Common Painter Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

October 13, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Common Painter Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

Painters and decorators can potentially suffer injuries that drastically affect their health and ability to work. Workers’ compensation offered by employers is designed to provide the quickest way in which to access financial support for occupational injuries so that painters and decorators can cover damages such as medical bills and lost wages.

Unfortunately, countless injured workers can often find themselves facing difficulties dealing with claims adjusters and can even face the prospect of having their workers' compensation claim denied. 

Although every industry has such complications, at Dolman Law Group, PA, we recognize the unique risks that painters incur in the state of Florida and the potential difficulty they may encounter while seeking workers’ compensation after sustaining an occupational injury. That is why we want to provide the necessary support to get them the financial assistance they need from parties who are determined to deny it. 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Finds Painters At High Risk of Nonfatal Falls

When painters work on a project, they run innumerable risks as they scale multi-story buildings, climb ladders, and rely on lifts to guarantee their security. Nevertheless, workplace protections are not always foolproof, and even the most cautious of employers may fail to observe protocols that could prevent an injury. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a subsidiary of the federal Department of Labor, regularly conducts statistical surveys to estimate the risks associated with professions and industries throughout the country. In a 2016 overview, they discovered that painters ran one of the highest risks of nonfatal falls on the job. 

Considering that federal class codes tend to categorize certain painting jobs as construction-based occupations, a universally high-risk industry, the BLS’s findings are hardly surprising. In order to account for the statistical probability of work-related injuries, painting contractors and sole proprietors are obligated by Florida state law to possess sufficient insurance coverage for workers’ compensation. 

Painters Frequently Exposed to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Another potentially life-threatening risk that painters frequently incur throughout a project is exposure to a group of toxic substances known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Found in a large number of paints, lacquers, and solvents, VOCs, in the absence of sufficient respiratory gear, can result in temporary disorientation or long-term health consequences. 

The International Association of Cancer Research has even classified some VOCs as suspected carcinogens, a designation which denotes probable but unproven cancer-causing potential. Common VOCs to which painters may be exposed include: 

Additional Occupational Injuries in the Painting Industry

In addition to slips and falls and toxic fumes exposure, workers in the painting industry also run the risk of sustaining: 

Although some of these injuries may be temporary, chronic overexertion and sudden tears or strains have the potential to affect a painter for decades to come – impairing and impeding his ability to work. Under such circumstances, an injured painter may be able to seek compensation through the workers’ compensation claims process. 

Florida Workers’ Compensation for Painters

The painting industry in Florida is unique, and so, too, are the statutes that govern it. Depending on the industry subdivision, Florida painters will be employed to coat houses, bridges, ship hulls, squat properties, or tall buildings. 

Given the internal diversity of the painting profession, select businesses receive a construction designation, whereas others fall into lower-risk industry categories. Although the classification heavily impacts the insurance premiums that employers pay to satisfy state standards, they are required to possess coverage for workers’ compensation when and if they own or operate: 

  • A business with four or more full or part-time employees
  • A construction company with one or more employees

A failure to comply with state requirements can result in the imposition of steep penalties from the Florida Department of Financial Services, which monitors compliance and maintains business oversight. In more dire circumstances, the department reserves the right to issue a Stop-Work Order temporarily suspending business operations until an employer satisfies state requirements. 

Eligibility for Florida Workman’s Comp for Painters and Decorators

Workers' compensation is intended and designed to provide crucial financial assistance as an injured employee recovers from an occupational injury. Although insurance companies and their claims adjusters have a tendency to resort to unpleasant tactics to diminish liability and, consequently, compensation, you have a strong case to make if you: 

  • Sustain an occupational injury or illness
  • Have documentation proving a work-injury connection

The most important thing to do if you have sustained an occupational injury is to seek immediate medical attention. After ensuring your health, it’s time to protect your livelihood. Some injuries associated with the painting industry are so severe that they require a worker to take substantial hiatuses from work, thereby placing his and his family’s financial security at risk. 

An injured worker has 30 days in which to file a report declaring an occupational injury, whose filing date also initiates a 2 year period in which he is eligible to file a workers’ comp claim with his employer’s insurance carrier. It is imperative that you maintain scrupulous records and adhere to the state-mandated guidelines to ensure that your employer or its insurance carrier do not attempt to thwart your claim on procedural grounds. 

