Freezing temperatures, white-out snowstorms, sleet, and ice are part of Colorado life. While some businesses have delayed starts or work-from-home options for employees on snow days, many people must find a way to get to work and conduct business as usual. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over twenty thousand workplace injuries per year involve snow, ice, or sleet.
It is important to know your rights as an employee if you suffer a work-related injury this winter. The workers' compensation attorneys at the Frickey Law Firm can help you file a claim, negotiate with insurance companies, and sue negligent third parties to secure the compensation you need to recover from an injury.
Slip and Fall Injuries
One of the most common workplace injuries are slips, trips, and falls. Whether you slip on wet tile as you enter the building or fall from a construction scaffold, these events can have life-altering consequences.
Your employer is required to mitigate winter weather risks to prevent injuries. This includes timely snow and ice removal, applying deicer, and posting warning signs in entryways and walkways that can become slippery from tracked-in snow. If you slip and fall at work or while doing a work-related task, you could be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.
Cold Stress Injuries
Cold stress injuries result from exposure to low temperatures. Winter construction work and snow removal are two common occupations that put you at risk for cold stress injuries.
Your employer is required to take reasonable measures to prevent cold weather injuries, such as training workers on proper cold weather attire and symptoms of cold stress. Additionally, employers should provide warm-up breaks in dry, heated areas, and monitor the wind chill temperature to determine if it is safe to work. Cold temps put you at risk of:
- Hypothermia - This condition arises when your body cannot produce enough heat to compensate for lost heat. Your body temperature falls, and you may experience confusion, decreased heart rate, loss of consciousness, and difficulty speaking. Extreme hypothermia can be fatal.
- Frostbite - Cold temperatures can freeze your skin and tissues. Your face, fingers, and toes are most susceptible to frostbite, which can cause irreversible tissue damage. In severe cases, amputation of the affected area may be necessary.
- Muscle damage - Cold temps impact the way your muscles and joints function. You are at a higher risk for muscle damage in cold weather because your muscles have to work harder to stay warm.
Work-Related Auto Accidents
Work-related auto accidents are those that occur while you are performing a job-related task. In most cases, you will be eligible for workers' comp benefits if you were injured in an auto accident while working. Learn more about work-related car accidents here.
If a third party's negligence contributed to your car accident injuries, you may be able to sue the responsible party. Our workers' comp attorneys look at all of the circumstances around a work-related auto accident to determine who was at fault and how to recover maximum damages.
What to do if you are Injured at Work this Winter
A successful workers' comp claim requires thorough documentation of the incident and your resulting injuries. Your first priorities should be to:
- Seek medical attention - If your injuries are life-threatening, seek emergency treatment immediately. If emergency assistance is not required, you should see your employer's designated health care provider as soon as possible.
- Report the incident to your employer - Timely reporting of your injury is necessary to qualify for workers' comp benefits.
- Provide a detailed accident report to your employer - Within four days of your injury, submit an accident report to your human resources department or your supervisor. This report should include a description of the accident, including the date, time, and weather conditions. It should also include information about your injuries.
- Call the Frickey Law Firm for a free consultation - Some employers will attempt to discourage you from filing a workers' comp claim or will engage in retaliatory behavior if you file. Our workers' comp attorneys can help protect your rights and make sure you are meeting all requirements and deadlines for filing your claim.
Workers' Comp Attorneys in Lakewood
If you are injured on the job, the workers’ comp attorneys at the Frickey Law Firm are here to help. Call 303-237-7373 to schedule a complimentary consultation. We serve the communities of Lakewood, Boulder, Golden, and Denver.