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Worker Injured? Here’s What You Need to Know Part 2

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Workplace injuries cost employers billions of dollars annually. Injuries raise insurance premiums, prompt other employees to work longer hours, and can even result in a stop work order in Florida. In this two-part article, we are discussing workplace injuries and whether or not employers are liable for paying workers’ compensation. In the first part, we discussed injured workers “off the clock” and workers that experience injuries away from the property. In this section, we will cover other types of injuries that should exclude the employer from coverage.

Substance Abuse

If an employee is injured while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the employer should not cover the injury. Every industry should promote a drug-free workplace; however, for construction or manufacturing jobs, an intoxicated worker can seriously impact the jobsite and endanger the lives of everyone present. It’s important for employers in these industries to regularly drug test their employees and ensure that they are promoting a drug-free and safe work environment. If a worker is found to be in violation of these policies, you should consider suspending their employment and requiring them to seek treatment.

Fighting

As we stated in the previous section, if a worker is injured at work, they are eligible for workers’ compensation if they are performing work that benefits the business. If two workers engage in serious misconduct and fight at the workplace, the injuries that result from this exchange should not be covered. There may be exceptions to this rule. For example, if an innocent bystander was injured during the exchange, the employer should cover this employee. Another example is if there were reported issues of one employee threatening another employee and management ignored these issues and an incident transpired, the employer should cover the victim of this attack. It’s best to consult with an attorney if any of these types of scenarios transpire at your workplace.

Was the Injury Related to the Work?

There are many other circumstances that can result in an injury to an employee that should not be covered by the employer. For example, if an employee is injured while commuting to or from work, this is not covered. Similarly, if an employee leaves the workplace for a meal break, the employer is not considered responsible for their health and wellness while they are away from the property.

If your workplace experienced an injury and you are not sure whether or not you are liable to cover the medical expenses, please contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

If you would like to speak with a stop work order attorney in Florida, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

If an employee is injured on the job, employers want to do right by them and make certain that their recovery process is covered through workers’ compensation. With that being said, when a worker is injured away from the job, this injury should not be covered by the employer. In this two-part series, a workers’ compensation defense attorney in Florida will discuss the grey area of injuries at the workplace and circumstances in which the employer should not be footing the bill.

Workers’ Compensation Coverage

An employer is liable to pay workers’ compensation for an injury if the employee is injured on the job performing work for the employer or engaging in a required task to benefit the business. Typically, when an injury transpires at the workplace, the employer is required to cover the employee’s medical bills, provide lost wages, pay for the employee’s rehabilitation requirements, and provide additional payment if the employee suffers a long-term injury. Although the majority of workers’ compensation claims are legitimate, in some cases, the employer is not liable and should not cover the injury.

The Timing of the Injury

If an employee is injured at the workplace, but they are “off the clock” this usually results in the employer covering their workers’ compensation. Although the circumstances of the injury are extremely important, typically, an employee that is injured either while entering or exiting the property qualifies for coverage. Of course, every workplace is different and employers should always consult with a Florida workers’ compensation defense lawyer if an injury transpires at their workplace.

Injured On or Off Property

Some workers are injured away from the workplace, but file a workers’ compensation claim hoping that their employer will cover their injury. Most injuries that transpire at the workplace are covered; however, there are some situations in which an employer is also liable if an employee is injured away from the work property.

For example, if an employee is required to travel for work to meet clients, the employer is liable to pay workers’ compensation if the employee is injured on their way to visit a client. Similarly, any type of training exercise or job tasks being performed away from the workplace should be covered. If you are unsure if your employee qualifies for workers’ compensation, a workers’ compensation defense attorney in Florida can assist you.

For more information on workers’ compensation, please read the second part of this article.

If you would like to speak with a Florida workers’ compensation defense lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Our Raleigh construction law firm is well-versed in the construction bidding process and its challenges. We know that a busy schedule can make it is easy to downplay the necessity of a pre-bid meeting, but it is an important step in the preconstruction process that can help you optimize your project proposal. Prospective bidders should show up to the pre-bid meetings prepared with questions and ready to engage during the event.

In section one of our article, we discussed the importance of pre-bid meetings. In this last part, we will conclude our series with more reasons to attend these valuable meetings.

Meet the Procuring Entity

The pre-bid meetings are hosted by the procurement authority or the company issuing the solicitation. The procurement entity’s role is to ensure that the bid process is managed well on behalf of the company that is seeking goods or services. A representative (or team) from the procuring entity will be present to discuss the entire solicitation document. You will have the opportunity to introduce yourself and establish a relationship with the procurement team which could be beneficial for you. Not only will they be able to “put a face to the name,” but you’ll have an opportunity to get a better understanding of what they are looking for so you can adjust your bid accordingly.

