Vermont Highway Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Working in the construction industry is dangerous enough, but highway workers face extra hazards from having to work alongside speeding traffic in narrow work zones, with heavy machinery constantly moving in and out of the busy worksite. The Federal Highway Administration puts the number of annual highway work zone accidents at 100,000, resulting in more than 100 highway worker deaths and injuring over 20,000 more every year.
If you get struck by a moving vehicle in a work zone or while working on the highway, you might be able to sue the driver who hit you and recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But resolving the case through settlement or trial can take many months or over a year, and you have to be able to prove the driver was negligent. If the accident happened because your employer failed to maintain a safe work zone, then you don’t have a case.
You do, however, have a workers’ compensation claim. You have a workers’ comp claim anytime you are injured on the job, whether you get hit by a negligent driver or because your employer was to blame, or even if the accident was your own fault. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system; so long as you suffered an accidental injury that arose out of and in the course of employment, you are covered. Workers’ compensation will pay all your medical bills for as long as you are injured, along with wage replacement benefits if you are temporarily, permanently, partially or totally disabled in the accident. And you can start receiving workers’ compensation benefits within days of the accident. Doctors and hospitals bill workers’ compensation directly, so you can receive medical care from the get-go without having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
Helping Injured Highway Workers in Vermont Get Workers’ Compensation
Vermont workers’ compensation pays for injuries on the job. It should be obvious that for any highway worker hurt on the job, the accident was work-related, but employers and their insurance carriers still find ways to weasel out of claims. They could claim, for instance, that you were off the clock, intoxicated, or failed to use safety equipment provided for your use, such as a safety vest, hard hat or gloves. They might also dispute your injury, forcing you to get examined by a doctor they hire not to treat you but to give an opinion that your injury is exaggerated or not work-related, such as a pre-existing condition. They might also try to steer you toward a different treatment than your doctor is recommending.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help you deal with issues like these and help you get the benefits you need and deserve, including the right type of medical care and the right level of compensation for the duration of your disability. If your claim is disputed, denied, underpaid or ended early, you need professional legal guidance to advise you and advocate for you with the insurance company, the labor commissioner, and if necessary in court. In Vermont, Sluka Law is the law firm you need for help with your workers’ compensation claim. Justin Sluka practiced workers’ compensation defense for more than 12 years before he started representing injured workers. At Sluka Law, we know and understand workers’ compensation claims from both sides and all angles. We know why claims get denied and what to do when they do. Call our office if you’ve been injured while working on I-89, I-91, US 7, US 4, VT 100, or any of the dozens and dozens of U.S. Interstates and Highways and Vermont State Routes crisscrossing the Green Mountain State.
Help for Highway Workers Most at Risk of Serious Injury
Flaggers and traffic controllers are essential personnel for maintaining a safe worksite for others, but to do their job right, they have to put themselves in harm’s way, often with little to no protection. Inclement weather and lack of adequate signage can decrease their visibility and put them at greater risk of getting hit by an oncoming vehicle. Other members of maintenance road crews face similar dangers when working alongside active lanes of traffic without the proper barriers or buffer zones in place.
Injured highway workers can benefit from workers’ compensation claims in the following ways:
- Medical treatment – All reasonable and necessary medical bills should be paid by workers’ comp, including doctor visits and hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and mileage reimbursement for traveling to and from doctor’s appointments.
- Wage replacement – Workers’ comp benefits for lost time include pay at two-thirds of your average weekly wage for the duration of your disability, or other compensation for a permanent disability.
- Vocational rehabilitation – If you can’t work at your former job, workers’ comp will help you get retraining and job placement in a new field.
- Death benefits – After a fatal work accident, surviving family members can receive financial help to cover funeral and burial expenses plus wage loss benefits for a period of time.
Sluka Law Is Here to Help Highway Workers in Vermont With Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you are a flagger, traffic controller, maintenance worker, engineer, or other highway worker injured on the job in Vermont, Sluka Law is here to help make sure you get the benefits you need and deserve from workers’ compensation. Call us at 802-457-1000 for help with your claim.