Learn if you qualify for workers’ comp benefits and how to file a claim after a roofing injury
Some industries are inherently more dangerous for employees. Roofing and other construction trades expose workers to occupational hazards that are more likely to cause serious injury and even death. Residential roofing can be especially dangerous because most projects require workers to work on steep, sloped surfaces.
Just look at these statistics:
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roofers had the highest rate of non-fatal falls that occurred from a higher level to a lower surface in 2016.
- Workers in the roofing industry accounted for 43% of fatal falls in construction between 2011 and 2017.
- In 2019, roofers had the highest risk of fatal falls among all U.S. workers, with 36 fatal falls per 100,000 full-time workers. This rate was 10 times higher than the rate of fatal falls for all other construction jobs.
Fortunately, most Arizona roofers and other workers who are directly affected by a work-related accident are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost income while they recover.
Common roofer injuries
In the news:
Roofer killed in work-related fall
In January 2023, a 52-year-old Idaho worker died from severe injuries after falling from a home that was under construction. The worker reportedly fell 30 to 40 feet to the snow-covered ground while carrying shingles.
After receiving CPR at the scene, the worker was transported by emergency personnel to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Eligibility for Arizona workers’ comp benefits
Arizona state law requires most employers with 1 or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In order to be eligible to receive benefits after a work accident, the injured worker must be classified as either a full- or part-time employee. Independent contractors are generally not eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits.
How does Arizona define an independent contractor?
It’s not always an easy task to determine if a worker is an employee vs independent contractor because roofers may be employed as either. As a general rule, a worker is an independent contractor if the employer has the right to control the direct result of the work but not the worker’s means and methods of accomplishing the work.
An Arizona workers’ compensation attorney can help injured workers determine their classification and eligibility for workers’ comp benefits.
Be on the lookout for these signs of bad faith with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.
Types of workers’ compensation benefits
The type of workers’ comp benefits an injured worker may receive depends on the nature of the worker’s injury. Workers’ compensation benefits can be categorized as follows:
- Income supplementation. Workers may receive benefits to cover a portion of their lost income if a workplace injury requires the worker to take time off from the job.
- Medical expenses. Injured workers may receive compensation for medical expenses, including medical visits, prescriptions, medical equipment, rehabilitation, surgeries and medical-related transportation.
- Death benefits for fatal work accidents. In cases involving work accidents that cause roofing deaths, the worker’s dependents may be eligible to receive workers’ comp death benefits, including funeral expenses, lost income and any medical-related expenses the worker incurred while being treated for their injury in the days, weeks or months prior to their death.
Because workers’ comp is a no-fault system, injured workers may receive these benefits without regard to whether the worker or the employer is at fault in the accident that caused the worker’s injury.
Filing a workers’ comp claim in Arizona
The workers’ compensation process was designed to be relatively efficient, fast and accessible to injured workers. Injured workers in Arizona may file a workers’ comp claim by doing the following:
- Seek medical attention. This will provide documentation that links your injury to a work accident, which is necessary for a successful claim.
- Notify your employer. Notify your employer of the accident as soon as possible and preferably in writing. Your employer will then notify their workers’ comp insurer and the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) of your injury within 10 days.
- File a claim by submitting all necessary forms. Submit a Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury form and a Worker’s Report of Injury form to the ICA within 1 year of your injury.
- Contact an attorney. If you want help with your claim or if your claim is denied, contact an attorney who can explain your rights and advocate for you on your behalf.
Preventing work-related roofing accidents
Roofers and their employers can work together to reduce fall risk.
Employers should follow OSHA safety requirements to ensure the workplace remains in compliance with construction industry safety standards. Properly training workers and holding managers and supervisors accountable for ensuring workers understand and follow safety regulations will also reduce accidents.
Workers should use all recommended safety equipment and follow safety protocols. If you feel ill or fatigued while working on a roofing job, move to a safe, cool location, and notify a manager or supervisor.
Contact an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney
If you’re injured in a work-related roofing accident, contacting an Arizona work injury attorney who specializes in roofing injuries can save you time and aggravation. Having an attorney can allow you to quickly overcome challenges to your claim, should they arise. When you file your claim, your attorney can also represent you in settlement negotiations with your employer’s insurance company, ensuring you get maximum compensation.
If you live in Phoenix and have been injured on the job, the experienced work injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski are here to help. We specialize in workers’ comp cases and are proud to have been helping injured Arizona workers recover the compensation they deserve for more than 45 years.