Numerous jobs rely on the use of heavy machinery. Even experienced workers can be injured by these machines, leaving them with significant medical expenses and lost wages. Workplace accidents that involve injuries from heavy machinery should qualify a victim for workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, employers often deny valid claims or try to pay less than what the worker is entitled to.
The pain, anxiety, and trauma of a workplace accident are difficult enough without having to worry about how your bills will be paid. Count on Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP. Our workers’ compensation attorneys will discuss your legal options and work with you to get the benefits you need to recover.
Examples Of Machinery Injuries
Heavy machinery is commonly used in construction, manufacturing, and other types of labor-intensive jobs. A worker may have experience with one or several of these machines:
- Front-end loader
- Shop press
- Boring machine
- Aerial work platform
Training is essential to safely use these and other machines, and OSHA safety rules are in place to protect workers. Despite the regulations, warnings, and precautions that go with these machines, accidents still happen. Some common machinery injuries include:
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Degloving injuries
- Eye injuries
- Crushing injuries
These and other severe injuries can be permanent, and cause an injured worker to permanently lose the ability to work (or work the same job). That’s to say nothing of the medical bills and treatments the worker may require for months or even years to come.
Why Do Machinery Accidents Happen?
Even though the risk of heavy machines is well-known, there’s still a good chance that a worker will be severely injured in an accident. Workplace machinery accidents can occur for a number of reasons, such as:
- Carelessness, inattention, and distractions. Multiple workers may be involved in a task involving heavy machinery. If one of those workers is careless, not paying attention, or distracted, several workers could be hurt.
- Lack of experience or training. Understanding how the machine works is essential to its safe operation, but inexperienced workers are more prone to be injured. Employers who are responsible for training their workers may do a poor job, and this lack of training could prove catastrophic.
- Machinery defects. The best training and experience in the world can’t protect a worker from a machine that is broken or malfunctioning. Although third parties may bear some liability, the employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring proper repair and maintenance work is done on the machine.
- Lack of safety equipment. Personal protective equipment – such as gloves, safety goggles, and hardhats – is a must when you’re working with heavy machines. However, not all equipment is created equally, and it has to actually be suitable for the machine.
- Improper safety guards. Heavy machines typically come with safety guards such as rails, shields, and barriers to keep a worker from coming into contact with dangerous moving parts. If these guards are removed, broken, or absent, the worker could suffer an amputation, burn, or another injury.
What To Do After Workplace Machinery Injuries
Workers’ compensation is in place to cover employees who are hurt on the job. Even if the accident was the worker’s fault, he or she can be compensated for their injuries. After an accident happens, an investigation will need to be done to determine whether it was truly a workplace accident. That means the injury occurred in the scope of employment rather than outside of work.
There are cases in which an employer or its workers’ compensation carrier can legitimately deny a claim. These include accidents in which substance abuse or horseplay was involved or injuries that were self-inflicted. While these may seem like outlier cases, employers have been known to falsely accuse hurt employees of being responsible for their own accidents. Even if one of these disqualifying events is not present, your legitimate claim could be denied or undervalued.
Taking swift action is essential after a workplace injury because there are time deadlines. The employee is required to notify the employer within 21 days of an occupational injury. And if a report is not made within 120 days of the accident, the worker will receive no compensation at all. Also, there are some rules on who can treat you after a workplace injury. Your employer may have a list of pre-approved medical providers whom you must see for your first 90 days of treatment. After that, or if there is no such list, you can see a doctor of your choice.
Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney doesn’t mean you plan to sue your employer or its insurance company. The point is to ensure your legal rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Your employer may seem sympathetic to your injuries, but remember, it has a bottom line to maintain. And there’s a good chance your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer has lawyers ready to defend it. So shouldn’t you have someone looking out for your interests, too?
How Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, Can Help
Our law firm has decades of experience handling workers’ compensation claims. We represent injured workers throughout Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania, and we understand the rules and requirements of a successful claim. We also know when an injured worker is getting the run-around or being denied fair compensation. Our goal is to make sure you are not cheated out of the benefits you deserve for your injuries. If necessary, we can also appeal a wrongfully denied claim.
Contact Our Lancaster Workers’ Compensation And Machinery Injuries Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a workplace machinery accident, we’re ready to fight for you. We can also answer any questions or concerns you may have about the workers’ compensation process. Reach out to Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, today.