SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World are both being sued in personal injury lawsuits involving employees at the theme parks who were killed on the job. The monorail driver killed in a train collision in July 2009 is suing Walt Disney World; the husband of a killer-whale trainer drowned by an orca last February is suing SeaWorld.
As the Orlando Sentinel reports, Florida law gives employers near-ironclad protection from lawsuits prompted by injuries and fatalities occurring on the job. Former Governor Jeb Bush and Florida’s business lobby had championed an overhaul of the state’s workers’ compensation laws seven years ago, but critics say the system is slanted too heavily in favor of businesses.
Through workers’ compensation, employees have the ability to obtain payment without slogging through expensive litigation, but they lose the ability to sue their employer for larger sums.
In accidents that lead to the death of an employee, cumulative wage payments are capped at $150,000, plus up to $7,500 to cover funeral expenses and — in the cases of surviving spouses — payment of student fees.
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