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mechanic-injuriesMechanics have physically demanding jobs and are at constant risk of serious injuries from working around heavy machinery and equipment. If you are a mechanic in Raleigh and have sustained a serious injury at work, you should be entitled to full medical benefits and income replacement benefits through your employer workers’ compensation insurance. If you are having trouble obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, let our attorneys review your injury free of charge and discuss your legal options.

Mechanics who have developed injuries may learn that they need surgery and extensive rehabilitation. You may be unable to work for a lengthy period. The time missed from work can create financial stress for workers and their families. The mechanic injury lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., have helped many injured workers recover fair compensation after a debilitating injury. Our legal team includes staff members who speak Spanish and English.

If you sustained an injury on the job, whether it was caused by a single incident or developed gradually, you need to speak with our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys about your rights. Meeting with our knowledgeable attorneys about your injury puts you under no obligation to hire us. We will try to answer your questions and explain whether you have a valid claim for compensation. If we represent you, you can expect hands-on attention from our legal team. Whether you decide to work with us or not, you will have a better understanding of your legal rights from a consultation. That knowledge will help you make more well-informed decisions.

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Types of Mechanics

Mechanics perform a range of repair and maintenance jobs that require specialized knowledge of mechanical systems as well as physical strength, stamina and dexterity to remain on their feet for many hours.

  • Auto Mechanic — Car mechanics diagnose and service engines, brakes and other automotive parts.
  • Diesel Mechanic —  Diesel mechanics work on vehicles that use diesel fuel such as tractor trailers, buses, railroad locomotives and large boats.
  • Aircraft Mechanic — Aircraft mechanics handle the maintenance and repair of helicopters, private propeller planes, cargo planes and passenger jets.
  • Industrial Mechanic — Also known as maintenance machinists, industrial mechanics repair and service factory industrial machinery and equipment such as production equipment, conveyors and packaging machinery.

The Risks of Being a Mechanic

Mechanics work around, underneath, and sometimes inside motors and large industrial machinery. They rely on hand tools, power tools, lifts, and heavy machinery to perform their jobs. The strenuous nature of the work creates risks for many types of injuries and exposure to hazardous substances.

Mechanics may experience back strains and muscle sprains from frequent bending and lifting. They may sustain small burns from contact with hot surfaces and hot fluids. They may get cuts and puncture wounds from sharp edges and working with power tools. They may develop hand injuries or repetitive stress injuries from getting a hand caught in a pinch point or performing the same task repeatedly using vibrating tools such as pneumatic wrenches and grinders.

They also may be exposed to airborne asbestos fibers, which brake pads, clutch linings, gaskets, and other automotive parts may contain. Workplace exposure to asbestos such as through replacing brakes and clutches can cause the asbestos fibers to be lodged in the lining of the lungs and cause respiratory disease including mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdomen. Typically, asbestos-related disease develops 10 years to 30 years after the exposure. A person who worked as a mechanic in the 1980s may have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos on the job decades ago.

If you worked as a mechanic and have been diagnosed with asbestos-related disease, you may have a right to pursue a personal injury claim against an asbestos manufacturer. These types of claims require taking a detailed employment history to determine when the asbestos exposure occurred and what products were used. You will need the help of an attorney to pursue this type of claim.

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How to Get Compensation for a Mechanic Injury

A mechanic who sustains an injury on the job may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits including medical care and replacement of lost income. Most employers in North Carolina are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees who are injured or develop a work-related illness on the job.

It is important to inform your employer of your work-related injury as soon as possible. You should notify your employer in writing within 30 days of the accident, even if you have made a verbal notification. If you are unable to notify your employers yourself because of the seriousness of your injury, you should ask a family member to do so on your behalf. You should keep a copy of the signed and dated notification letter.

You should follow the directions of the doctor provided by your employer. If you fail to comply with the doctor’s orders or keep follow-up appointments, it can jeopardize your workers’ compensation benefits. In a disputed claim, you will need to show that you followed directions and took the proper steps to recover from your injury.

If your injury was caused by a defective tool or piece of equipment, you may have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective product liable to seek compensation. Pursuing a personal injury claim against a manufacturer that produced an unsafe product requires a detailed investigation by an attorney and the testimony of product safety experts who can discuss how your injury occurred.

Common Injuries for Mechanics

Mechanics may incur a wide range of injuries because of the nature of their work.

  • Lacerations and Punctures — Mechanics use their hands to grab sharp metal objects and sharp tools. Mechanics sustain higher rates of cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds compared to workers overall.
  • Eye Injuries — Eye injuries are extremely common among mechanics. Garages and body shops have sparks and metal shards flying from grinders. Mechanics also are at risk of having hot liquids splashed in their faces. Many cases of eye trauma occur among workers who are not wearing proper eye protection. Mechanics should wear safety glasses or appropriate eye protection.
  • Crushing Injuries — Mechanics working underneath cars or trucks or working inside industrial equipment may be pinned and crushed if the vehicle falls off a jack or lift or if an energized mechanical, electrical or hydraulic system activates unexpectedly.
  • Strains and Sprains — Mechanics lift heavy objects and may incur a muscle strain when lifting or trying to exert enough force to loosen frozen nuts and bolts. They spend hours bent under hoods or twisting their bodies into contortions to work on difficult to reach engine components. Sprains and strains are common injuries caused by overexertion.
  • Exposure to Industrial Chemicals — Many toxic chemicals are used in garages and auto body shops. Auto shop workers are particularly vulnerable to exposure to hazardous chemicals.
  • Burns — A mechanic may suffer serious burn injuries from contact with a hot motor, hot oil or if flammable liquids ignite.
  • Amputation Injuries — Mechanics work with machinery with moving parts, blades and sharp edges. If a piece of machinery is energized and activates unexpectedly during repair, a mechanic may lose a fingertip, a finger or multiple digits. They may need reconstructive surgery.

How a Raleigh Mechanic Injury Lawyer Can Help You

The North Carolina workers’ compensation system is intended to protect workers who are injured on the job. An injured employee may receive workers’ comp benefits, starting in the second week that he or she is out of work. Unfortunately, some businesses and their workers’ compensation administrators deny valid workplace injury claims.

Obtaining the full benefits is not always as simple as it should be. Some injured employers do not receive benefits they deserve because they try to navigate the complicated workers’ compensation system on their own. That can create stress and complicate their recovery.

Our injury lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., have decades of experience working through the North Carolina workers’ compensation system. If your claim has been denied, we can request a hearing before the N.C. Industrial Commission. We will investigate your workplace injury, handle the paperwork, and apply our knowledge to pursue your injury claim.

Depending on the details of your on-the-job injury, our legal team will:

  • Gather records and medical documents to show the extent of your workplace injury and its effect on you
  • File a request to change your doctor if the insurance company has denied your request
  • File a request for hearing with the North Carolina Industrial Commission
  • Appeal a workers’ compensation decision if your claim is turned down or if you are offered less than the amount you believe is fair
  • Help you analyze and decide whether a settlement is reasonable, including how the settlement may affect your right to future benefits if your condition changes

At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our Raleigh mechanic attorneys are committed to fighting for your full benefits so you can focus on recovering from your injury.

Schedule a free consultation today to learn how we can make a difference for you.

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