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Organizational Resistance And Compensation Claims

For many workers throughout the state of Florida, on the job injury can be a significant risk. Between agricultural and industrial employers across the Bradenton and Tampa Bay area, there are also many seasonal and temporary positions that are filled by in state and out of state workers. The result in many of these cases is that when injury does happen, the protocols for accurately filing a claim may be obscured.

A Basic Provision

Most larger employers in these industries will have workers compensation insurance, as it is a requirement for companies in certain professions and that are over a certain size for employees. However, seasonal employers will sometimes skirt the issue of compensation by coding their seasonal workers as contract employees, which essentially makes the worker self-employed. The result of this is that compensation coverage does not technically extend to these staff members, even though their presence on the work premises should qualify them for a claim.

With temporary positions that are filled, there is a similar situation. In these cases, employees are considered to be working for the temp agency, even though they are on site within a different corporation. In these cases, an injury would be more readily covered, although which organizational entity takes on this responsibility can still be questionable.

The result of all this is that while provisions for workers compensation may be present, they do not always immediately extend to the actual employee.

A Case Study

Recently, an employee at a regional transformer factory came into issues that resulted in legal action and attorney involvement to settle a compensation claim. What is most important to note about the situation is that organizational over sights and lack of support in handling the claims process played a large part in the resulting issues.

Essentially, the worker had dropped a 50 lbs. steel plate on her foot, which ultimately resulted in several fractures as well as severe tearing and contusions on the muscles in the ankle and foot. Although the employee did not immediately register the severity of the injury, probably due to the adrenalin that was pumping through her system after the accident, when she did sit down to examine the damage, she realized that her show had filled with blood, and that the swelling was so severe, her shoe could not even contain her foot.

This is a significant injury and was reported to the shift manager as soon as the severity was realized. However, at this point, the employee was told that she would have to wait for the organizational nurse to examine and x-ray the foot, before the documentation and paperwork could be filed.

This employee ended up waiting nearly three days before she could get the medical attention she was told to wait for. By this point, the untreated injury had also led to complications of infection, and while this is really the fault of the organization, the industrial nurse only filed paperwork for the original injury. This resulted in two very distinct problems:

  • • The treatment of the ensuing infection should be rightfully covered by the compensation claim, especially as organizational irresponsibility led to the situation. Further, it can also be argued that the infection itself was a workplace injury, since the festering of the wound for three days while the employee was at the factory is a valid point.
  • • The lag time between documentation and the time of the actual injury created resistance from the insurance provider in filling the claim. This not only prevented the employee from getting medical compensation, but it obviated any pain and suffering remuneration she was able to get, and also meant that the organization still expected her to work through her recovery.

Although the involvement of attorneys has since rectified the issues of this case, it is a good example of how on the job injuries can be neglected, leaving the victim in a state of limbo regarding both care and compensation. While employees of any company should be aware of the protocols and timeline for documentation of an on the job injury, they should also be aware of all their rights when it comes to compensation. This can not only reduce pain and suffering, but can also ensure that accountability for payments is put upon the proper entity.

Michael J. Babboni's wide-ranging legal career is based on the strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and have access to effective legal help. Michael began putting his beliefs in action by helping the people of St. Petersburg Florida get what they are owed in civil trials fighting to protect families by making corporations pay, and honor their obligations.

Organizational Resistance And Compensation Claims

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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