Lightening Strikes – Employer Jailed

lighteningJoel Trujillo, the owner of a Florida based construction company has been arrested and charged with third degree workers comp fraud for not providing adequate coverage to his employees as well as violating a stop work order after two of his employees were struck by lightening and one man died.

Jose Alexi Cruz Villamar and Robert Wiley were working for Trujillo at K.C. Tile an Marble in Naples, FL on a construction project on June 26, 2013 when they were both struck by lightening.  As a result of his injuries Wiley passed away.

Trujillo did not carry workers comp insurance as mandated by the State of Florida so subsequently Wiley’s family was not given death benefits under work comp law.  The family could have potentially received $7500 in funeral expenses and a total maximum benefit of up to $150,000.

“Ignoring the workers’ compensation law is not only criminal, it creates significant hardships for families that suffer from not only the loss or injury of a loved one, but also from the financial losses due to medical bills and missed work.” said Jeff Atwater – CFO.

It was discovered by an investigator that K.C. Tile and Marble did not have workers comp insurance and therefore were served with a stop work order.  Wiley would still be alive had Trujillo complied with the stop work order as the law demanded.  When Trujillo was arrested he was found to be in violation of that work order.  If convicted Trujillo faces up to 10 years in prison.

It is always tragic to hear when an employee is killed on the job.  When an employer takes such little concern for the people working for him it is a disgrace.  Not only did Wiley lose his life in a tragic accident that could have been prevented, but because his employer did not care enough to make sure they had proper insurance his family also suffered the consequences of not having any assistance during a time when emotions and costs run high.

Source: WCI360

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