Cold weather presents unique hazards to workers. Fortunately, many cold-weather injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. In this article, we discuss workers’ compensation and cold weather injuries.
Common Cold Weather Injuries
Cold weather injuries can be painful and even fatal. Therefore, it’s crucial to be able to recognize the symptoms of common cold-weather injuries. Common cold-weather injuries include:
Frostbite: Frostbite is the most common cold-weather injury, and its severity varies depending on the length of exposure. Frostbite often occurs in the toes, fingers, and face. Symptoms include a burning or tingling sensation, itching, and numbness. If left untreated, frostbite can result in amputation.
Hypothermia: Hypothermia is another cold-weather injury that can occur due to prolonged exposure to cold weather. This condition occurs when the body temperature falls below 95 degrees. Symptoms of hypothermia include slurred speech, shivering, and sleepiness.
Immersion foot: Also called trench foot, this injury can occur even if the weather isn’t especially cold. When a person stands on the damp and cool ground for a prolonged period of time, his or her feet can develop similar symptoms to frostbite. Extreme cases of immersion foot can lead to necrosis or gangrene, both of which may result in amputation.
Sunburn and snow blindness: Snow blindness and sunburn are also common cold-weather injuries. Since sunburn isn’t often associated with cold weather, people often forget to apply sunscreen when it’s cold out. However, the reflection of the sun off of snow can result in serious sunburn. Similarly, snow blindness occurs when a person’s eyes become affected by UV light reflecting off of snow.
Workers’ Compensation for Cold Weather Injuries
Fortunately, most people who suffer cold-weather injuries while on the job in Illinois are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In Illinois, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that an injured employee does not have to prove that his or her employer is to blame for his or her injuries. Therefore, even if it was your failure to address a cold-weather condition that ultimately caused your cold-weather on-job injury, you are likely still eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Hire an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you’ve suffered a cold-weather injury in Illinois, you need an experienced attorney on your side. At Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O’Neil, LLC, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. When you come to us for help, we will do everything in our power to ensure that you receive full compensation for your cold-weather injury. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.