While many Tennessee residents earn their livings indoors, a significant percentage of the workforce spend its working hours outside — regardless of weather conditions. If your job required you to brave the freezing weather in recent weeks, your health might have suffered. Exposure to extreme weather conditions can lead to serious injuries or illness.
While most employees find comfort in the fact that workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage, some may question their eligibility when it comes to weather-related illnesses or injuries. Just like those who suffer heat-related illnesses in the summer, you should be entitled to claim workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses incurred after suffering cold-related medical conditions.
Winter hazards that employers might overlook
When attending to winter hazards in the workplace, it is typically those related to snow removal that receive attention. However, the following dangers that are more common may not receive the deserved consideration, although they threaten the health and safety of almost every worker:
- Car accidents on icy roads: Although your workers’ compensation benefits may not cover your commute to and from work, it could cover any accident injuries you suffer while doing work-related driving. Even if an accident involves no other vehicle, and your car skidded on an icy patch during a time for which you are paid, your injuries will be work-related. These duties may include making deliveries, driving to or from sales appointments, or even driving a colleague for a work-related purpose.
- Flu contracted at the workplace: A severe cold or flu might not typically qualify as a workplace injury. However, if you work in unsafe conditions or among others with colds or flu, your illness may be work-related, and you might be able to recover medical expenses and lost wages if your illness caused lost time.
- Frostbite from working outside: Frostbite can have severe consequences and deserves serious treatment. If you have to spend many hours working in extremely cold conditions, you will be at risk of suffering frostbite. If it is severe enough to cause absence from work, you should be entitled to claim compensation.
Although many people may regard these conditions as minor injuries, the medical expenses and lost wages that may follow could ruin any worker’s finances. However, proving these injuries or illnesses to be work-related may be challenging in some cases. Nevertheless, you should not attempt to cope with these costs on your own because help is available. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can navigate the claim on your behalf and might secure the benefits to which you are entitled.