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Landscapers keep outdoor spaces neat and attractive, but the work often involves difficult labor in harsh conditions with dangerous tools and numerous hazards. There are many dangers involved in landscaping work. While protection from these dangers is not always present, workers who do become injured doing these jobs are offered protections under the law.
Fortunately, landscaping workers who become injured on the job should be able to collect Workers’ Compensation to protect them. In some instances, a landscape worker can be compensated for another person’s negligence.
Some common hazards for landscapers include the following:
Dangerous Tools: Landscapers have to operate dangerous tools to trim trees and bushes, mow lawns, dig holes, and to lift heavy materials. Some of these tools are heavy machinery, others are handheld. Some have fast moving parts, others have sharp blades. These tools can cause injuries, like deep cuts or severed limbs.
Falls: Falling accidents are common in this line of work, as landscapers often work on uneven or slick surfaces. They can trip and fall into holes that were created for planting flowers, bushes, shrubs, or other landscaping projects. Workers can fall from trees or off of work equipment as well.
Since landscaping work involves traveling from one client’s property to another, many work-related injuries in the landscaping industry happen en route from one job to the next. These motor vehicle accidents may be considered work injuries because they occurred while performing job duties.
Extreme Heat and Cold: The outdoor nature of landscaping is hard on workers. Extreme temperatures and weather conditions can create dangers for landscapers. Landscapers are best known for lawn and garden care in the warmer months, but they also care for properties throughout the year, including handing snow removal and salting icy pathways and parking areas. During winter months, risks include frostbite and other cold-related dangers. At the height of the summer, these workers are at risk of suffering from heatstroke.
Toxic Substances: Landscapers work with all kinds of toxic chemicals, such as weed killers, fertilizers, pesticides, and other substances that can be harmful to humans. Some of the most common landscaping chemicals still in use today have been associated with illnesses, including cancer.
Landscapers can suffer from various types of injuries. Some common injuries in the landscaping business include:
Electrocution: Landscapers may be at risk of being electrocuted by coming into contact with overhead power lines or utility cables buried underground.
Overexertion: Overexertion injuries can be caused by attempting to lift a heavy or unwieldy object. Repetitive stress injuries result from repeated motions, such as digging, raking, or shoveling.
Eye Injuries: An object propelled by a high-speed mower blade is a danger to anyone in the vicinity. Even the smallest of rocks or sticks can become a flying danger that can cause a permanent injury.
Hearing Loss: Using noisy equipment, like lawn mowers and trimmers, can cause permanent hearing damage without the use of proper hearing protection, such as industrial earplugs.
Crushing Injuries: Landscapers can be seriously injured by falling branches and debris. Heavy equipment and materials may also pose crushing hazards to workers.
If one is injured on the job as a landscaper, one may worry that one has no recourse to seek compensation for an injury. An injured worker’s options after a landscaping work accident will be determined by a few factors.
If a landscaper is injured while working and performing job-related tasks, they should be able to collect compensation for the work accident through the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance. Importantly, a worker does not have to prove that anyone was negligent in order to receive compensation through a Workers’ Compensation policy.
A Workers’ Compensation claim should cover all medical bills as well as benefits for a disability or lost wages caused by the accident. These benefits may be temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the injury and the expectations for recovery. If the accident results in death, the family of the deceased is entitled to death benefits through Workers’ Compensation.
If a person is operating their own landscaping business or they are working as an independent contractor for a separate business, they will not be eligible for such coverage unless they have their own independent policy.
Laws mandating Workers’ Compensation insurance are in place to protect workers, but they also protect employers by preventing injured workers from directly suing employers. However, there is nothing barring a worker from filing a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party.
When a work accident involves third-party liability, the injured person may be able to collect additional damages. For example, if a lawnmower part breaks off and causes an injury, the manufacturer of the mower may be held liable for the machinery defect. A landscaping professional may sue a homeowner for hazardous conditions on the property.
In a personal injury case, one will have to prove negligence in order to collect compensation. If a case is strong, the liable party may opt to offer a settlement instead of going to court.
Unlike Workers’ Compensation claims, a personal injury suit may seek damages for pain and suffering, psychological distress, or other emotional losses. After a work accident, it is important to contact a lawyer to determine eligibility for compensation.
Landscaping can be dangerous work. If you were injured while you were performing landscaping work, you may be able to collect compensation. Our Delaware work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you determine the best way to seek fair compensation. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.