Landscaper Injury & Workers Compensation Lawyer: Chicago, Illinois
Unfortunately, landscape workers have lots of opportunities to hurt themselves on the job.
More than 200 landscape service workers die every year due to workplace injuries. These deaths are tragic and preventable. Unfortunately, many of these accidents happen because workers don't have the proper safety training or equipment.
The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC have the experience and resources to get you the compensation you deserve if you've been injured on the job.
Our Illinois workers’ compensation lawyers will work to get you the money you need to cover your medical bills and lost wages, and we'll make sure that your employer is held accountable for their negligence.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes falling trees and branch breaking are just some of the common causes of workplace falls identified by the agency.
Other hazards in the landscaping industry include exposure to harmful chemicals, toxins, machinery, excessive noise, and weather-associated dangers. Just some of these dangers include:
- Lifting Injuries – Groundskeepers and landscapers routinely lift extremely heavy bags of mulch/dirt along with potted trees, bushes, and plants. Improper lifting practices can lead to serious overexertion injuries, including backaches, sprains, and strains.
- Cuts and Lacerations – Sharp utility knives, sharp tools, saws, and thorny plants can cause serious cuts and lacerations. The supervisor, foreman, or owner should provide quick access to a first aid kit.
- Equipment Repair Injuries – Clearing or fixing a jammed mower or power tool can cause catastrophic injuries if the power is not completely turned off or the blades have not yet stopped moving completely. Many groundskeepers have self-amputated fingers, hands, toes, and feet caused by lawnmowers spinning blades.
- Sprains and Strains – On level ground, holes, depressions, and steep inclines can create the perfect environment for twisting ankles and straining muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
- Excessive Noise Injury – Machinery and equipment used in the landscaping industry can produce excessive noise levels.
- Exposure to Chemicals and Pesticides – Horticultural workers, groundskeepers, and landscapers are regularly exposed to toxic chemicals and formulated herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls – Groundskeepers who work on wet and icy surfaces should take specific precautions to avoid slipping, tripping, or falling that could result in broken bones, bruises, and sprains.
- Motor Vehicle Injuries – Most landscaper workers travel to their job site using a company motor vehicle that might have an attached trailer to contain accumulated leaves, branches, and debris. Some groundskeepers suffer serious transportation-related injuries every year in motor vehicle accidents, including collisions with other cars and trucks and backup accidents where the driver fails to see other workers in harm's way.
- Cold and Heat Stress – Working long hours under frigid conditions can cause significant work-related injuries, including frostbite, pneumonia, and the flu. Likewise, many landscapers suffer heat-related illnesses on extremely hot days or become sick from an imbalance of fluids caused by dehydration while working.
- Musculoskeletal Disorders – The CDC recommends using ergonomic practices to reduce stress on the back, shoulders, arms, and legs and eliminate common landscaping injuries associated with overexertion of muscles and pressure soft tissues. In addition, their recommendations help avoid stress to tendons, ligaments, and muscles injured through repeated tasks and awkward posture.
If you or a family member was injured while working as a landscaper, you are likely entitled to worker' compensation benefits. Injured workers should contact our worker' compensation attorneys to schedule a free consultation to discuss our legal expertise and your legal rights and options.
Landscaper Death Investigations
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) accumulates data on occupational hazards on job sites through its National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
In cases involving workplace safety concerning landscapers and groundskeepers, investigations into accidents and deaths involving outdoor work that include:
- Case 1: In 2010, a landscaper working in Joliet, Illinois, mowed lawns in a residential community when he became disoriented due to excessive heat. Others assisted the worker to a shady area before collapsing and called EMT to the worksite to transport the stricken worker to the hospital. Unfortunately, the landscaper later died from heatstroke-related symptoms that led to multiple organ failures.
- Case 2: In 1995, a small tree trimming company member lost his life after falling over 40 feet while connected to a falling tree. Other employees cut and trimmed tree branches and limbs together using a twisted steel cable. At the time of the incident, the tree climber was tied to a portion of the tree being cut. As a result, the climber fell to the ground and crushed the falling tree as the limb fractured.
- Case 3: in 1996, a young male tree climber lost his life while clearing utility lines after falling nearly 40 feet when the tree trunk uprooted. After falling, the climber was crushed by the falling tree and other tree limbs. Before the incident, the climber worked with other landscape workers trimming and cutting trees. An investigation concluded that employees should be trained on alternative methods for identifying hazardous tree conditions and have accessible resources that maximize safety performance.
Simple Steps to Avoid Fatal and Non-Fatal Injuries Sustained as a Landscaper
According to the Bureau of Labor, there are certain steps any landscaper groundskeeper can take to minimize the potential of suffering an injury. These precautions involve various landscaping preparatory and finish activities that include:
During grading and soil preparation, the landscaper should:
- Wear work boots that support the ankle to prevent workplace falls in holes and uneven surfaces.
