Are Utilities Immune from Liability in Power Plant Accidents in Florida?
When people suffer injuries in a plant accident, many of them are worried that they will not be fully compensated for their injuries because the utility is immune from liability. But can a utility be shielded from liability for injuries stemming from plant accidents?
Most recently, following a power plant accident in Hillsborough County, a Florida appeals court ruled against a utility which argued that it should be immune from lawsuits. As reported by Florida Politics, a three-judge panel ruled against Tampa Electric after the utility argued that it should be shielded from liability for injuries suffered by two workers in an October 2017 accident.
Can a Utility Be Immune from Liability for Plant Accident Injuries?
The power plant accident occurred three years ago and involved two workers at Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station in Hillsborough County. The two workers were contracted by Tampa Electric to perform maintenance work.
When the two workers filed lawsuits against Tampa Electric, the utility argued that it should be immune from liability because the two men received workers’ compensation insurance benefits from their employer.
However, a three-judge panel rejected Tampa Electric’s argument, explaining that the utility is not entitled to immunity under the state’s workers’ compensation law because it was not the statutory employer of the two injured workers.
The Utility’s Negligence and Plant Accidents in Florida
If you were injured in a plant accident in Florida, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can help you determine liability in your particular case regardless of whether you received workers’ compensation benefits or not.
If your plant accident was caused by a third party or you were contracted by another company, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party. The vast majority of plant accidents are caused by human error or negligence on the part of the utility.
Plant accidents can result in an explosion, fire, or any other disaster. Many plant accidents occur due to the utility’s failure to:
- Take reasonable safety measures;
- Properly train and supervise workers;
- Perform background checks when hiring workers; or
- Inspect and maintain the facility to eliminate hazards.
Why You Should Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney
Plants and refiners are more hazardous than other workplaces due to all the harmful chemicals and heavy machinery. Since plant workers are exposed to more on-the-job hazards, utilities are held to a higher standard of care than other businesses.
If you were injured in a plant accident, you need to discuss your legal options with a Lakeland personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer or negotiating with the insurance company. Our lawyer Sanga Turnbull at The Turnbull Firm will review your particular case to help you identify liable parties and pursue the compensation you deserve.
In many plant accidents, utilities are trying to escape liability by putting the blame on other parties. However, a large percentage of plant accidents occur due to the utility’s negligence, though third parties can be partially to blame for such accidents. If you sustained an injury in a plant accident, speak with our Lakeland personal injury lawyer at The Turnbull Firm by calling at 863-324-3500.