Are workers’ compensation benefits available for landscapers in Arizona?
Over 26,000 people work as landscapers, tree trimmers and other green industry professionals in Arizona. Lawns and parks in Phoenix, Tucson and throughout the state provide many opportunities for workers in this industry to thrive.
People in this industry spend a lot of time using equipment such as trimmers, edgers and walk-behind or ride-on mowers. While this equipment makes your job much more efficient and easier, they also present inherent risks and increase the possibility of injury.
In the event of an injury on the job, there are workers’ compensation benefits available to most workers in Arizona.
What are the top causes of landscaper injuries and accidents?
Nationwide, workplace injuries are so common that they occur every 7 seconds, according to data from the National Safety Council. Everything from bad weather to faulty equipment can account for injuries. Slip and falls are also responsible for many workplace injuries, often resulting in lasting damage.
Landscape professionals spend a lot of time traveling, usually in a van or truck. Many of Arizona’s metro areas have heavy traffic, increasing the risk of a work-related car accident and injuries like whiplash. Many vehicle-related injuries can leave employees out of work for weeks or months at a time.
Riding mowers, edgers and electric clippers also have a risk of malfunctioning, sometimes with dangerous results. Expired or defective parts can cause these injuries. As such, company owners have an obligation to keep their equipment properly maintained. If an owner doesn’t keep their equipment in top shape, you could have a case for negligence.
Many tree trimmers require ladders to access taller trees on a property. Employees could end up falling because of poor positioning that makes them lose their balance. Common outcomes of these cases include neck or back injuries, broken limbs and head trauma.
Examples of Arizona landscaper injuries
Many other injuries have been reported among landscapers and tree trimmers in Arizona that are less common but no less serious. Here are a few news stories of such injuries:
- A landscaper in Tucson died after being stung by bees between 100 and 200 times, resulting in cardiac arrest. Reactions from bee stings often occur very quickly, even before medical attention arrives.
- A Phoenix landscaper died as an indirect result of 2 teens who were drag-racing at the time. He died after the teens ran into a truck that hit a wall, and he was unable to get out of the way in time. This accident also injured the truck’s driver.
- An incident in Avondale involved a landscaper being robbed and beaten while at work. This beating left the man with head and facial injuries. These sorts of injuries could have effects that occur later, often of varying severity.
Although these types of incidents aren’t typical, they show the range of injuries that landscapers could face on the job. They most likely will be covered under workers’ compensation laws in Arizona. If your employer is required to carry coverage, you have a good chance of getting benefits.
Can landscapers get workers’ compensation in Arizona?
Most injured employees in Arizona are eligible for compensation, regardless of who is at fault for the incident. This protection also extends to workers hired on a contract basis, as well as workers who are undocumented immigrants—though independent contractors and freelancers may not be covered.
After an accident on the job, make sure you receive prompt medical attention for any injuries. Even if your injuries don’t seem severe at the time, they may worsen without immediate treatment.
Next, write down all pertinent information, including the date and time you were injured, a concise statement describing the incident, what injuries occurred and your location. Your supervisor will need a written report so you can initiate the claims process.
You generally have 1 year from the time of injury for the report to be filed. Otherwise, you may miss out on essential benefits. Your employer has the right to pick the first doctor you see; however, you can choose a doctor yourself for subsequent visits.
The landscaping company you work for is obligated to file an injury report with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company will make a decision about whether to accept or deny your claim.
If you receive a denial, this decision can be appealed within 90 days. When you file an appeal, you will have the chance to go before an administrative judge. In such cases, you will benefit from having an attorney help you with your case. Workers’ compensation cases can be complicated, and there’s a lot of legal terminology and processes you may not fully understand.
Benefits that you may be eligible for include medical benefits or lost wages. The amount that you can receive and the duration of the benefits will depend on the severity of the injury.
Consulting with an experienced attorney who understands Arizona’s workers’ compensation law and process can make or break your case’s outcome. Sometimes, having a helping hand as you take your next steps makes things easier.