Universal Orlando spokesman made the following statement: “At the moment, our attention is focused on assisting our team member and his family. We are also working to understand exactly what happened, but have nothing else to share at this time.”

Water parks are a great way to cool off from Florida’s hot summer months, but as this case shows, they can also lead to pretty serious accidents resulting in severe personal injuries and even death. If the park’s owners fail to take certain precautions, such as making sure all rides are functioning properly, eliminating slippery surfaces, maintaining their property or properly training lifeguards and other staff members, serious consequences can result. Water park negligence in Florida can place many people, including patrons and employees alike, at risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries, skull fractures, spinal cord injuries, neck and back injuries, broken bones, paralysis, drowning and death.

While we usually hear about visitors and guests suffering injuries at an amusement park, keep in mind that employees of amusement parks are also vulnerable to injuries from accidents. Should an unfortunate incident lead to a workplace injury, an employee could be entitled to workers’ compensation. Moreover, if a work-related injury is the fault of another party’s negligence, a personal injury claim seeking financial compensation for damages can be filed against the responsible party.

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At least nine employees of the Blue Rhino gas plant in Tavares were injured late Monday night in a series of propane explosions.

At this time, no fatalities have been reported.

There were nearly 53,000 propane tanks where the blasts took place. Residents of the area say the explosions were visible from 10 miles away and continued for at least 30 minutes.

According to Tavares fire officials and federal authorities, the explosions at the Lake County propane depot are believed to have been set off by equipment failure and human error.

Investigators had to call of their probe Tuesday due to the risk posed by a large, leaking storage tank at the plant.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration have also opened an investigation into this incident.

According to state records, the plant passed inspections by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in March and as recently as July 19 with no violations.

744470_fire_5.jpgFirefighters, police and paramedics reported nine injuries Tuesday, eight of whom were workers. Five of the injured employees were listed in critical condition Tuesday.

Gas explosions are generally caused from some sort of negligence on the part of an individual or company. A propane explosion occurs from a gas leak of some kind in combination with an ignition spark. Gas tanks, pipelines and valves are supposed to be leak-proof, so when a leak does occur that results in an explosion, more often than not negligence is to blame. Any number of negligent acts could cause the leak, or even the spark. Poor design, flaws in the manufacturing process or improper installation, inspection, maintenance or repair could all lead to an accidental explosion.

Unfortunately, when a blast occurs, often those within the space or near the site suffer serious injuries. These injuries can be permanent and life-changing, and even result in death. Propane explosion injuries often include:

• Broken Bones
• Burn Injuries
• Lacerations
• Disfigurement
• Amputation
• Traumatic Brain Injuries
• Spinal Cord Trauma
• Catastrophic Injuries

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