Check Out the Competition

Serious bidders make it their priority to attend pre-bid meetings. They are your potential competition, so it is a good idea to attend the pre-bid meeting to see the caliber of talent you are up against. At this meeting, you can get an idea of the number of companies interested in the project. You can also use this as an opportunity to network with some of these companies, so carry your business cards, as you could be working with them on a future project.

Improve Your Submission

Procurement entities give essential tips for writing an effective bid proposal. After attending the pre-bid meeting and getting a better understanding of the project requirements and specifications, you should have a more realistic understanding of the project. You will be able to incorporate your new insights and better align your response with the needs of the potential client. Your final submission should improve considerably in comparison to if you had not attended the meeting.

If you would like to speak with a Raleigh contractor attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Depending on the type of project you are pursuing, you and other prospective bidders will be invited to a pre-bid meeting. Although you may feel that you are too busy to attend this meeting, it is highly recommended that you or a designated member of your team attend. This two-part article will give you several reasons why you should attend.

Remember, if you have any legal concerns about the bidding process, speak with a Raleigh construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.

What is a Pre-bid Meeting?

A pre-bid meeting, sometimes called a conference, is typically held a week or two after a project owner sends out the initial request for bids or proposals—a couple of weeks before the bid or proposal is due, giving the bidders time to read and study the solicitation documents. Some pre-bid meetings are mandatory while others may be optional. They are conducted in person and held at an organized venue. The purpose of this meeting is to provide information to interested bidders who may have questions or concerns about the solicitation documents.

What to Expect

An agenda document will outline the pre-bid meeting in its entirety. At the pre-bid meeting, a representative from the procuring entity will discuss the entire solicitation document. The following is a typical pre-bid meeting schedule:

  • Opening remarks and introduction
  • Presentation of procurement requirements
  • Questions and answers on the procurement requirements
  • Presentation on the technical details of the requirements
  • Question and answers on the technical requirements
  • Closing remarks

All questions and answers captured during the meeting will be put into minutes and sent to the bidders who attended.

Get Clarification

The main objective of the pre-bid meeting is to provide details about the proposed project and process. Even with your best efforts at preparing your documents, you may still have questions about the content. If you are confused about anything regarding the invitation to bid, project proposal, or solicitation documents, now is the time to get clarity. For instance, certain bids require bonds to guarantee the performance of the contract—such as performance bonds and payment bonds—if it is over a certain dollar amount. Forgoing this meeting can lead to confusion and might cost you the contract if you do not have a solid understanding of the project’s requirements. If you have questions about performance or payments bonds, consult with a Raleigh construction bond expert from our firm.

In part two, we will provide more reasons why you should attend the pre-bid meeting.

If you would like to speak with a Raleigh construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

In this two-part article, unpaid overtime lawyers in Tampa are discussing “crunch culture” and violations of wage and hour laws. As technology reaches impressive new heights, often it comes at the sacrifice of hardworking developers, engineers, and other creatives that are mistreated in their workplace. From Silicon Valley to the video game industry, many talented professionals are forced to work long hours of unpaid overtime with few days off and no breaks. The result is mounting stress, sleep deprivation, fatigue, exhaustion, and even family problems. If you require an unpaid overtime lawyer in Tampa, contact us today.

Creative and Computer Professional Exemptions

Many video game and technology companies try to skirt by wage and hour laws by considering their employees to be salaried “creative professionals” which legally exempts them from overtime. The federally-governed Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) defines creative professionals as having a primary job task of “performance of work requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.” Another similar overtime exemption exists for “computer professionals.” Although positions like developer, graphic artist, or writer meet the FMLA job requirements as a creative or computer professional, many tech and video game companies fail to meet the standard to legally exempt these professionals from overtime.

How Crunch Culture Fails to Meet Overtime Exemption Standard

As we discussed in the last section, many developers, engineers, artists, and writers that work on video game projects are paid around minimum wage. In order for a computer professional to be exempt from overtime, they must earn a weekly salary of $455 or an hourly rate of more than $27. Similar requirements also apply to creative professionals.

Many young professionals starting out in a creative field are misclassified as salaried professionals and are actually independent contractors on a temporary contract. These creative professionals should be compensated an hourly rate for every hour they worked including time-and-a-half for overtime. Moreover, video game companies are not providing adequate breaks for these workers and often retaliate against employees that file a complaint.

Advice for Creative and Computer Professionals

If you work in a creative field in which you earn around the State of Florida minimum wage of $8.25 and you are exempt from overtime, contact an unpaid overtime lawyer in Tampa. We can review your employment status and determine whether or not your employer has violated federal or state wage and hour laws.

If you would like to speak with one of our unpaid overtime lawyers in Tampa, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

“Crunch culture” has become a rampant part of the work environment in the gaming industry. With incredibly long hours, few days off, zero break time, and little pity for employees that fail to sustain this intense speed, the health and wellness of the talented professionals developing video games has taken a backseat to the multi-billion dollar revenue stream the timely release of these games generates.

