Auto Mechanic Workers Compensation Lawyer
Automotive service technicians (auto mechanics) work on cars and trucks to ensure they are operating efficiently. Their duties include diagnosing, repairing, adjusting, and overhauling engines, batteries, spark plugs, and other components that make the vehicle run.
Other serious concerns when working on vehicles include being struck by objects, injuries associated with lifting heavy objects, fire, and respiratory problems due to a lack of sufficient ventilation.
If you or a family member was injured while working as an auto mechanic, you are likely entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Contact the Illinois workers' compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our Chicago workers' compensation attorneys remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
However, most mechanics face significant health issues in their day-to-day operations when working in a garage or out in the field. Serious short-term risks include eye damage, hand injuries, and exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins.
Long-term risks involved joint and knee injuries, lower back pain, physical strain, loss of hearing, exposure to lead dust, fumes, solvents, asbestos, and in rare cases, wrongful death.
Common Injuries in the Auto Repair Industry
While automotive repair can be highly lucrative, it is potentially dangerous, even in a safe working environment. Statistics show that service technicians and auto mechanics suffer higher injury rates in the Chicago area than the national average.
The most common problems every mechanic face in their day-to-day operations includes:
- Eye Damage – Auto mechanics and service technicians routinely use heavy, powerful equipment, especially in auto body shops, to perform metalwork and engine rebuilds. The machinery often runs at high speed, where components and tiny metal shavings can easily become airborne. The mechanic must wear eye protection to reduce the potential risk of suffering a life-altering injury.
- Hand Injury – Typically, the hands of a mechanic are exposed to extremely hot auto parts, moving equipment, spinning tools, and abrasive chemicals. Wearing protective gloves is imperative to protect the skin from any accident that could cause cuts, bruises, chemical burns, crushing injuries, and other wounds.
- Joint and Knee Injuries – Lifting heavy objects, standing for extended periods of time, and working in odd postures for minutes or hours at a time can cause significant knee and joint injuries. Typically, the worker is unaware of bone and joint damage until much later in life.
- Chemical Inhalation – There are life-threatening chemicals in nearly every type of automotive repair shop. These chemicals are found in various liquids, including anti-freeze, brake fluid, paint, and others. Any exposure to toxic fumes and dangerous liquids could lead to eye injuries, burn the skin, and irritate the lungs. Also, many auto mechanics are surrounded by carbon monoxide fumes while the vehicle is running during testing.
- Loss of Hearing – The mechanized equipment used in many auto repair shops creates sounds at a level of 90 dB or higher. The mechanic can experience detectable hearing loss without ear protection after just a few years of working in a loud shop.
- Falling Objects – Equipment, materials, or car parts can injure the auto shop worker when the object is lifted in the place. The mechanic should never allow any visitor or vehicle owner into the work area to avoid the potential of a non-employee being injured by falling objects or components to maximize a safe environment.
- Physical Strains – Mechanics will lift and install heavy equipment, car parts, and components throughout a typical workday. To perform their duties, the mechanic must bend over, kneel, lie on their back, or perform other physical activity that places stress and strain on their back, shoulders, muscles, hips, legs, and neck. While the physical demands are easy to adapt to in the early years, the effects of subsequent strains on the mechanic's body can take a toll in later years.
- Safety Concerns – Nearly every automotive shop is an unsafe environment where even a simple error could claim the life of the mechanic or someone else. When working, mechanics use dangerous tools that can easily cause deep lacerations, cuts, scrapes, abrasions, or broken fingers and toes. Mechanics are often exposed to the burning effects of battery acid or work near liquids, including hydraulic fluid, coolant, and hot oil. An improperly wired electrical circuit can kill the mechanic by electrocution.
- Exposure to Asbestos – Many auto parts are still manufactured with asbestos fibers and material, even though the material has long been linked to deadly mesothelioma and other respiratory cancers. The deadly fibers are found in brake linings, clutches, and other components that resist heat. Other serious materials that cause similar problems include:
- Antiknock Agents – Mechanics often use anti-knock agents to improve the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and ensure that the engine runs smoother than normal. However, anti-knock agents are formulated with MMT (methylpentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl), which is known to be harmful to human health.
- Manganese – Welders and auto mechanics are known to develop health issues involving the central nervous system when the toxic substance is inhaled into the lungs and makes its way to the bloodstream.
- Exposure to Fumes and Lead Dust – Exposure to harmful chemicals could produce chronic poisoning when working with lubricants, paints, radiators, batteries, and welding equipment. Even minimal exposure can lead to neurological damage and life-threatening lung problems. Medical science has yet to create a cure for lead poisoning when the body absorbs the metal through the skin or inhalation.
- Exposure to Exhaust Fumes and Solvents – Many solvents are derived from benzene and other toxic materials. Diesel exhaust fumes typically contain small particles that can be inhaled easily and deposited on the tissue lining of the lungs. Some mechanics develop organic brain damage when inhaling exhaust fumes in their work environment.
Who is Likely Responsible?
