Workers in many industries never have to face potentially dangerous machines. Their jobs may be relatively quiet and sedentary. However, employees in thousands of positions throughout numerous industries must work with heavy equipment, vehicles, and other machinery on a daily basis. It is part of the job description and unavoidable. Unfortunately, when you work in construction, transportation, agriculture, oil and gas extraction and processing, mining, and manufacturing, as well as other industries, you face a high risk of accidents, injuries, and fatalities due to your equipment.
If you are injured at work in a heavy machinery accident, your ability to have your medical bills paid and receive a portion of your lost wages depends on workers’ compensation coverage or your ability to prove negligence or responsibility against a third party. For help in receiving compensation after a workplace accident, contact our Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC. Call us at (715) 343-2850 for a free consultation.
Potentially Dangerous Heavy Machinery
Due to the mechanical and automated nature of so many industries, heavy machinery and tools are everywhere. Just a few examples of some potentially dangerous machines are:
- Large trucks
- Hydraulic presses
- Pipe and tube benders
- Lathe machines
- Shearing, punching, and cutting equipment
Common Causes of Heavy Machinery Accidents
Heavy machinery can be tough to work with on a daily basis. Proper training, supervision, care, and experience should all be utilized to ensure whomever is at the helm of a large vehicle or piece of equipment, operates it safely and avoids hurting others. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are times when something goes wrong and leads to a heavy machinery accident.
Some of the common causes of these types of incidents include:
- Inadequate training for the machine operator and surrounding employees
- Improper supervision during operation of the machinery
- Unsafe or hazardous environmental and working conditions
- Improper maintenance or repairs of the machine
- Defects in the machine’s design, creation, or assembly
- Inadequate warnings to ensure proper and safe use of the machine
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage
If you were injured in a heavy machinery accident at work in Wisconsin, then you probably have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Wisconsin requires almost all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer has three or more part- or full-time staff, then immediately notify your supervisor or manager about the accident and injuries and ask about filing a workers’ comp claim. Even if your employer is smaller, do not assume you are not covered. Always inquire about your workers’ compensation coverage after a workplace accident.
Pursuing Workers’ Compensation Benefits
You have up to two years following an injury to seek benefits. However, it is best if you do not take more than 30 days to notify management and make a claim. This enables you to seek benefits while your injury and recovery are fresh and there is plenty of evidence to support your case of medical expenses, wage benefits, and other potential benefits.
Once your employer knows, they have seven days to notify their workers’ compensation insurance carrier who will then review your situation and either approve or deny your claim. If your claim is denied or it is approved yet you do not receive the benefits you believe you deserve, contact an experienced Wisconsin workers’ compensation attorney right away.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Wisconsin workers’ compensation insurance offers a number of types of benefits, including
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss benefits
- Temporary partial or total disability
- Permanent partial or total disability
- Loss of earning capacity
- Vocational training
You are not entitled to every benefit automatically. The benefits you have a right to depend on your specific circumstances and will be heavily based on your physician’s conclusions regarding your level of injury, whether you suffer from a partial or total disability, and whether you will be able to return to work in some capacity in the future. If you suffered a catastrophic injury that has left you permanently disabled and unable to work at all, then you will seek permanent total disability payments. If you are partially disabled for a period of time, then you may only receive temporary partial disability payments until your physician states you are able to return to work in some way.
Filing a Third-Party Personal Injury Suit
When you have a right to workers’ compensation benefits, you are prohibited from suing your employer due to the accident. However, if a third-party from outside of your work caused the accident and your injuries, then you may have the right to file a personal injury suit against this individual or business in addition to receiving workers’ compensation.
If another individual’s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct is responsible for your injuries, speak with a work injury lawyer now. You may have the right to file a claim based on negligence after that person or their employer and receive compensation for your injuries. This financial recovery can be extremely helpful as your workers’ compensation benefits are unlikely to cover everything. Also, during a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for your pain and suffering. This is not available through workers’ compensation.
Call Our Steven’s Point Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today
At Studinski Law, LLC, we recognize that heavy machinery accidents lead to significant or catastrophic injuries, putting workers like you in tough situations. A workplace accident can put you out of work for weeks, months, or the rest of your life without any warning. One day you are productive and able to provide for yourself and your family, and the day after an accident you are wondering how all of the bills are going to get paid. That is why we are here to help. We will help you obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, and if someone else is at fault, we will not hesitate to hold them responsible.