In this two-part article, a Tampa wage and hour attorney will discuss crunch culture and the wage and hour infractions that employers often commit when they promote this type of over-demanding work environment.

What is Crunch Culture?

Crunch culture mostly impacts “creatives.” Whether it’s tech savvy professionals like developers, coders, and engineers or imaginative professionals like graphic designers or writers, the concept is that these artistically-gifted employees are expected to work long hours and continue working until they reach their deadline. Crunch culture endorses that employees feel “the struggle” as part of their creative process. In other words, the belief system is that employees’ passion to produce results should outweigh everything else including stress, fatigue, and mental health.

The Wage and Hour Violations Committed

Developing and releasing video games is a booming industry that produces billions in revenue every year for the production companies that produce these ambitious games for consoles, smartphones, tablets, desktops, and other platforms. Crunch culture features many questionable labor practices including:

  • Intense Hours: Some game developers average over 80 hours per week. When deadlines near, these hours increase. In fact, a Rockstar Games executive recently praised his staff for working over 100 hours weekly to reach their looming deadline.
  • No Overtime: In lieu of traditional time-and-a-half overtime pay, many companies instead offer their “crunch team” other forms of benefits including deferred time off and free meals. One video game company even proudly tweeted that they had served their developers over 11,000 meals over the course of the game’s development.
  • No Minimum Wage: Because of the demand to get into the industry, many talented professionals are willing to earn a daily fee that is significantly less than the standard hourly rate for their position. When working an 80 hour work week, their hourly pay may be less than the state’s minimum wage requirement.
  • Contracting Work: Many professionals are actually hired as independent contractors, but treated as a salaried employee with unpaid overtime. Other professionals are offered a “rolling contract” with limited or zero benefits.
  • Restrictive Waivers: In some cases, the video game company will make the employees sign a restrictive contract citing that the employee agrees to work over 40 hours per week without additional compensation.

For more information on crunch culture, please read the second section.

If you would like to speak with one of our Tampa wage and hour attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

In the first section of this two-part article, our contractor attorneys in Mobile, AL, discussed how robots can perform the most dangerous tasks on a project faster and with more precision than human workers. In this section, we will provide you with some specific examples of how this technology is being implemented into construction.

Global Technology Leader in Robotics

Sarcos Robotics is a technology powerhouse that specializes in creating robotic systems. The company’s mantra is to “combine human intelligence, instinct and judgment with robotic strength, endurance and precision.” With past experience developing military-grade applications and state-of-the-art prosthetics, there most recently designed robotic systems specialize in effectively performing several construction tasks that endanger the lives of human workers.

Newest Robotic Technology

Sarcos Robotics has recently unveiled a few robotic systems that may eventually transform the construction industry. Whether it’s scanning hazardous terrain, effortlessly lifting a thousand pounds of material, or an exoskeleton suit that enhances a human’s strength and endurance, Sarcos’ designs include the following features:

  • Guardian S: Rovers are being implemented into construction projects to provide sites with inspection technology that can scan the entire area and upload the data to a cloud-based system instantly. The Guardian S is the most impressive surveillance model on the market. It is capable of traveling over all sorts of terrain (gravel, snow, mud) and can fit in tight spaces like air ducts. Its sophisticated artificial intelligence allows the system to detect hazards, and the technology can also record video and audio utilizing a variety of sensor packages (e.g., GPS, infrared, vibrations). This technology can be utilized not only for infrastructure inspections, but also for tactical situations or hazardous emergencies.
  • Guardian GT: The most labor-intensive construction and manufacturing jobs involve workers that are required to lift or transport heavy supplies. Whether it’s loading and unloading materials, erecting infrastructure, or a specialized skill like welding, the Guardian GT is capable of performing all of these hazardous tasks with human-like precision. Designed with two fluid-motion arms that can lift up to 1,000 pounds combined, this human-controlled, dual-armed operating system allows the robotic arms to perform all of the heavy lifting.
  • Guardian XO: Currently in the design phase, Sarcos Robotics is developing an “industrial exoskeleton suit” that allows the human wearing the application to effortlessly lift over 200 pounds while also moving freely to perform their tasks. The suit consists of extremely durable materials and is equipped with heavy tools that allow the wearer to perform a wide array of tasks that require maximum strength, precision, and endurance.

If you would like to speak with a contractor attorney in Mobile, AL, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Although many construction practices have remained tried-and-true for generations, many construction firms are wisely adapting their business models to feature innovative technologies that enhance their operations. At Cotney Construction Law, our construction lawyers in Mobile, AL, are always studying the latest trends in the industry that can help construction professionals perform their work to the best of their ability. Remember, for any of your project needs, a construction lawyer in Mobile, AL, can assist you.

