Can I File a Claim as an Auto Mechanic?

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance is purchased by employers. It is not something that employees pay to have. This insurance helps workers who are injured pay for the medical care and prescriptions that they need.

It can also help workers by providing a sum of money to help offset the wages lost because of the accident.

Worker's Comp and Auto Mechanics

Working on cars and trucks takes both skill and talent. Many people make their living as an automotive technician. Day in and day out, automotive technicians do everything from scheduled maintenance to replacing engines.

If you’re an automotive technician, you face danger each and every day that you’re on the job. Even if you make a good salary, you might not have the money saved to deal with a financial disaster that comes with getting hurt.

Thankfully, every state requires most employers to buy workers’ compensation insurance to care for their employees if they are hurt or made sick on the job.

Workers’ comp helps to protect automotive technicians during what would otherwise be a time of financial distress.

Risks of Injuries to Automotive Technicians

Automotive technicians face a lot of different risks for injury. Exposure to various chemicals can result in burns or even injuries to the eyes. Faulty car jacks or lifts can cause substantial bodily harm or even death if the car they’re being used on suddenly falls.

Constant bending, stooping, and lifting can cause repetitive stress injuries. Lifting on heavy transmissions or engines can result in severe back injuries. Slip and falls caused by spilled fluids can be catastrophic.

Sometimes accidents on the job happen even if you’ve done everything possible to prevent them. This is why it is important that you understand what to do if you are injured on the job.

Hurt on the Job? Here’s What You Should Do

If you’re hurt at work, you should know that fault is practically irrelevant. Even if you feel like you should have or could have prevented your injury, workers’ comp is there to help you. Follow these steps to help protect your rights:

  1. Tell the manager on duty that you’ve been hurt: Do not wait until the end of your shift or when you’re finished working on a car. Tell the manager right away.

    This can help protect your and your coworkers.

  2. Fill out an accident report right away: It’s easier to write down exactly what happened directly after it occurs than waiting days or weeks. If you’ve been seriously injured, call 911. Police and medical will be dispatched.

    The police offer on the scene will complete a report that you can get a copy of from the police station.

  3. Get the medical help that you need: For instance, if you’ve slipped in motor oil and hit your head on concrete or if you’ve had a large vehicle or heavy part dropped on any part of your body, you should call the paramedics. These injuries can all cause life altering problems.

    If it’s a minor injury, such as repetitive stress injury from using a wrench for years, you can see the doctor listed on the workers’ compensation policy without an out of pocket expense after you file your claim.

    If you choose to see your own doctor after you’ve filed a claim, you may have to pay out of pocket. However, those expenses can often be reimbursed.

  4. Schedule an appointment with a workers’ compensation attorney: Do not talk to the workers’ compensation insurance adjustor on your own.

    If you settle without an attorney, you could sign away your rights and you won’t necessarily get what you deserve.

Real Life Example: Gonzalez V. Bennett Auto Supply

Pablo Gonzalez worked as a mechanic for his entire life. Primarily, he worked on parts manufactured by Caterpillar and Victor Gasket Manufacturing Company. Caterpillar products had sold parts made with asbestos.

Unfortunately, Mr. Gonzalez contracted mesothelioma and died from it in 2011. Mesothelioma is often caused by exposure to asbestos.

As of 2015, the case still was not resolved. However, the family asked for $19 million in compensation.

Protect Yourself and Your Family

If you’re an automotive technician who was injured or made sick on the job, you must protect yourself and your legal rights.

Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to make sure that you can get the care and compensation that you deserve.