If you're a new tree trimmer who fell out a bucket truck while cutting trees and received traumatic injuries as a result, you may wonder if you have a case against the employer. If the employer's truck didn't meet certain safety criteria, or if the employer didn't train you properly, you may seek compensation for your injuries. However, you'll need to contact a personal injury attorney for assistance. Even if the employer is clearly responsible for your accident, you must prove that they are before an insurer awards you benefits. Here are concerns you need answers to and what you and an attorney can do to get them.
Does the Work Truck Meet OSHA's Requirements?
If the employer's truck lacked the necessary features needed to complete jobs safely, you need to find and document this information now. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, requires that aerial lift trucks, such as bucket trucks, possess a variety of safety mechanisms that protect workers from accidental falls, slips, and other injuries. One of the main features is a harness.
The harness on a bucket truck should hold you securely in place as you cut trees and handle equipment, such as chainsaws and reachers. The device may wrap around your body to keep you safe. If the harness was in disrepair or didn't tighten properly around your body, tell a personal injury attorney about it. If you complained about the damaged harness, and the supervisor on site didn't take steps to remedy the issues, reveal it to a lawyer as well. The supervisor may be liable for your injuries along with the employer.
Were You Properly Trained By Your Employer?
You also want to tell an attorney about any other problems you experienced on and off the work site, including poor training. Although individuals can learn tree-trimming on-the-job, it's recommended, and in some cases required, that people obtain certification and training through an educational program as well. You must learn a variety of safety techniques and rules that not only keep you see in the bucket truck, but also help you perform different jobs.
If the employer didn't show you the "ropes" or help you obtain certification before you took on your duties, report the information to an attorney. Be sure to list the dates of any training you did receive and give them to a lawyer as well. A personal injury attorney may want to examine the extent of your training to see if it was sufficient enough to allow you to work.
What Can You and an Attorney Do?
After you and an attorney examine the facts above, a lawyer may examine the work history and business practices of the employer. Although it doesn't apply to every company, some employers try to cut corners and save money by not spending too much time training employees. The employers want people who can learn quickly and without too much assistance. If the employer practiced these habits throughout their company's history, an attorney may perform an investigation to find out more.
It's also possible that the employer has other legal cases or court settlements against them for their poor business practices. Depending on your state, you may or may not be able to access this information yourself, so it's probably better if you allow an attorney to do it for you. The process can be time-consuming and may cost to view public records. A personal injury lawyer can look through cases online or in a courthouse to find what they need.
Once an attorney compiles your case, they may contact the employer's insurer to settle. If the insurer disagrees with the evidence or settlement amount, an attorney may pursue a case in court. In many cases, insurers settle because they don't want to go through the court system. A personal injury lawyer will go over the expectations with you before they make a decision.
For more information about your injuries or case, contact a lawyer today.