How Do I Claim Workers’ Comp After a Tree Cutting Accident?

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If you suffer injuries in a tree cutting accident in South Carolina, you need to know how to claim workers’ comp.

Our Beaufort workers’ compensation attorneys at Schiller & Hamilton explain how to claim benefits for tree cutting accidents.

How Do I Claim Workers’ Comp After a Tree Cutting Accident?

Tree cutting work can be dangerous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tree workers are three times more likely to suffer an injury than the general working population. They are 15 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury.

To claim workers’ comp after a tree cutting accident, seek emergency medical attention, if necessary. Tell your supervisor or a company representative. Ask them to be responsible for your medical care and pay other benefits.

File Form 50 if your claim is denied or to dispute any issue in your tree cutting workers’ comp claim.

Injury Risks to Arborists and Tree Cutters

  • Struck by, stuck under: An arborist may be struck by a tree or equipment. They may become stuck and suffer crushing injuries.
  • Electrocution: Tree cutting work involves heavy machinery and electrical equipment. The work carries a risk of electrocution.
  • Falls: Working at an elevated height creates risk of falls.
  • Scrapes: Scrapes may result in contusions and burns. There is a risk of infection.
  • Motor vehicle accidents: A car accident while traveling to a job site may be an on-the-job injury.
  • Blunt force trauma: Blunt force trauma may result in internal organ damage.
  • Allergic reactions: A person may suffer an allergic reaction to a type of tree or plant.
  • Insects and other animals: Encounters with bees, ants, snakes and other animals may result in injury.
  • Environmental risks: Arborists work in the elements. Heat stroke, sun exposure, wind and lightning may cause injury.
  • Asphyxis: Suffocation may result from being compressed under leaves or plants.

Is emergency medical care covered for workers’ comp for a tree cutting accident?

Tree cutting accidents often result in the need for emergency medical care. When injuries require immediate attention, there isn’t time to notify your employer or get a list of care providers. You can seek emergency care and have it paid by the employer if it is truly an emergency.

After emergency care is complete, you’ll need to go to your employer’s treating physician. Don’t assume that a referral from the emergency room is approved. Check with your employer to ensure that your continuing medical care will be covered.

Injury Prevention Measures for Arborists

  • Teamwork and supervision: An arborist should never work alone. Supervision and teamwork can help workers react appropriately if there is danger or an accident.
  • Fall protection: Fall protection measures should include climbing protection, ladder security and stability of dockboards, stairways and other elevated surfaces.
  • Foot protection: Workers need the right footwear.
  • Personal protective equipment: PPE may include gloves, hats, vests and respiratory protection.
  • Communication: Communicating effectively before and during work can help prevent accidents and allow for quick emergency response.
  • Maintenance and inspection: Equipment, tools and machinery should be inspected before each use. Broken equipment should be tagged out of service and repaired.
  • Training: Tree cutters must be trained in the risk of electric shock, how to mitigate falls and other steps to take on the job to minimize injury.
  • Environmental hazards: Chemicals should be stored and labeled properly. Workers should have training in toxic and hazardous substances and bloodborne pathogens.
  • Materials and equipment: Because tree cutting is a dangerous job, workers should have the equipment and tools needed to be successful. First aid should be readily available.
  • Culture of safety: The company should always promote a culture of safety. Workers should know how to report safety concerns, and they should not be penalized for making a report.
  • Follow regulations: Company leaders should always follow safety rules and regulations.

Steps to File a Claim for Tree Cutting Workers’ Comp

Steps to file a claim for tree cutting workers’ comp include:

     1. Seek emergency medical attention, if needed.

S.C. Code § 42-15-60(A) authorizes medical surgical, hospital and other treatment in the event of an emergency, from a physician other than provided by the employer. The employer must pay for the cost of emergency treatment until you are able to contact the employer and receive care from an authorized provider.

     2. Report the injury to your employer.

It may seem obvious to you that the employer knows about the accident and your injury, but you need to make sure. S.C. Code § 42-15-20 requires you to notify the employer of the injury immediately or as soon as practicable. Don’t assume that they know. It’s best to provide notice in writing. Tell a manager or human resources representative. If you fail to give notice within 90 days, it may jeopardize your compensation unless you are incapacitated or there is another good reason for failing to give notice.

     3. Know your benefits.

Getting fairly compensated through workers’ comp starts with knowing what compensation you should receive. South Carolina workers’ compensation may cover medical bills, travel to medical appointments, prescriptions and medical devices, replacement income (partial and total) and permanent disability (loss of use of a specific body part or function) compensation. Make sure lost wages are calculated appropriately and that your disability is fairly valued.

     4. File for benefits.

If workers’ comp insurance doesn’t pay you fairly, you may file a claim and ask for a hearing. Use Form 50 for injuries and Form 52 for a fatality. You can contest a variety of issues including your medical care, pay and disability compensation.

     5. Pursue your case.

It isn’t always easy to get the workers’ comp that you deserve for a tree injury. Unfortunately, insurance providers try to find ways to deny good claims. You can work with an attorney to pursue your case through hearings and settlement negotiations.

South Carolina Lawyers for Tree Cutting Injury Workers’ Comp Claims

Have you been hurt while tree cutting? Schiller & Hamilton can help with your workers’ comp claim. We know how to help tree workers claim workers’ comp. Our legal team can represent you in all aspects of your case. Contact us now.

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