For assistance in acquiring the necessary medical and work-related documents to supplement your claim and to initiate negotiations with the claims adjuster, consider contacting Dolman Law Group’s experienced workers’ comp lawyers

Class Code 5474

Depending on the particular project or profession, a painter’s workman’s comp claim may fall under several potential class codes. In the context of workers’ compensation, class codes are classifications which categorize industries according to risk level and job tasks. Promulgated by the National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI), they assist insurance carriers in assessing an industry’s degree of risk and calculating the cost of an employer’s premiums. 

The majority of workers’ compensation claims fall under class code 5474, which addresses interior and exterior “painting activities”, including coatings or repairs of residential and commercial structures, the installation of scaffolding, and minor patchwork. For the most part, class code 5474 does not cover or include construction-related painting activities, which may increase a painter’s risk of asbestos or dust overexposure, or the painting of ship hulls.  

Florida’s No-Fault Status in Workers’ Compensation

The state of Florida relies on a no-fault policy for insurance claims, which means that for an individual to file a claim, he does not have to establish that another individual or entity caused his injuries. The initial exclusion of liability considerations is intended to simplify the process of acquiring compensation for individual claimants. 

Nevertheless, there are circumstances related to but separate from workers’ compensation wherein a third party might have caused an individual’s injuries. Although a worker can only seek workers’ compensation benefits from his employer’s insurance carrier, he can also file an additional claim or personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party or his policy provider. 

For example, if a company in the painting industry relies on respiratory gear for indoor projects to diminish worker exposure to VOCs and other harmful airborne substances but the personal protective equipment (PPE) proves defective, a painter may be able to file a workers’ comp claim in addition to pursuing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the malfunctioning devices. 

Common Damages in Painter Workman’s Comp Claims

In proper personal injury lawsuits, plaintiffs reserve the right to request compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Although the criteria for calculating the sum in damages for non-economic damages is ultimately subjective, they can, however partially, provide redress for a victim’s pain and suffering or decreased quality of life caused by a serious injury. 

Unfortunately, workers’ compensation law is considerably less expansive than personal injury litigation and does not cover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. For workers who have sustained an occupational injury, most workman’s comp claims only reimburse an employee for economic losses, including: 

  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning potential 
  • Medical expenditures
  • Disability benefits
  • Transportation costs

Why Choose Dolman Law Group for Your Workman’s Comp Claim

Workers' compensation claims can be fraught with obstacles that make receiving sufficient benefits unnecessarily difficult. insurance adjusters can deny your claim, you may not get the full benefits you deserve or you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against a liable third-party. In any case, Dolman Law Groups workers' compensation lawyers can provide you with award-winning representation to ensure your right to fair compensation is respected.

With over 120 years of combined personal injury law experience, Dolman Law Group has seen it all. When policy providers seek to diminish the compensation to which you may be entitled, our qualified workers’ compensation lawyers can work with you to establish the credibility of your injuries and damages and navigate the complexities of workers' compensation law in order to secure your benefits. 

Our workers' compensation lawyers can also assist you in preparing for a potential personal injury lawsuit if your employer’s insurance provider refuses to accept your legitimate claim or grant you the full value of financial support you are entitled to as you recover. Regardless of the state and nature of your claim, our national firm is ready to offer you the same degree of attention and care as we have to over forty thousand prior clients.

Dolman Law Group’s Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help

Sustaining an occupational injury can result in massive medical expenses, diminished earning potential, and serious ramifications for your professional life. Although filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida ought to provide an expeditious way in which to access sorely needed funds, insurance companies are only interested in profit and to do so they seek to minimize the coverage they provide. 

Invariably, they will seek to cut corners and slash compensation figures in an effort to protect their and their policy holder’s interests. That is why contracting a local workers’ compensation attorney could mean the difference between making ends meet and succumbing to a torrent of medical bills, mortgages, and more. 

At Dolman Law Group, PA, our lawyers provide free consultations to prospective clients where we can undertake a general assessment of their claims and the compensation to which they may be entitled. 

If you have suffered from an occupational injury and have already encountered or expect to confront resistance from your employer’s insurance carrier, consider contacting us today at (727) 451-6900. 

 

Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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