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Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Blog

4 common accidents for cyclists to anticipate and avoid

Florida has a climate ideal for bicycle riding, and avid cyclists take advantage of it every day — but if you are a member of this group, you must always be thinking about safety.

When you are traveling at a steady 25 or 30 miles per hour and riding in traffic, dicey situations can pop up in the blink of an eye. Here are four common accidents you will want to prepare for and avoid:

Workers' compensation claims may follow on-the-job fatalities

Florida business owners must protect their employees from harm on duty. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety regulations with which employers must comply. Many workers' compensation benefits claims are filed every year after injuries are caused by the failure of employers to provide safe work environments.

According to the conclusion of an investigation into a workplace accident at Tampa Electric last June, OSHA determined that willful and deliberate safety violations caused the deaths of five workers and serious injuries to a sixth employee. Reportedly, the workers were in a space underneath a unit, clearing a blockage of a furnace. As the obstruction was removed, an explosion occurred, and molten slag was spewed across the area and the workers.

Why was your Social Security Disability Insurance claim denied?

When a Florida resident learns that his or her claim for disability benefits was rejected, there may be several questions about the reason for the denial. Many people rely on Social Security Disability Insurance after becoming disabled, and the rejection of an application for benefits may be devastating. While they may think they made errors in their applications, almost every rejection occurs because the information provided did not justify the applicant's claim of disability.

For successful claims, the Social Security Administration looks for a mental or physical impairment, or a combination of the two, which must be severe enough to prevent an applicant from obtaining gainful employment. Also, the disability must be of a nature that will prevent such employment for longer than one year. When the administration looks at the ability to work, it will consider any jobs done over the past 15 years, and any job for which the person might have the necessary skills.

Workers' compensation claim may follow death of apprentice

One of the many safety hazards to which construction workers are exposed is elevation equipment such as scissor lifts and forklifts. The risk of using such a vehicle is exacerbated if the operator is not adequately trained or qualified to drive it, and many workers' compensation claims for death benefits claims follow such safety violations. This danger was underscored recently when a worker died a tragic death at a construction site in Florida.

Reportedly, the man who lost his life at a construction site was a 27-year-old electrician apprentice employed by an electrical contractor. A police report indicates that, shortly after 10 a.m. on a recent Thursday, the worker was on a 14-foot scissor lift platform, which he was navigating through a double door by using a joystick controller. Unfortunately, he was too high to pass through the entranceway safely, and authorities say his head became trapped between the door frame and the lift rail.

Workers' compensation benefits available for injured workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it recently cited one of the primary utility providing companies in Florida. This followed a May incident in which four workers landed in the hospital after they were exposed to a toxic substance -- an incident that likely led to workers' compensation claims. Anhydrous ammonia is a hazardous gas, and exposure can cause respiratory irritation, skin burns and even suffocation. Investigators determined that the dangerous release of gas was caused by a pipeline that was over pressurized.

OSHA has strict safety regulations to protect workers from anhydrous ammonia. The rules include the need for employees to wear respirators in areas in which the vapors may be present. The citations issued for the safety violations in May are apparently not as severe as expected, but the safety agency says these violations may also play a role in another ongoing investigation.

A pleasant walk can be ruined by a negligent driver

In an accident where a vehicle strikes someone on foot, the pedestrian is at a distinct disadvantage. If the victim survives, there may be severe injuries requiring week or months, if not years, of physical therapy and rehabilitation.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office dealt with a rash of car-pedestrian accidents in 2017, which prompted them to issue safety reminders to the public at large.

Workers' compensation benefits available after trench collapses

Trenches are some of the most dangerous workspaces for workers. For this reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has national emphasis programs at regular intervals to monitor trench safety and create awareness of the potentially deadly hazards that excavations pose. A significant number of workers' compensation claims involve trench-related injuries every year. Following an inspection during an emphasis program, a Florida-based company is facing proposed penalties totaling almost $150,000.

The violations were recorded at a work site in a neighboring state at which some of the Florida company's construction workers were exposed to deadly hazards. An OSHA spokesperson says unprotected trenches expose employees to catastrophic or even fatal injuries. All employees must be trained to recognize excavation hazards and know how to avoid them.

Personal injury claims can follow boating accidents

Many people in Florida know what they have to do if they are involved in an automobile accident. However, they may not be too sure of the steps to take when they are involved in a boating accident. A personal injury suffered on the water is not uncommon, and in many cases, boating or jet ski accidents are caused by the negligence of other boat operators.

If anybody suffered critical injuries, the first step would be to contact emergency responders. In case of a capsized boat, it is essential to get everybody to safety as soon as possible -- every occupant of the vessel should be wearing a life jacket. As with car accidents, it is best to remain at the accident scene. It is also advisable for all to be medically evaluated after such an accident, even if injuries are not immediately evident.

The ins and outs of filing a wrongful death lawsuit

When a Florida family loses a loved one due to another person's reckless, negligent or deliberate actions, the surviving members of the family may have grounds for filing a civil lawsuit against the person deemed responsible. The civil action of filing a wrongful death lawsuit enables them to pursue financial relief. When such a lawsuit is filed, the plaintiffs must establish negligence before the civil court can determine the monetary value of the damages to be awarded to the family members.

The assumption in this type of lawsuit is that the surviving family members' lives were directly affected by a loved one's death. Not only has another party's negligence caused the personal loss but also impacted the financial and emotional lives of the plaintiffs. In Florida, the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit is limited to the deceased individual's spouse and children along with his or her parents and any other relatives who are entirely or partly dependent on the decedent.

Social Security disability benefits for traumatic brain injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can prevent victims from returning to work. Florida workers whose brain injuries render them disabled may apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Workers who contributed to Social Security taxes during their years of employment are eligible for these benefits. However, there are financial and technical rules that must be met for eligibility.

To qualify for disability benefits, the severity of the brain injury must cause long-term or permanent impairments. The Social Security Administration will need proof of the diagnosis that identifies the type of brain injury, although it classifies all under cerebral trauma after evaluating the disability claim. Even though TBI is the most prevalent of all brain injuries, other types can also qualify for benefits.

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