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Heat Illness Personal Injury Claims

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In Florida, individuals may have a case to make a personal injury or wrongful death claim due to heat illness, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke only under specific circumstances. These claims can arise from both work-related and recreational activities, depending on the situation and the duty of care owed by the responsible parties. Circumstances evolve around demonstrating that another party’s negligence or failure to uphold a duty of care directly resulted in the heat-related harm. Here are the key elements and scenarios where such claims can be made:

1. Duty of Care

Different individuals have different duties of care:

  • Employers: Employers owe a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe working environment, especially in high heat conditions. This includes:

  • Event Organizers: Organizers, of outdoor events such as sports competitions, concerts, festivals, etc., must provide/do the following:

    • Adequate facilities for cooling.

    • Hydration stations.

    • Monitor participants for signs of heat illness.

  • Property Owners: Owners of recreational facilities or public places like amusement/theme parks, beaches, swimming pools, have a duty to ensure the safety of visitors by providing:

    • Shaded areas.

    • Water stations.

    • Emergency medical assistance.

2. Breach of Duty

  • Failure to provide Adequate Safety Measures

    • If an employer, event organizer, or property owner fails to implement necessary safety measures, – water, shade, staff training – to prevent heat-related illnesses, they may be held liable.

  • Violation of Safety Measures

    • Non-compliance with safety standards and regulations set by bodies such as OSHA, which require specific measures to prevent heat-related illnesses in the workplace.

3. Causation

  • There MUST be a direct link between the breach of duty and the heat-related illness/injury.

  • This means that the individual filing the claim must prove that the lack of proper measures OR negligence directly caused the heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or other related conditions.

4. Damages

The injured individual, – claimant – must prove that the heat injury caused “damages” such as:

  • Medical Expenses: costs incurred for treatment of the heat-related illness/injury.

  • Lost Wages: compensation for lost income due to the inability to work.

  • Pain and Suffering: compensation for physical pain and emotional distress.

  • Wrongful Death: in cases of death, compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and other related damages.

Work-Related Cases

In Florida, many heat illness cases are work-related, particularly in industries like construction, agriculture, landscaping, and others involving outdoor labor. Employers have a legal duty to provide a safe working environment, which includes taking reasonable measures to protect workers from heat-related illnesses.

What a Claimant needs to Prove

To establish a successful claim, the worker, – or family, in the case of death – typically needs to prove the following:

  • The employer knew or SHOULD have known about the risk of heat illness.

  • Despite this knowledge, the employer failed to take adequate precautions.

Role of the Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer plays a crucial role in these cases, with duties that include:

  • Investigating the incident.

  • Gathering evidence.

  • Interviewing witnesses.

  • Consulting with medical experts.

  • Negotiating with employer’s insurance company.

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the lawyer may file a lawsuit on behalf of the injured worker or their family.

Recreational Activity-Related Cases

Heat illness claims can also arise from participation in recreational activities such as trips to amusement/theme parks, sports events, marathons/races/tournaments, and outdoor festivals/concerts. In these cases, event owners/organizers may be held liable if they fail to provide adequate measures to protect participants or attendees from heat-related illnesses.

What a Claimant needs to Prove

The claimant needs to establish that the organizers breached their duty by failing to take reasonable steps to prevent heat illness including:

  • Failing to provide adequate shaded areas for participants to get out of the sun/heat.

  • Not providing water stations.

  • Lack of safety/medical personnel.

  • Failing to provide warnings about the risk of heat exposure.

Why Hire the Expert Heat Illness Lawyers at GOLDLAW to file Your Claim?

To file a personal injury or wrongful death claim for heat-related illness or injury in Florida, it is essential to prove that the responsible party owed a duty of care, beached their duty, directly caused the illness/injury, and that actual damages resulted. The experts at GOLDLAW have handled many heat illness cases, and can guide you and your family through the process.

Have questions about a potential claim, contact GOLDLAW for a FREE consultation: