Roofers face significant occupational risk and can suffer severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, and shoulder injuries. Those who suffer roofer accident injuries can file workers’ compensation claims to pursue a percentage of compensation for their damages.
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance purchased by employers to pay for a percentage of medical bills and lost wages incurred by workers injured on the job. Employers own this insurance to provide economic relief to workers while they recover from their injuries.
Roofers injured on the job can file for workers’ compensation benefits to help them financially while they nurse their injuries. Recovering compensation for roofer accident injuries involves notifying your employer about your injury, receiving medical treatment, and filing the workers’ compensation claim form.
Common Causes of Roofing Accidents and Injuries
People injured on the job can file workers’ compensation claims to recover compensation for damages caused by their work injury. Roofing by nature puts workers at risk for injuries caused by falls, accidents with dangerous equipment, and other hazards related to working at high elevations. As a result, those in this occupation can often find themselves in need of the coverage workers comp can provide.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its 2019 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries report, there were 111 fatal roofer accident injuries, which was a 15% increase from the previous year. There are many hazards that can expose roofers to severe injury risks while on the job.
The following are some causes of roofer accident injuries:
- Falls: The most common cause of a roofer accident injury is a trip and fall. There may not be adequate safety protection or safe footing for a worker on a roof, which can lead them to fall and sustain blunt-force trauma that causes severe injury.
- Falling objects: Roofing workers can also sustain severe injuries from falling objects, such as ladders, construction materials, bricks, debris, etc.
- Heat exposure: Roofing jobs during the summer can present issues with heat exposure, as roofers are exposed to the sun with very little protection. They can suffer severe sunburns, dehydration, and other heat-related health conditions.
- Dangerous power tools: Roofers must use dangerous tools like nail guns, saws, drills, and roof cutters. When someone is untrained or uses the tools improperly, they can injure themselves and possibly cause amputations and/or lacerations. Power tool malfunctions due to defective design or manufacture can also be the cause of severe injuries
The Most Common Roofing Accident Injuries
It comes as no surprise that one of the most common types of injuries suffered by roofers is severe physical trauma caused either by falls or falling objects. However, have to worry about more than just physical trauma and can face burns, lacerations, and even electrical injuries. The following are the most common injuries caused by roofing workplace accidents.
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Back Injuries
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Exposure to asbestos and other hazardous substances
- Sun overexposure
- Repetitive motion injuries
Should You File a Workers’ Compensation or Personal Injury Claim?
Following a roofer accident, you may wonder whether you should file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. Some may not even realize that these are both very different actions to take after one is injured on the job.
The primary difference between personal injury lawsuits and worker's compensation claims is that workers' compensation is not interested in who was at fault for the injury. When applying for workers compensation it is not necessary to establish who was at fault or what negligence caused the injury as one would do in a personal injury case. This streamlines the process and allows workers to get benefits in a timely manner instead of having to wait through a long ordeal of proving another party caused their injuries and are liable for their damages.
However, worker's compensation does come with some drawbacks. Workers' compensation policies are purchased by companies to cover the damages caused by on-the-job injuries but a condition of receiving workers compensation is that the employee signs away their ability to sue their employer over their injuries. In many cases, this is not an issue but there are some instances where an employee may feel it necessary to take legal action in the form of a lawsuit. The following are some exceptions that allow for a personal injury lawsuit to be filed when someone has suffered a workplace injury.
- If the employee was injured by a defective product that malfunctioned. They would then be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the liable party responsible for the defective product.
- If the employee is injured because of their employer’s intentional conduct.
- If the employer does not carry workers' compensation insurance.
- If the employee's injury was caused by a third party such as a third-party contractor on the site or a private citizen that caused the accident.
In addition to providing employer immunity from injury lawsuits, workers compensation does not provide benefits that fully cover the damages caused by an injury. Workers compensation will cover damages like lost wages and medical expenses but non-economic damages such as pain and suffering are not covered.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can You Pursue for a Roofer Accident Injury?
Employees who file workers’ compensation claims can recover benefits to pay for damages caused by their work injuries. They can recover compensation for medical bills, as employers provide medical treatment through their insurance carrier. Some medical costs your employer can cover a percentage of include hospitalization, ambulatory services, surgery, medication, etc.
Workers’ compensation benefits can also cover some lost wages you experience. A severe roofer injury can lead to you needing to take weeks or months off work to recover. If a doctor deems you unfit to return to work, your employer can cover up to 80% of your lost wages for six months. However, workers must return to their jobs once they are physically fit enough to work.
While workers' compensation can cover these financial losses related to your roofing accident injuries, it does not cover non-economic damages like pain and suffering or mental anguish. In order to seek compensation for these damages a roofing accident victim needs to file a personal injury lawsuit which as mentioned before is only possible under certain circumstances.
The Process for Pursuing Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a Roofer Accident Injury
Roofer accident injury victims must take certain steps to recover workers’ compensation benefits for their serious injuries. Completing these steps proves to your employer that you suffered a severe injury on the job that requires compensation for damages.
The following are the steps to take to file a workers’ compensation claim:
- Report your roofer accident injury to your employer
- Receive medical treatment for your roofing injuries as soon as possible
- Show your roofer accident injury occurred while completing a work task
- File the necessary paperwork required by your employer
- Comply with an investigation into the work injury
- Accept a workers’ compensation payment plan
This is a simplified example of what a best-case scenario will be for this process. For many roofers, the workers' compensation process does not go as simply as they would hope. All kinds of issues can occur in the process that can lead to the denial of workers' compensation or not enough workers' compensation being provided to cover the damages caused by a roofing injury. If you encounter problems getting the workers' compensation benefits necessary to effectively cover your roofing injury damages then contact Dolman Law Group's workers' compensation lawyers to set up a free consultation on your case.
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help With Your Roofer Accident Injuries?
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer can help with the process of recovering benefits for your roofer accident injuries. A workers’ compensation lawyer can explain the process for filing a claim, determine if you should file a personal injury claim, facilitate communication with the employer and their insurance provider, and file the necessary documents.
They can also help should your employer or their insurance provider deny your workers’ compensation claim. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help prove your injuries happened while completing a work task and provide adequate documentation to prove you deserve compensation.
Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Dolman Law Group have decades of experience helping injured workers recover compensation for damages. Whether you suffered the injury from a roofer, slip and fall, or car accident, our attorneys will use their decades of experience and vast resources to assist with your workers’ compensation claim.
They can explain the process for recovering workers’ compensation benefits and help you should your employer deny your claim. Contact Dolman Law Group today for a free workers’ compensation consultation at 833-552-7274 or on our online contact page.