Auto Mechanic Injury in Boston
When injuries do occur in an auto shop, the primary source of recovering financial damages caused is workers' compensation, though we will examine all potentially liable parties.
Auto mechanic injury lawyers in Boston at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman understand these injuries can be disabling - temporary or permanently. They are often life-altering, even when they aren't life-ending. This is an occupation ranked the 13th most dangerous of all, and for good reason.
We need vehicles in good working order to stay safe on the roads. We put a lot of trust in auto mechanics to make sure the job is done right. These folks diagnose, maintain and repair the automobiles on which we rely daily. Although generally considered a "blue collar" job, the reality is working on today's modern, highly-sophisticated automobiles requires an enhanced understanding of both science and technology.
Auto mechanic injury can be caused by a variety of on-site hazards, including:
- Noisy environments;
- Strenuous postures;
- Improperly-designed or dangerous tools;
- Burns/ injuries from engine parts;
- Hazardous chemicals;
- Risk of electrical shocks;
- Exposure to dangerous dust or fumes (diesel, exhaust);
- Confined spaces;
- Extreme temperature conditions;
- Struck-by/ crushing injuries;
- Potentially explosive materials (airbags, tires, etc.)
- Transportation accidents;
- Possible exposure to asbestos;
- Slippery surfaces (slips, trips, and falls);
- Assaults/ violence (working alone, with hostile customers creates higher risk).
In a recent two-year time frame, nearly 150 auto mechanics suffered fatal on-the-job injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Roughly 15,600 mechanics suffer non-fatal work injuries that require days off work.
Safety goggles, steel-toed boots, gloves, proper lock-out/ tag-out procedures and thorough training can reduce the risk of injury in automotive shops.Source and Nature of Auto Mechanic Injuries
Automotive mechanics face numerous unique, on-the-job hazards that pose a threat to their health and well-being. One study published in the journal Industrial Health found 63 percent of auto mechanics surveyed reported some type of injury that forced them to take time off work.
BLS reports about one-third of auto mechanics are employed in repair and maintenance shops, another third at auto dealerships and about 9 percent at parts, accessory and tire stores. A small number are employed in industries like manufacturing and construction. Most injuries (and fatalities) occurred in the auto repair and maintenance industry.
For those injuries that involved contact with equipment/ objects:
- 20 percent involved vehicles;
- 14 percent involved non-powered hand tools;
- 9 percent involved engine parts.
For those injuries stemming from overexertion (mostly caused by lifting heavy objects):
- 31 percent involved wheels and tires;
- 24 percent involved engine parts.
As far as the actual injuries these workers sustain, the top reported injuries included:
- Sprains and strains (33 percent)
- Cuts, lacerations, and punctures (16 percent)
- Bruises/ contusions - (11 percent)
- Eye injuries (8 percent)
Eye injuries are about three times more common among car mechanics than for all other occupations. In an auto garage, workers' eyes are exposed to particles that could impact unprotected eyes. Eyes can also be at risk with flying sparks, dripping chemicals or dropped parts or tools.
Back and musculoskeletal injuries tend to result not just from working while stooped or cramped for hours in an awkward posture, but also from lifting heavy objects.
Lacerations and cuts most frequently affect the hands, fingers, and arms. Respiratory lung diseases, such as work-related asthma, can be the result of exposure to isocyanates existing in so many vehicle coatings, made from a polyurethane base.
In terms of fatal injuries, auto mechanics suffer higher rates of workplace violence than other professions, with homicides accounting for 30 percent of deaths among these workers, compared to 14 percent for all other jobs.Workers' Compensation for Auto Mechanics
Almost all auto mechanics work in the private sector, and very few would not be covered by workers' compensation insurance, as required for almost every employer via MGL c. 152 § 25A. Even employees paid "under the table" are entitled to benefits, so long as they can prove they were, in fact, an employee (something for which you'll likely need the help of a workers' compensation attorney).
This will cover your medical bills and a portion of lost wages. If you've permanently lost function in some part of your body - partially or totally - you may also be entitled to a lump sum, as well as occupational training to help you find other employment.
Workers' compensation in Massachusetts will provide you with:
- Payment of all related medical bills;
- Lost wages (60 percent of whatever your average weekly earnings were prior to the injury for every week you are out beyond 5 days);
- Reasonable costs of travel to get to-and-from appointments;
- Other benefits if you are permanently disabled;
- Death benefits to your spouse/ dependents if you die of your work-related injuries.
These are no-fault benefits, meaning you do not need to assert any wrong-doing on your employer's part. However, that doesn't mean your employer won't attempt to downplay the severity of your injuries or try to argue they were caused by something outside the scope of your employment.
That's why having an experienced workers' compensation attorney is so imperative. We will help you ensure your claim is properly filed and your case is thoroughly made.Third-Party Liability for Auto Mechanic Injury
In some auto mechanic injury cases, we may be able to assert third-party liability claims against:
- Product manufacturers (defective autos, parts, tools, etc.);
- Property owners (if different than the employer);
- Those who commit violence/ assault.
Third-party liability lawsuits for work-related auto mechanic injury are entirely separate from the workers' compensation claim. Further, while workers' compensation offers no-fault benefits, third-party liability claims require proof of negligence or intentional wrongdoing.
Whether you pursue one avenue of recovery or both, it's imperative to immediately seek medical treatment, report your injury to your employer and ask for advice from a Boston injury attorney regarding your legal options.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
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