Working as a tree trimmer is a job that requires you to be outside in all types of weather, often on private property. It isn’t a glamorous occupation. However, tree trimmers play an important role, helping keep power lines clear and preventing potential damage to homeowners’ and business owners’ properties. Unfortunately, trimming trees can also be incredibly dangerous.
Due to the nature of their jobs, tree trimmers are more prone to becoming hurt on the job than many other occupations. Common injuries include falls from ladders or aerial lift “buckets”, being struck by falling trees, branches, or equipment, becoming caught in or under equipment including chippers, insect bites and stings, and electric shocks and burns.
Understanding the Rights Wisconsin Law Gives Injured Tree Trimmers
Wisconsin worker’s compensation laws are designed to protect workers from financial strain after a work-related illness or injury occurs. When an injury qualifies for worker’s compensation, the injured worker’s employer (or the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance company) compensates the employee for injury-related medical expenses, two-thirds of the lost wages while medical treatment limits the employee at work, permanent losses of function from the injury, job re-education if the employee cannot return to the same job, and sometimes other costs related to the injury as well.
In some cases, tree trimmers may also have grounds to sue for pain and suffering in addition to worker’s compensation benefits. In a recent blog post, we discussed the concept of third-party liability in more detail. Third-party liability may come into play if you were injured during the course of your employment but another party, such as a business or a homeowner at a location where you are trimming trees, bears some responsibility for your injuries.
For example, if you are bitten by a homeowner’s dog or are injured because of faulty equipment owned by someone other than your employer, a third-party liability claim may be appropriate. The important thing to remember about third-party cases is that the employee can be compensated not just for worker’s compensation benefits, but can also claim damages to be made whole i.e. an amount of money meant to put the injured employee back to the position they were in before the injury – pain and suffering included.
Obtaining a recovery is not always an easy or straightforward process. A Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney can help you understand your rights and options for recovery.
Steps to Take if You Were Injured on the Job
If you become injured on the job as a tree trimmer, it is important to notify your employer as soon as possible – even if your symptoms don’t seem significant. Certain injuries, such as an infection from a dog bite or insect bites, can have serious consequences if untreated. The least you should do is go get checked out by your doctor.
Most employers are obligated to provide worker’s compensation coverage for injured employees, which should mean you have no out of pocket costs for the doctor’s visit. In Wisconsin, you also have the right to choose your own doctor for treatment of a work injury. If you have read our other posts, you know that worker’s compensation is a no-fault system. Having to report a work injury does not mean it is your fault or your employer’s fault; it is simply something that you are supposed to be covered for.
When you do report your injury, keep copies of any reports filed and summaries of your visits to doctors and other care providers. You should also document (diary, photograph, video, etc.) your working conditions and your injuries. This information can be useful to your attorney if your worker’s compensation claim is ultimately denied or if the insurance company rejects your claim or refuses to pay for your treatment. Similarly, the hope is that your injury will get better, so your injury should become less and less noticeable. However, that will not help you in trying to prove what happened later on. Make sure to document what happened to you.
The skilled and compassionate attorneys at Schott, Bublitz & Engel s.c. in Waukesha may be able to help you recover the compensation you are owed after a work-related injury. Call 262.827.1700 or complete our online contact form to learn more and to schedule a free initial consultation.
Schott, Bublitz & Engel s.c. has been meeting the legal needs of clients in Wisconsin for over 26 years. As the firm’s reputation has grown, so has the extent of our legal expertise.