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Florida Construction Worker Failed to Establish Workers’ Compensation Claim

ConstrFall

Construction work can be dangerous. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that reports of accidents and injuries are not uncommon when it comes to construction projects. Even this early in the year, news outlets contain reports of construction related injuries that have occurred in Florida in 2020. In South Florida, for example, a construction worker in West Palm was injured by a wall that fell on him while he was working on a downtown building construction project. In Haines City, Baynews9 reports that a construction worker who was helping to build a strip mall was killed when a concrete wall fell on him.

From a strictly legal perspective, it is important for everyone involved when a construction accident occurs to understand their rights and obligations. Different and often complicated laws, including workers’ compensation laws, may be implicated. Among other things, these laws may affect not only who may be entitled to compensation, but also from whom compensation may be sought. These laws can also limit when and whether a claim can be made in the first place, as was the case in Blanco v. Creative Management Services, LLC, a matter decided last fall by a Florida appellate court. If you are interested in learning about your rights and responsibilities in connection with construction sites and construction accidents in South Florida, contact Sweeney Law.

What Happened in Blanco v. Creative Management Services, LLC?

In Blanco v. Creative Management Services, LLC, a construction worker filed a claim for workers’ compensation. The construction worker’s job was to set up booths for an art show. This job, which took place over an eleven-day period, required the worker to perform a variety of tasks, including painting, building walls, and moving furniture. According to the construction worker, dust and debris from the worksite caused him to have trouble breathing, and this circumstance led to him being rushed to the emergency room, and, ultimately, being diagnosed with COPD and acute asthma. In contrast to the construction worker’s argument, an expert medical witness testified that the worker’s seventeen-year history of cigarette smoking was the major cause of his medical condition. The Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) denied the workers’ compensation claim. The JCC concluded that the construction worker did not show that worksite conditions were the major contributing cause of his illness and credited the medical expert’s testimony as convincing.

The District Court of Appeals of Florida agreed with the JCC. In its written decision, the court specifically addressed the construction worker’s argument that the evidence did not support the JCC’s decision to deny his workers’ compensation claim.

Basically, the court

  • upheld the JCC’s determination that the construction worker failed to establish that the dust and debris at the worksite caused his ill health,

determined that expert testimony given by a doctor who was not a board-certified internist or pulmonologist, but was board-certified in occupational medicine and had a PhD in toxicology, was not improperly considered.

Lessons from Blanco v. Creative Management Services, LLC

As this summary of the court’s analysis in Blanco v. Creative Management Services, LLC makes clear, there are a number of different factors that come into play in evaluating a workers’ compensation claim. If you would like to learn more about the intricacies of workers’ compensation claims, or have questions about any other claims related to construction accidents, contact a Fort Lauderdale construction lawyer at Sweeney Law.

Resources:

wflx.com/2020/01/09/high-rise-construction-accident-downtown-west-palm-beach/

scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3621715836306409034&q=construction+worker+injury&hl=en&as_sdt=4,10&as_ylo=2019

baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2020/01/17/construction-worker-injured-after-building-collapsed

https://www.sweeneylawpa.com/floridas-notice-of-commencement/

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