Mechanic Work Injury
Over 30 years of experience. Over $100 million recovered for clients.
New Jersey Mechanic Work Injury Lawyer
Mechanics have a tough, and at times, dangerous job. Falling objects, heavy machinery and scalding hot engines are just a few of the hazards mechanics face each time they go to work. However, mechanics are also at an increased risk of soft-tissue injury due to the frequent repetitive movements that the job requires. The bottom line is that many mechanics suffer a New Jersey workplace accident at least once or twice in their career. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may keep a mechanic out of the shop for weeks, months, or, in especially serious cases, forever.
If you were injured in a repair or auto body shop, it is likely that you have missed at least a few paychecks and are now facing major medical expenses. The New Jersey workers’ comp lawyers at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm can help. We have over 30 years of experience successfully handling all types of New Jersey workers’ compensation claims, including for our clients who were injured while working as auto mechanics. We understand the frustration of not being able to go to work to help support your family, and want to do everything we can to get you back on your feet and back to work. If going back to work is not possible, we can help you obtain long-term workers’ comp benefits.
Mechanics Have a Dangerous Job
Mechanics face risks every day they show up to work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the federal government organization responsible for tracking employment data across all public and private industries. According to the BLS, “mechanics are more likely than the average worker to be injured or killed on the job, as evidenced by higher rates of fatalities and injuries and illnesses.”
Taking a closer look at the numbers:
• In 2005, there were 954,000 mechanics in the United States.
• Between 2003 and 2005, 147 mechanics were killed on the job.
• In 2005, more than 15,000 mechanics suffered a workplace injury requiring they miss at least one day of work.
• Mechanics rank 14th in terms of the occupations with the most injuries resulting in missed work.
• The median number of missed days after a mechanic work injury is five.
• Of all non-fatal mechanic work injuries:
◦ 47 percent occurred at auto dealerships
◦ 17.8 percent occurred at automotive repair and maintenance shops
◦ 7.4 percent occurred at parts and tire stores
• Fatal mechanic work injuries occurred mostly at automotive repair and maintenance shops (74 percent), with just 9.5 percent of fatal accidents occurring at car dealerships.
Common Mechanic Injuries
While every workplace has its share of hazards, auto shops are especially dangerous. Given the unique risks that mechanics must deal with in the workplace, it is no surprise many mechanics end up with the same few types of injuries. These include:
• Sprains, strains and tears: The most common type of work injury for mechanics is caused by overexertion. Often, overexertion will manifest itself in a sprain, strain or tear of a muscle, ligament or tendon. While these soft-tissue injuries may just seem like a “nagging pain,” they can worsen over time if left untreated.
• Chemical burns: Mechanics work with various hazardous liquids and other materials that can result in chemical burns. Inhaling diesel fumes and other toxic gasses can also cause serious lung damage.
• Eye Injuries: Most mechanics frequently work with pressurized systems that can send high-pressure gas or liquid directly at their face. While this can cause several different skin and face injuries, the eyes are most often affected.
• Falls: Auto shops are notorious for slip-and-fall accidents due to the seemingly constant presence of slippery liquids in most shops. Whether it be leaking oil, spilled transmission fluid, grease or a co-worker’s spilled beverage, slipping hazards are especially common in auto shops.
• Loss of limb or finger: Mechanics work with power tools in tight spaces, which is a dangerous combination. Even a skilled and careful mechanic can encounter an issue when using these tools.
Other serious injuries that can occur while working as a mechanic include:
• Disc Herniations, such as neck and back herniations from heavy lifting
• Nerve Injuries, such as carpal tunnel
• Rotator cuff injuries from lifting heavy objects
• Head Injuries such as concussions from falling objects
• Spinal cord injuries (leading to temporary or permanent paralysis)
• Broken bones
• Amputation injuries
• Internal injuries
Regardless of how you were injured, you may be entitled to New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits. If you are considering a workers’ comp claim, remember, you do not need to prove that your employer was to blame for your accident.
