Lawsuits Move Forward in Tampa Electric Accident
A state appeals court rejected arguments that Tampa Electric should be shielded from liability. This will allow lawsuits filed by two men who were injured in an accident to move forward. The men were employees of Zachry Industrial which had contracts with Tampa Electric to do maintenance at the power plant. The accident involved a condenser door blowing open causing a large amount of water to strike the men at a high velocity.
Workers’ Compensation versus Personal Injury
Workers receive workers’ compensation insurance from their employers. Both men in this case were given workers’ compensation benefits by Zachry Industrial. Tampa Electric argued that they should be shielded from liability because the men were receiving workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. A circuit court judge ruled that Tampa Electric was not shielded from liability because they were not the employer of the two men, and it wasn’t their policy that was paying out. The appeals court agreed. The panel rejected those arguments and allowed the case to move forward.
Workers’ Compensation Immunity
Employers are entitled to be shielded from liability from employee lawsuits when they carry workers’ compensation insurance. The requirements for workers’ compensation vary from state to state and even city to city. Further, the requirements are different for different industries.
Essentially, if you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you cannot file a lawsuit. The trade-off is that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system so the employee does not need to prove negligence as they would in a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation immunity does not apply to independent contractors or third-party torts. In other words, unless you are covered by a workers’ compensation policy, you are allowed to file a lawsuit against a company while you’re working.
Contractors and Workers’ Compensation
A company like Tampa Electric would be required to make sure that third-party contractors like the men mentioned above had workers’ compensation insurance from their own company, which they did. If the employees of Zachry Industrial did not have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, then their subcontractors would become the legal equivalent of their employees, and Tampa Electric’s policy would have paid out, thus shielding them from the lawsuit. Instead, it was the men’s own company that paid out which will pave the way for a lawsuit against Tampa Electric. The men must still prove that the company was negligent. Since this is a premises liability lawsuit, negligence requires that the accident was “foreseeable”.
Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another person or company, call the Tampa personal injury attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss the matter in greater detail.