Robotic Technology

Although robotic technology has been around for over 50 years, robotic systems have recently experienced groundbreaking advancements and the technology is projected to see massive growth over the next decade. With mechanical and electronic engineering capabilities reaching new heights, and computer programming applications seeing several enhancements in their operating systems, robotic technology now has the potential to revolutionize the construction industry.

The Benefits of Robotic Systems

Although there is an endless list of benefits that robotic technology brings to the job site, here are the three primary ways that the application of robotic systems can enhance a project:

  • Production: Well-designed robots can perform a greater volume of work at a higher speed with unmatched precision compared to human workers. Robotic systems can also work around the clock until a project is complete. For example, Hadrian X, a massive bricklaying robotic system, can lay over 20,000 bricks in a day with more accuracy than a traditional bricklayer. The outdoor robot can also work in any type of weather condition.
  • Safety: Construction sites involve many hazards and safety risks. Utilizing robots to perform the most perilous tasks reduces injuries and eliminates the possibility of accidents transpiring because of fatigue or human error. Robots can also work in tight spaces that present immediate danger to the human worker.
  • Cost Effective: Although there is a significant initial investment for a construction firm to purchase a robotic system, once this financing is made, the investment can save a business significantly on the backend with improved productivity and less materials wasted.

Despite the often negative perception of robotic systems “stealing jobs” from human workers, actually, implementing the technology into a job site can create more jobs by transferring opportunities away from high-risk construction areas and into operating and monitoring this technology. In the second section, we will discuss a few specific examples of how this technology is being used in the construction field.

If you would like to speak with a construction lawyer in Mobile, AL, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Time, quality, and cost are critical aspects of every construction project. Drone mapping provides construction companies with the ability to survey their projects in real time and provide quality control. Using drones to get a bird’s eye view of your jobsite leads to a number of benefits, including reducing risks as discussed in part one, and increasing your chances of winning a bid as discussed in part two. In this final section, our Jacksonville construction lawyers will list more benefits of drone mapping and address some limitations, too.

Faster Billing and a Steady Cash Flow

Cash flow can be problematic for professionals in the construction industry—especially for contractors. With drone mapping, you can bill your client faster and more accurately. You can capture data one day and bill the next day, which provides the client with the exact data metrics that were captured. A more efficient project cycle and billing system will improve your project’s overall cash flow.

Better Images and Resolution

Most people do not know the true capabilities of drone-based imagery. A high-quality camera produces high-quality images from any angle. Drones can fly closer to surfaces, which improves data resolution and the overall quality of surveys. Getting familiar with the fundamentals of photography ensures that you produce high-resolution maps.

Addressing Limitations

There are some limitations to drone use. For example, some companies may be hesitant about Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, such as obtaining a remote pilot certificate to legally fly the drone on construction sites and passing the initial aeronautical knowledge test before receiving a remote pilot certificate. It is important to note that not all camera-mounted drones can be used for aerial mapping, so selecting the right drone for mapping requirements is key. Other challenges that construction professionals will need to consider include wind resistance and difficulty with accessing certain isolated or remote areas. Our Jacksonville construction lawyers are well-versed in federal laws that affect construction professionals. Reach out to us should you have any questions about FAA requirements.

If you would like to speak with a Jacksonville construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Thanks to technological advancements, construction companies are more efficient than ever before. Due to the inherent complexity of the construction industry and rising costs, construction companies can utilize technology such as drone mapping make their work more cost effective and much more valuable.

In this section, our Jacksonville construction attorneys list more drone mapping benefits. Read part one to learn about the first three benefits. Part three will conclude our series.

A Solution to the Labor Shortage

It is a challenge to find qualified people to fill construction jobs. Drone mapping can maximize production for companies that perform their own in-house surveying and mapping. For instance, drones can map a 100-acre site in minutes. This decreases the need to hire more people to perform these tasks. Utilizing drones on a project comes with tremendous cost savings in the form of reduced man-hours. Any upfront costs your company incurs can be nullified when drone technology is effectively leveraged.

Complete Jobs Faster

Ease of deployment is another benefit of drone mapping. With drones, a survey job can be completed in less than half the time of traditional survey methods. Traditionally, mapping a site could take weeks, but drone mapping can accomplish this task within days, so there is no need to hire additional staff to accomplish this objective.

Increase Bid Wins

The construction industry is competitive. Winning bids is a challenge, but drone mapping can help construction professionals win more contracts relative to companies that rely on outdated methods for capturing data. Mapping can accurately return job site data up to 200 times faster than data capture done with a traditional ground survey team. For example, a 100-acre site can be mapped in less than an hour. This is also advantageous because if there are any issues or changes that need to be made, quick results can be obtained through mapping.

If you would like to speak with a Jacksonville construction attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.