Landscaping, Gardening, and Workers’ Compensation in Mississippi
Over a million people work in the groundskeeping industry, and this sector is one of the fastest-growing employment areas in the United States. As outlined below, these workers are susceptible to various trauma injuries and occupational diseases.
Generally, workers’ compensation benefits are available in these situations. These benefits usually include money for lost wages and medical bills. Victims do not have to prove fault or negligence to obtain these benefits. They must only establish a work-related connection.
These claims seem straightforward, but they are usually complex. Benefits have declined in recent years, so it is difficult to get a fair-sized piece of a shrinking financial pie. Furthermore, there are many procedural hurdles and delays built into the Mississippi workers’ compensation system. So, a tough Jackson workers’ compensation attorney is essential, even if the claim appears routine.
Lawnmowers have very sharp blades which cut almost anything. Additionally, these machines often spew debris into operators’ faces.
Many of these victims bleed profusely before emergency responders arrive. As a result, many of these victims are on the edge of hypovolemic shock before they arrive at hospitals. This condition makes their injuries much more difficult to treat. So, they often miss extended work time.
Maintenance is also an issue. Lawnmowers and other lawn care devices are quite complex and difficult to service. That’s especially true if English is not the worker’s first language. Sometimes these workers cannot understand the instructions, and if someone interprets them, important items often get lost in translation.
These conditions develop over the course of more than one work shift. Since they occur slowly, many victims do not immediately go to doctors at the first sign of illness. Additionally, many victims do not connect their diseases with work conditions, at least initially. As a result, the workers’ compensation claims deadline often passes before these victims take action.
A variation of the discovery rule protects victims in these cases. People need not report occupational disease injuries until they know the extent of their injuries and they connect those injuries to their work environments.
Landscaping occupational diseases come in many forms. Some common ones include:
- Benzopyrenes: The same toxic chemical in cigarette smoke is also in gasoline engine emissions. Landscaping equipment produces as many benzopyrene fumes in an hour as a car produces on a 100-mile journey.
- Hearing Loss: Lawnmowers and other gadgets are very loud. Even brief exposure to loud noises could cause permanent hearing loss. If doctors detect the problem early enough, hearing loss is not hard to correct. More advanced cases, however, often require surgical skull implants.
- Skin Cancer: Similarly, too much time in the sun could cause skin cancer. Once again, if doctors detect the problem early, removing carcinogenic moles is usually not a problem. More advanced cases, however, are a much different story.
These victims are often able to sue outside the workers’ compensation system and obtain additional damages. Employers should provide face masks, earplugs, and other items that protect workers. If they fail to do so, they were arguably reckless in disregarding a known hazard.
The additional compensation usually includes money for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Connect with a Tenacious Attorney
Landscaping workers are vulnerable to several kinds of serious injury. For a free consultation with an experienced Jackson workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Lunsford Baskin & Priebe, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Hinds County and nearby jurisdictions.