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Educational Blog

I’m in the Trades and was Injured on the Job. What Are My Rights?

On Aug 2, 2019

When you work as a plumber, electrician, roofer, mechanic, welder, or another career in the trades, you are at a higher risk of becoming injured while at work. The reality is that jobs in the trades are inherently more dangerous than those in traditional office settings. Unfortunately, when injuries occur, they can be severe, leaving you unable to return to work for weeks, months, or even years.

It can be overwhelming when you aren’t sure where to go or what to do after becoming injured. Not only are you hurting, but you may find yourself unable to pay the bills because you cannot work. A skilled workplace injury attorney can help you understand your rights and pursue the benefits you are entitled to receive.

Understand Your Rights
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A skilled workplace injury attorney can help you understand your rights and pursue the benefits you are entitled to receive. It can be overwhelming when you aren’t sure where to go or what to do after becoming injured. Not only are you hurting, but you may find yourself unable to pay the bills because you cannot work. When you depend on being able to use skills you’ve spent years honing to earn an income, it can be tough to have to sit on the sidelines while financial obligations mount, and worse if you may now be permanently unable to return to that work. You may have a right to recover compensation under Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation system. In some cases, you may also have the right to claim damages from a third party by filing a personal injury claim.  A worker’s compensation attorney is able to help you sort these things out, and can do so on a “contingency basis” (no fee unless a recovery is made), so that you do not have to do this alone or paying anything out of pocket.

Worker’s Compensation Claims

Workers Compensation BandageWorker’s compensation covers most employees in the state of Wisconsin. If your employer regularly has at least three employees, worker’s compensation likely applies. Even if your employer has fewer than three employees, you may still be covered by worker’s compensation if the employer pays at least $500 in wages in the last calendar quarter prior to your injury.

If you’re covered by worker’s compensation, that means you can claim to get your medical treatment related to your workplace injury paid for rather than out of your own pocket. You may also have coverage for lost wages, rehabilitation, and other costs, depending on the extent and nature of your injury. Worker’s compensation benefits can be recoverable even if the injury was partly your fault.

Personal Injury Claims

Your doctor’s bills, hospital bills, and medications should be covered if you are injured on the job and your employer is subject to Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation laws. However, the worker’s compensation benefit system does not include compensation for pain and suffering. And, you generally cannot sue your employer or a co-worker to obtain compensation for your injuries beyond what the worker’s compensation benefit system provides.

In some cases, you can have valid claims against third parties who caused your injuries.  A ‘third party’ would be another company, customer or contractor (basically anyone other than a co-employee or your employer) who is responsible for your injuries. If your injury was the result of another company’s or a supplier’s error or negligence, an attorney may be able to help you obtain compensation for all of the damages done by filing a personal injury claim against that third party. However, because third party claims require proving the fault of the other party, having an attorney’s help can be crucial.

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How an Attorney Can Help

Hiring a knowledgeable attorney who understands the interplay between Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation system and personal injury law is a smart move.

Your lawyer will work to identify your options and counsel you on the merits of pursuing a legal claim against the responsible parties. Your attorney will play an invaluable role in helping construct a case to back up your claim, showing that you suffered harm and that you are entitled to compensation as a result.

The thought of going toe-to-toe with the responsible party or their insurance company can be daunting. When you hire an experienced law firm to help you with your case, you will have a skilled advocate on your side who will handle communications for you, assist with gathering evidence, and help you prepare for hearing - lightening the burden for you when you are just trying to get better and back on your feet.

At Schott, Bublitz & Engel in Waukesha, we believe injured trades workers deserve skilled representation. We are proud of our track record of helping tradespeople recover compensation under Wisconsin worker’s compensation system and, when appropriate, by filing personal injury claims.

To learn more and to schedule an initial case review, contact us online or call us at 262.827.1700 today.

Raymond H. LaBarge

By Raymond H. LaBarge

Attorney Raymond LaBarge focuses his practice primarily on representing clients across Wisconsin in Workers Compensation and Personal Injury including complex cases involving third party litigation; injuries that are now permanent or have required surgery; and lawsuits against construction, transportation, trucking, shipping, cleaning, snow removal, and other industries. Attorney LaBarge is known for his approach of litigating focused on his client's goals first and foremost and preparing his clients for their case to get the best outcome possible.

Disclaimer Policy: The information on this website is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. You should always consult an attorney for advice for your individual situation. We invite you to contact us by letter, by phone or by email. Initial contact creates no attorney-client relationship. Please avoid sending confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established. 

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