Workplace accidents are an all too common occurrence in the construction industry, including painters who are often part of the later stages of a construction and renovation project. Painters are subject to many hazards in the workplace and can suffer from a variety of injuries. When a serious accident does occur, painters are covered by workers’ compensation just like other employees. In some cases, painters may also be eligible to file a personal injury claim.
Common Injury Sources for Painters
Painters face many of the same dangers as other construction workers, along with some unique dangers. These hazards include:
- Falls – Painters have to deal with tools, supplies, and building materials on the ground, more tripping hazards than many other workers face. Painting frequently requires working on ladders, scaffolds, and other elevated locations to cover all walls and ceilings. This creates the risk of a fall from a height, which can cause serious injuries or even death.
- Toxic exposure – Many of the chemicals painters work with, including paints, thinners, and brush cleaner, can be dangerous when inhaled. Exposure to these chemicals can cause chronic illnesses for painters after decades of work.
- Eye injuries – These same chemicals also pose a serious danger to painters’ eyes. Even brief contact can cause temporary or permanent blindness.
- Repetitive stress – Painters often perform the same movements throughout the day – picking up and putting down heavy materials, and reaching to paint areas. These repetitive motions can cause overuse injuries over time. In particular, the rotator cuffs and muscles of the shoulder and neck are often strained while a painter works. Long-term use can cause minor tears that can take weeks to recover, while a sudden fall can cause injuries that require surgery.
Any of these circumstances can cause a multitude of serious injuries, including fractures, blindness, chronic illnesses, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and neck and shoulder injuries.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Painters
If your employer has workers compensation insurance for their employees, a painter who suffers a serious injury at work can file a workers’ compensation claim. The following are some of the benefits injured workers can file claims for:
- Compensation for Medical Expenses: Covers medical treatment, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitative devices, and transportation to and from medical appointments.
- Permanent Disability: If your injury leaves you unable to ever return to work, you can file a claim for permanent disability.
- Temporary Disability: You can get two-thirds of the wages of your average weekly amount if your temporary disability claim is approved.
- Life Pension: If you are severely disabled with more than a 70% permanent disability rating, you can receive weekly life pension benefits.
- Death Benefits: If a workplace injury results in death, the surviving members of the worker’s family can file a claim for death benefits to cover various expenses.
What If You’re a Self-Employed Painter?
In some instances, a civil lawsuit may also be appropriate for a painter’s injuries if you can prove negligence. For example, consider a homeowner who fails to warn painters he has hired about rotten deck stairs. If a painter is injured by falling through a step, the homeowner might be liable for those injuries if he or she was aware of dangerous conditions on his property and failed to warn painters about them. This negligence led to the painter falling through the rotten steps and breaking his leg, so the negligence definitely contributed to the injury, and the homeowner could be held liable.
Do You Need a Workers Compensation Attorney?
If you believe your workplace injury or disease was caused by negligence or willful, reckless actions, you should speak with an attorney. In addition, while the process may seem straight-forward, the process does not necessarily guarantee that you will be compensated fairly. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New Jersey and New York with their workers’ compensation cases. We have years of experience and the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result.