Power tools are essential to many industries and help get the job done efficiently and quickly. But power tools also add an element of danger and can cause serious injuries to a worker. Those who have sustained injuries from a power tool on the job site are eligible for workers’ compensation. However, they may not understand their legal rights or have their claim for benefits denied.
If you’ve been injured by power tools at work, it’s important to take action to protect your right to workers’ compensation. The attorneys of Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, can provide the advice and legal assistance you need.
Common Power Tool Injuries
There are as many power tools as there are jobs that rely upon them. If you work in construction, manufacturing, the automobile industry, or anything else in which physical labor is common, there’s a good chance you’ve used one of these:
- Nail gun
- Power drills
- Welding equipment
- Rotary saws
- Concrete saws
- Soldering irons
The use of these tools has become commonplace and has brought about safety changes at many worksites. But OSHA and other rules don’t ensure that a worker won’t get seriously injured. Some common injuries from power tools include:
- Amputation. Saws and other devices with blades can cut off a finger or toe, if not a hand, arm, foot, or leg. Amputation can, in turn, make it difficult or impossible for the victim to work again.
- Cuts (lacerations). Blades can also cause severe cuts, not all of which will necessarily be minor. Cutting a vital artery can cause the worker to bleed out and die.
- Electrical shock. Exposed wiring or an improperly grounded tool can cause electrical shock. Even a relatively low current can cause serious injury.
- Burns. These may be caused by a variety of tools, including anything with exposed wiring or that emits heat. Lack of proper insulation, protective equipment, or other safeguards can lead to burn injuries.
- Eye injuries. Any tool that throws off debris has the risk of throwing something into a worker’s eyes. A worker should wear protective eye gear that is sufficient for the task being done.
- Crushing injuries. Tools that rely on hydraulic power can exceed their load capacity and fail, causing a hand or other part of the body to be crushed. In an accident like this, the injured body part may need to be amputated.
- Injuries from fumes. Using gas-powered tools runs the risk of inhaling dangerous fumes. The same is true if maintenance work is being done on the tool in a poorly ventilated area.
- Falling injuries. Tripping over extension cords can cause a worker to fall. In turn, the worker could suffer injury to the brain, spine, or back.
Why Do Power Tool Injuries Happen?
Considering what power tools can do to someone, they should be treated with caution at all times. Unfortunately, not everyone takes the necessary precautions or appreciates the danger these tools may pose. Workplace injuries from power tools happen because of:
- Lack of training
- Failure to provide safety equipment
- Failure to provide adequate safety equipment (proper for the job)
- Disregarding manufacturer instructions or warnings
- Improper maintenance or repair of the tools
Regardless of why the accident happened, it has to be within the scope of the injured worker’s employment to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. A worker can still qualify for benefits even if the accident was his or her fault. But there are unscrupulous employers who either blame the worker (and therefore deny benefits) or incorrectly calculate the amount of compensation.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can A Worker Receive After Power Tool Injuries?
Workers’ compensation provides a number of benefits to injured workers, including those hurt by power tools. They include payment of hospital, doctor, and related medical bills, weekly wage loss benefits for missed time from work, and more. Most workers know about these, but not everyone understands the potential difficulty of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits.
To begin with, it’s the injured worker’s job to report the injury to his or her employer. It’s important to report the injury as soon as possible to get the most compensation possible. However, if you don’t notify your employer within 120 days, you won’t be eligible for any benefits. Don’t delay taking advantage of your legal rights; give adequate notice at your earliest possible convenience.
Another possible trap is not seeing the right doctor. Your employer can require you to choose from a list of company-approved doctors for the first 90 days of treatment. There are some requirements that employers have to meet in order to compel an employer to see one of these doctors. If your employer doesn’t have one of these lists, you can see your own doctor. And you can do so regardless after the first 90 days.
Do I Really Need A Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Even if you follow all the right steps and don’t miss any deadlines, your employer or its workers’ compensation insurance carrier could deny or reduce your benefits. Having an attorney helps ensure that you are treated fairly and that you receive the maximum amount of compensation available under law. If your claim was rejected, we can help you appeal the decision.
An attorney can also walk you through the claims process and make sure everything is processed on time. Many workers get confused about the paperwork requirements or fail to document their injuries. Just because you retain an attorney does not mean you plan to sue your employer. But an attorney will assist you and make sure you aren’t cheated out of what you deserve.
Contact Our Lancaster Workers’ Compensation And Power Tool Injuries Attorney
We bring our decades of experience handling Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claims to every client we represent. Contact Nikolaus & Hohenadel, LLP, today. We can review your injuries and help you get the benefits you need after your workplace accident.