Auto shop owners are responsible for maximizing safety protocols to protect every individual in the working environment. The first step involves installing a proper ventilation structure that exhausts harmful gasses away from the area.
Overexposure to harmful chemicals and irritants that can become airborne might cause skin irritations, chemical burns, poisoning, malfunctioning lungs, nervous system, and kidneys, eye damage, and hearing loss. There is a correlation between congenital disabilities in the mechanic’s offspring and exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins.
A workers' compensation attorney can discuss who might be responsible for your auto mechanic injury and determine the extent of your damages after being injured on the job. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 for a free and confidential consultation.
Comparing Auto Mechanic Wages
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2016, involving employment statistics of the previous year, over 15,040 auto mechanics work in auto shops in the Chicago, Naperville, and Arlington Heights metropolitan areas.
These statistics reveal that auto mechanics in northeastern Illinois earned $22.37 per hour, or $46,540 annually, on average. These earning wages for the average worker are significantly higher than the national average. See Chart
Auto Mechanic Job-Related Fatalities
Like most dangerous occupations where the workers are exposed to hazardous conditions, many mechanics have died prematurely due to an accident at work or through exposure to harmful substances. Below are two cases of dangerous accidents that led to a loss of life.
- Case 1: Richmond, Virginia - An unexpected mishap in an auto repair shop killed a Richmond, Virginia auto mechanic in December 2017. A minivan slipped off an elevated lift and fell on Hilmar Lopez, trapping the mechanic. Both the police and fire department responded to the 911 call. The mechanic had worked at the repair shop for many years. He leaves behind his wife and two grown children.
- Case 2: Newark, New Jersey - Gabriel Feliciano Gomez lost his life on December 23, 2015, when a Mercedes slipped off the lift and trapped the auto mechanic underneath. Paramedics rushed the victim to Newark University Hospital in critical condition, where he later succumbed to his injuries that day. The accident left Gomez with severe injuries. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) began an investigation into the incident.
- Case 3: Fremont, Ohio - A freak accident claimed the life of a 44-year-old auto mechanic in July 2014 while he was working on the vehicle inside a local automobile repair shop. The mechanic had been performing automotive repairs in the 1972 four-door Buick sedan when the accident occurred. Paramedics declared the victim dead at the scene of the accident.
Injured Auto Mechanics Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim
All injured workers in the automotive industry working for an employer have the legal right to seek financial compensation for auto mechanic injuries when hurt on the job.
The workers' compensation system is designed to ensure that all injured employees receive monetary recovery to pay for their damages until they can return to their employment, when possible.
All employers must carry workers' compensation insurance for employees that protect the injured worker and not allow them to seek medical attention immediately when hurt on the job. However, the workers' compensation process is complex, and in many cases, a claim is denied or delayed for various reasons.
In some cases, the automotive mechanics and service technicians maintaining and repairing cars at automotive shops, maintenance shops, and auto dealerships can prove that they have occupational illnesses that are common injuries suffered at work.
A common occupational auto mechanic injury might include:
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Eye injuries
- Respiratory problems from asbestos exposure from brake pads and other components
- Hand and wrist damage
- Other acute injuries require medical care
Common Workers' Compensation Benefits
The common workers' comp benefits that injured automotive technicians could receive for most injuries might include:
- Hospital and medical expenses
- Future medical benefits for rehabilitation, therapy, and medical care
- Temporary disability when injured automotive mechanics have missed more than seven days of work due to a work-related accident
- Lost wages and future lost earnings
- Funeral expenses and wrongful death cases
Surviving family members whose loved one was fatally injured on the job can recover death benefits paid by the employer's insurance company through a standard workers' compensation claim.
Additional monetary recovery might be available through a third-party claim if others were also responsible for the death.
Most employers might be liable for providing faulty equipment, poorly maintained power tools, not issuing safety goggles should their negligence lead to severe injuries requiring medical treatment.
We Can Assist You in Filing a Compensation Claim
Did you suffer an injury at work or become ill from a related hazard associated with your job?
You may believe that you are too sick to ever return to work and fear that you will lose your family's home, the car, and your ability to provide for your loved ones in the future. You may be worrying about how you will provide the necessities and pay the family’s bills during the days, months, or years of your recovery.
Our workman's comp lawyers help injured auto mechanics, and body shop workers recover financial compensation through civil lawsuits and the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
You may have no idea where to turn to recover financially from your occupational injury. However, many individuals like you have been in the same situation and sought counsel and advice from a reputable personal injury attorney.
Our law firm has assisted thousands of injured victims in nearly every occupation, and our attorneys can help your family too. Retaining our reputable personal injury attorneys will allow you to recover from your injuries while our law firm successfully resolves your case on your behalf.
Contact An Auto Mechanic Workers Comp & Injury Law Firm
Our experienced attorneys accept all personal injury lawsuits and workers' comp claims on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you pay nothing until our law firm wins your case.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation, discuss our legal services and protect your legal rights.
Our law firm can ensure that your employer immediately pays damages that cover your medical bills, lost earnings, pain, and suffering.