Most landscaping companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Talk to our attorney to see if you are eligible for benefits.
The beautification of our home and school lawns, public grounds and local parks takes a lot of work. It’s back-breaking work that occurs in all sorts of weather. Trimming bushes, cutting grass, weeding flower beds, even snow removal — the typical day of a professional landscaper is long and varied.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 200 landscape service workers die each year as a result of workplace injuries. The fatality rate for the landscape services industry is similar to that for more recognized high-risk industries such as agriculture, construction and mining.
Although landscape services workers make up 0.8% of the U.S. workforce, they experienced 3.5% of the total occupational fatalities.
If you or a loved one is employed as a landscaper, groundskeeper or tree trimmer, it’s important to know that most landscaping companies are required to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy for their employees. Landscaping is a risky job, but that doesn’t mean you’re on your own if you get injured.
Don’t take your employer at their word if they say your workplace injury isn’t covered.
Contact us today for your free consultation.
Common landscaping injuries
As someone working in lawn care, you probably already take steps to protect yourself from the many dangers and hazards you encounter every day. You may spend time reading operating manuals for weed wackers and mowers, or learning how to properly apply fertilizer and chemicals to lawns and shrubs. You’re careful when lifting heavy things like boulders, heavy plants or bags of fertilizer.
But despite being vigilant of your surroundings and spinning sharp blades, accidents still happen. Perhaps, lifting that rock didn’t go as planned, a piece of lawn equipment malfunctioned, or you were exposed to pesticides or other lawn chemicals.
Lawn care specialists often experience the following types of injuries, among others:
- Back and neck injuries
- Hearing loss (from loud equipment)
- Shoulder injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries (carpal tunnel and tendinitis)
Of all of the injuries and risks listed above, by far the most common non-fatal injury to landscapers is overexertion or extreme stress on the body. Twisting, digging, turning, lifting — landscape workers do it all, every day, over and over. These actions can add up over time, leading to a higher risk of overexertion injuries.
Top hazards and risks of landscaping
One of the main risks to landscapers isn’t actually working at the jobsite itself, but traveling to and from the jobsite. Lawn care workers must often drive to different worksites while transporting heavy machinery on trailers, making them at higher risk of being involved in a car accident which can be more serious due to the heavy load in a trailer.
Other common causes of injuries experienced by landscapers include:
- Contact with an object or machinery. This type of injury can happen if a worker is struck, caught in between or squished by equipment.
- Falling objects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 60 percent of deaths related to contact injuries for landscapers result from workers being hit by a falling object, such as branches, trees or logs.
- Bad weather. Lengthy exposure to hot and cold temperatures is another risk landscapers and groundskeepers face every day. Many work in inclement weather, which can result in heat stroke or hypothermia.
- Electrocution. Landscapers also face the danger of electrocution while digging if they hit a buried power line or use machinery that comes into contact with overhead power lines.
- Chemical exposure. Nearly 20 percent of landscaper deaths are the result of exposure to harmful substances like man-made poisons and poisonous plants and flowers.
- Slip and falls. Rounding out the biggest dangers facing grounds maintenance workers are falls. Falls from ladders, trees — or falls into holes — are all hazards that can injure or kill a landscaper.
Your legal options for compensation after an accident or injury
If you can’t work or you’ve suffered a permanent injury, one of the first things you’re probably thinking about is how you’ll continue supporting yourself and your family. If you were injured on the job, it’s normal to have concerns about how to cover medical bills and other costs, as well as how to replace lost income. If your loved one was killed in a fatal landscape accident, you may also be trying to deal with the grief associated with the death of a loved one.
Your only options for recovering workplace injury compensation in Georgia are to file a workers’ compensation claim or sue a third-party for personal injury. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is the easiest option, as personal injury lawsuits require you to prove that a non-employer was responsible for causing you harm. In a personal injury case, you’ll need to prove that the third party was negligent or careless in some way that resulted in an injury to you.
These types of cases can be worthwhile, but come with a myriad of challenges. The more common and easier route of filing a workers’ compensation claim is possible so long as you are an employee of the lawn service company and not an independent contractor.
With workers’ compensation, you don’t have to prove that your employer was careless or negligent in regards to your injury to make a claim, and it doesn’t matter if you were responsible for the accident, so long as your work was a direct cause of the injury.
Workers’ compensation is designed to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and disability or wage loss benefits if you need time to recover or are completely unable to return to your job. Both temporary and permanent benefits can be made available if a person is partially or totally disabled.
Did you know that workers’ compensation rules vary depending on the state where you were hurt? For more information on workplace injuries and other frequently asked questions about Georgia workers’ compensation and disability benefits, visit our FAQs page.
Our record of winning accident cases in Georgia speaks for itself:
Contact experienced Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers for help
Navigating the tricky waters of workers’ compensation shouldn’t cause you additional stress. If you were injured on the job, then you should concentrate on recovering. Let our knowledgeable, capable attorneys at Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys fight on your behalf and navigate the complex depths of workers’ compensation law in Georgia. Give us a call — it costs you nothing and we can talk about next steps together.