How Does the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation System Work?
If you have been injured in a New Jersey mechanic work injury, chances are you have heard of the workers’ compensation system. While the details of the workers’ comp system are complex, at its most basic level, the workers’ compensation system provides temporary and permanent/permanent benefits to injured workers. Here is how it works:
Employees of a covered employer can file a workers’ comp claim if they are injured on the job. The injured worker will need to show that their injury either happened at work or resulted from their work. However, the worker will not need to prove that their employer was negligent, or played any role in causing their injury. Under state law, most employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Employers who purchase this insurance are “covered” under the state’s workers’ comp laws. This insurance guarantees that, if an employee is injured on the job, there are funds available to pay for their workers’ compensation benefits. If an employer is covered under the New Jersey workers’ comp laws, an employee’s sole remedy against their employer is through a workers’ compensation claim, meaning they cannot file a personal injury claim against their employer. However, if some other person or business was responsible for causing the mechanic’s injuries, a mechanic can file a third-party personal injury claim against that party.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The New Jersey workers’ comp laws provide for several types of benefits. Benefits are designed to last as long as the injured worker is unable to work. If a New Jersey workplace accident results in a worker’s permanent disability or prolonged inability to work, they may be able to collect permanent benefits. Below is a brief description of the different workers’ comp benefits:
• Medical benefits – Injured workers can obtain medical benefits to cover all “necessary and reasonable medical treatment, prescriptions and hospitalization services related to the work injury.” Typically, an employer can specify where an injured worker gets treated. However, if an employer refuses to provide medical care or the worker needs emergency treatment, they can choose their own provider.
• Temporary Total Disability benefits – Workers who missed more than seven days of work due to their illness or injury can receive Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits. TTD benefits are 70 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum of 75 percent of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (which is $1,259.82 in 2020). TTD benefits typically end once the worker goes back to work or reaches their Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
• Permanent Partial Disability benefits – Mechanics who suffer an injury affecting a certain part of their body, or bodily system, can obtain Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits. The amount of PPD benefits depends on the part of the body affected.
• Permanent Total Disability benefits – If a worker cannot return to work due to their injuries or disability, they can obtain Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits. PTD benefits are 70 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage, subject to a maximum of 75 percent of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (which is $1,259.82 in 2020). PTD benefits are initially approved for 450 weeks; however, if the worker can show they are still unable to work at the end of that period, they will continue to receive benefits.
• Death benefits – Surviving family members dependent on a mechanic who dies in a work-related accident can obtain death benefits. Death benefits are 70 percent of the deceased worker’s weekly wages, subject to a maximum. Families are also eligible for up to $3,500 in funeral expenses.
Do not let a workplace injury eat away at your savings or get you behind in your bills. Instead, reach out to the knowledgeable New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm to discuss your claim.
Contact a Dedicated New Jersey Mechanic Work Injury Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
Suffering a serious workplace injury can be traumatic. You may have questions about whether your employer’s recommended physician is addressing your concerns, who will pay for your medical bills, and when you will be expected to go back to work. At the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm, we can help. When you call to set up a free consultation, we will go over the workers’ compensation process, making sure to answer all of your questions. We want you to feel confident in your decision, and provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family.
At the Todd J. Leonard Law Firm, our New Jersey Workers’ Compensation attorneys have over 30 years of experience aggressively representing employees and their families, helping them obtain the benefits they need. To learn more about how we can help you pursue your claim, give us a call today at (973) 920-7900 to request a free and confidential consultation. There is no risk in calling, because we never charge a fee unless we can help you obtain the benefits you seek. We have offices conveniently located in Denville and Morristown.
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Being injured or having a family member injured can have serious and lifelong consequences. We can try to ease the burden. Contact us today to learn more about how our team of experienced New Jersey accident attorneys can support you through these challenging times.