- Use proper fitting gloves while shoveling and hoeing.
- Maintain a safe distance around powered equipment and watch for falling objects like a tree branch breaking and falling when trimming trees.
- Avoid common landscaping industry risks by wearing proper clothing that protects against heat stroke from excess stress.
- Use proper shoveling equipment to carry extra heavy loads without excessive bending that protects workers.
- Keep a safe distance away when trenching, digging, or working close to underground utility-painted markings.
- Avoid using harmful substances that, when touched or inhaled, could cause permanent impairment.
Common OSHA Violations
The most cited violations, according to OSHA, involving groundskeepers and landscape workers involve:
- Flammable liquids
- Aerial lifts
- Hazard communication
- Head protection
- Unprotected overhead power lines
- Broken safety line
- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
- Metal ladders
- Face and eye protection
- Man lift, powered platforms, and vehicle-mounted platforms
Job Duty and Wages
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 data concerning the previous year, 17,360 landscapers and groundskeepers worked in the Chicago, Naperville, and Arlington Heights metropolitan areas. On average, landscape workers in northeastern Illinois earn $31,610 every year (mean wage), or $15.20 per hour. See Chart
Landscapers, groundskeepers, and lawn maintenance crews perform various tasks. These tasks include planting turf, mowing lawns, pruning shrubbery, planting flowers and trees, installing and maintaining walkways and driveways. In addition, some landscapers install irrigation systems, sprinkler heads, fountains, waterfalls, ponds, water features, outdoor lighting, and patios.
Most landscapers and groundskeepers are hired without a formal education. However, the worker must maintain adequate physical fitness, including using a full range of motion on the lower and upper body to maintain the job.
The job requires:
- Bending, lifting, and stooping
- Pushing, pulling, standing, and squatting for extended periods
Even though most landscape technicians work with pesticides and herbicides, many never receive formal education and training or obtain a state license or certification.
Most Injured Landscape Workers Can File a Workers' Compensation Claim
If you have been injured while working as a landscaper, you may be able to file a workers' compensation claim. Workers' comp is a system of insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill due to their job.
To qualify for workers' compensation payments, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have been injured or become ill while performing your job duties
- You must be an employee of the landscaping company and not an independent contractor
- Damages must be the result of a workplace injury
- You must file a workers' compensation claim within the appropriate time limit
If you meet these criteria, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for your injuries. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation about your case.
Common Worker's Compensation Benefits
Injured landscaping workers filing a workers' compensation claim for moderate to severe injuries can recover compensation for a temporary or permanent injury.
These benefits usually include:
- Hospital costs and medical treatment expenses
- Future funds for ongoing rehabilitation and therapy
- Lost wages due to the landscaping injury
- Wrongful death benefits when the landscaping injury causes death
In many cases, injured landscaping workers with severe injuries might qualify for additional monetary recovery through a personal injury claim. However, these cases are complex and require the skills of a personal injury lawyer specializing in third-party lawsuits.
Filing a Third-Party Claim
Our personal injury law firm represents landscaping workers who suffered a serious workplace injury caused by a third party. The injured landscape worker can obtain broader compensation over and above their workers' compensation benefits by filing a separate case.
Potential defendants in the lawsuit might involve:
- Other contracting companies
- Independent contractors as self-employed landscape workers
- Product manufacturers selling dangerous equipment
- Rental companies supplying defective lawnmowers, power tools, and landscaping equipment
- Drivers in car accidents crashing into the landscaper
Even though a third-party personal injury case can be a complex process, the broader compensation it provides can save the injured landscaping workers from financial ruin.
Are You Entitled to Receive Financial Compensation Following a Landscaping Accident?
Was your loved one harmed by exposure to harmful chemicals or injured on the job working as a landscaper? The Chicago groundskeeper injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represent groundskeepers, landscapers, and horticultural workers who have been injured or died due to a work-related event.
Our lawyers will file your claim, gather evidence, speak to witnesses, review medical records, initiate your claim, and file all necessary legal documents in the appropriate county courthouse before the state statute of limitations concerning your case expires. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 to speak with one of our attorneys.
Contact A Chicago Landscaper Workers Compensation & Injury Law Firm
Our Chicago, Illinois law firm accepts every occupational injury claim for compensation through contingency fee arrangements. This agreement means your legal fees are paid after the attorneys have negotiated an out-of-court settlement on your behalf or have successfully resolved your recompense case in a court of law.
This agreement postpones the payment of legal fees until our lawyers working on your behalf successfully resolve your case by winning at trial or negotiating an out-of-court settlement. If we do not win, you owe our law firm nothing! Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.
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