Landscapers do a phenomenal job of maintaining business and private lawns across the entire nation. Many landscapers work for construction or landscape companies. If you’re a landscaper, what would you do if you were injured or made sick because of your job? The good news is that every state has a law that says most employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance helps pay the expenses of landscapers who are injured on the job. It can pay for medical visits, medication, surgery, and can even pay some of your missing wages. It’s a safety net for employees just like you. This is not a form of insurance that you pay for as an employee. It is something that is provided for you by your employer at no cost to you.
Because of the nature of your work as a landscaper, it’s important that you understand the basics of workers’ compensation. You should understand that while there are certain risks associated with your job (as discussed in the next paragraph), that doesn’t mean that you’re on your own if you get hurt.
As a landscaper, you do whatever you can to protect yourself. You read the manuals for lawnmowers and other equipment. You read about how to properly apply lawn chemicals. You know the inherent dangers found in equipment that cuts and chemicals. If you move large boulders, transport heavy plants, or carry equipment, you know that there is a risk of injury to your shoulders, back, and neck. Yet, sometimes even if you follow proper lifting instructions, accidents happen. You could be injured as a result of malfunctioning lawn equipment. Exposure to pesticides and other lawn chemicals could cause you to develop lung problems.
Workers’ Comp Basics
So, what should you do if you are hurt on the job or if you are made sick?
- Regardless of what led up to the injury, you should immediately tell your supervisor. It should be reported right away even if you don’t think you’re hurt. It protects your rights and others when you report your injury. For instance, if you slip in water after you or one of your coworkers spray down a lawn or sidewalk, you should let your supervisor know so that the risk can be avoided by your other coworkers.
- Fill out an accident report. Don’t wait. It’s easier to remember exactly what led up to your injury or sickness if you fill it out right away. Since you are likely on a job site in a company vehicle, you can also call the police to request help and also get an informational report.
- See a doctor right away. You might not feel like you’re injured, but sometimes when you’re hurt, you don’t know it because of the adrenaline in your body. Workers comp’ policies will list a doctor that you can see without any cost out of pocket. If you need emergency help, go to an emergency room and tell the staff that you were hurt at work. If you see your own doctor, keep your receipts. You can be reimbursed for your appointments, prescriptions, or other out of pocket expenses. If it is hard to breathe and you’ve been exposed to chemicals, get emergency medical attention. Pesticides and chemicals can burn your lung tissue.
- Call an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. You must get someone to help you protect your rights. Your employer and their workers’ comp insurance company won’t likely be looking out for you. Your manager may try to get you to settle your claim even if you need long term treatment for breathing problems or training for a new job because of an injury caused by landscaping equipment. To guarantee that you’ll get everything you need, you’ll likely need to get legal help.
Protect Your Legal Rights
Some companies try to fire landscapers who fire claims, but don’t let this stop you from filing your workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp was put into place to protect landscapers just like you who are injured. Make an appointment and talk to a workers’ compensation attorney. They can help protect your rights, your landscaping job, and help you get your bills paid and the compensation that you deserve.