Workers’ Compensation for Landscapers and Groundkeepers
If you were injured on the job, you should talk to a lawyer about your legal rights and options.
Gardeners, lawn care professionals, greenskeepers, and other people who keep our lawns and gardens neat often sustain work-related severe injuries, according to a recent report about common landscaping injuries published by Occupational Health & Safety magazine.
In Pennsylvania and most other states, injured landscapers can seek workers' compensation and other benefits to cover the cost of their medical bills and a percentage of their lost wages. Every case is different, though, so if you were hurt at work, the benefits you are eligible for will depend on the severity and circumstances of your injury.
This is why it's important for injured landscaping workers to fully understand their legal options by scheduling a free consultation with an experienced workers' compensation attorney.
Landscaper injury statistics
Work-related injuries or illnesses involving landscaping workers cause an estimated 12,380 injuries and 122 fatalities each year on average, according to workplace injury and fatality statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
In addition, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, lawnmower-related injuries that require emergency room care in a hospital cause an additional 70,000 injuries. That adds up to nearly eight injuries every hour, each day.
Common landscaper injuries
Injuries sustained by landscapers involve a variety of serious work-related injuries. According to Occupational Health & Safety magazine, such injuries and illnesses include:
- Heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
- Severe cuts or lacerations, especially for workers who use lawnmowers and electric trimmers.
- Amputation or loss of a limb, especially for workers who use chainsaws or power tools.
- Chemical exposure injuries, primarily if workers handle pesticides or dangerous chemicals.
- Hearing loss caused by prolonged exposure to loud pieces of equipment, including lawnmowers and leaf blowers.
- Electrocution injuries, especially if workers come into contact with a live power line.
- Injuries caused by falling objects, including falling tree limbs.
- Vibration syndrome injuries caused by long-term use of vibrating lawn equipment, including leaf blowers and lawnmowers.
How do landscaping accidents happen?
Landscaping accidents can occur due to hazardous working conditions. This is often due to the negligence of the landscaping company that employs the injured landscaper. Examples include:
- Failing to provide landscaping workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) or safety equipment, including hardhats, eye protection (safety glasses), hearing protection (earplugs), dust masks, and safety gloves.
- Not training landscaping workers on safely operating equipment, including chainsaws, power tools, trimmers, or lawnmowers.
- Not inspecting work sites before starting work to determine if there are any potentially dangerous work conditions.
- Not giving workers rest breaks, especially if it's hot or if they're operating vibrating equipment or power tools.
- Not providing workers with water or a shaded area to rest on hot days.
It's important to note that workers' compensation follows a no-fault system. That means even if the accident was your fault, you can still file for workers' comp benefits, though some exceptions apply. For example, you won't be eligible for workers' comp if you were injured because you were intoxicated at work and that intoxication caused your injury.
Contact a workers' comp attorney today.
Depending on the circumstances of your work accident, you may be able to seek workers' comp benefits and additional financial compensation by filing a claim against a negligent third party. For instance, if you were hurt at work because of the actions of someone who doesn't work for your company, such as a subcontractor, you may be eligible for workers' comp benefits and a third-party claim.
The key is to review the specific details of your work accident with a lawyer as soon as possible so you can ensure you know your legal rights and options.
At Vellner Law, PC, we have years of experience handling complex cases and can explain the legal options available to you in detail. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you. We have offices conveniently located in Bethlehem and Allentown and serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.