Negligence forms the basis of most personal injury claims. In Florida work accident cases, Florida workers’ compensation law typically bars an employee from litigating against the employer. This is because workers’ compensation is intended to be the exclusive remedy for an accidental injury or death suffered on the job. However, in certain cases, Florida law allows employees to pursue a general negligence claim against an employer. Negligence is the failure of a defendant to use reasonable care, resulting in harm to the injured party.
In Broward Executive Builders, Inc., v. Liliana Zota, as Guardian of Mercedes Zota, the Fourth District Court of Appeal of Florida recently reversed a jury verdict in favor of an injured worker and directed a verdict for the construction company.
A worker by the name of Mercedes Zota fell and sustained injuries while painting a ceiling above a second-floor catwalk in a home that was under construction. At the time of the accident, Mercedes was using a stepladder and two scaffolds positioned upon the catwalk to reach and paint the ceiling. The evidence at trial showed that the catwalk lacked the required guardrails in place to comply with the guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The jury ultimately ruled in favor of the injured worker and against the construction company.