Workers Compensation Claims for Automotive Mechanics in Virginia
Auto mechanics face unique work-related hazards compared to other occupations. As a result, they suffer high injury rates.
This article answers:
- What do service technicians and auto mechanics do on the job?
- What are the different types of auto mechanics?
- Where do auto mechanics work?
- What are common injuries suffered by auto mechanics?
- What are my legal rights as an auto mechanic injured on the job in Virginia?
If you or a loved one suffered a work-related injury while employed as a service technician or auto mechanic in Virginia, call today for a free consultation. We can help you get the benefits and medical care you deserve.
What Do Service Technicians and Auto Mechanics Do?
Automotive mechanics, also called service technicians, perform many tasks while inspecting, maintaining, and repairing cars, trucks, and other vehicles.
Common job duties for mechanics include:
- Performing a visual examination of the vehicle for damage and defects
- Using computerized diagnostic equipment to identify problems
- Developing work procedures based on experience and technical manuals
- Performing basic care and maintenance on vehicles, including oil changes, checking fluid levels, rotating tires, and replacing filters
- Repairing or replacing worn parts, including sensors, brake pads, and bearings
- Performing other required repairs, such as replacing fenders or fixing dents
- Explaining automotive problems to clients
Mechanics and service technicians use many different tools to complete their tasks: pliers; wrenches; hammers; sockets; ratchets; wrenches; lathes; welding torches; hoists; and jacks. They work with fuel, chemicals, and other toxic substances. And they must be familiar with electronic systems and components.
Are There Different Types of Auto Mechanics?
Yes. There are several types of auto mechanics and service technicians, including:
- Automotive air-conditioning technicians: These individuals install and repair vehicle air-conditioners and their related parts, including condensers and compressors. Automotive air-conditioning techs must be able to handle refrigerants.
- Brake technicians: These individuals diagnose problems with brakes, adjust brakes, and replace brake rotors and pads.
- Diesel service technicians: These individuals work on large trucks and buses.
- Drivability technicians: These individuals diagnose issues affecting engine performance.
- Front-end technicians: These individuals diagnose problems with handling and wire tear. They often use alignment equipment and wheel balancing machines.
- Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians: These individuals work on railcars, construction vehicles, and farm equipment.
- Small engine mechanics: These technicians work on motorboats, motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
- Transmission technicians and rebuilders: These individuals work on hydraulic pumps, gear trains, and other parts of the transmission.
Where Do Auto Mechanics Work?
In 2016 automotive mechanics and service technicians held more than 700,000 jobs. The largest employers of auto mechanics were:
- Automobile dealers
- Automotive mechanical and electrical repair and maintenance
- Automotive parts, accessories, and tire shops
Most auto mechanics work full time, with overtime being common.
What are Common Auto Mechanic Work Injuries?
Mechanics suffer many types of injuries and occupational illnesses. These include:
- Acute injuries. Mechanics may suffer abrasions, cuts, bruises, and burns while using tools or handling automotive parts.
- Sprains, strains, and tears. Working under the hood or chassis while fixing a vehicle increases the likelihood of injury. Lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling machinery and tools also puts mechanics at risk of injury.
- Chemical burns. Auto mechanics work with many dangerous chemicals and substances. It’s important that these substances are marked appropriately. Contact with the skin can lead to an injury.
- Eye injuries and ear injuries. Working under cars and hoods places auto shop workers at risk of having a foreign object or toxic substance fall into their ear or eye. It’s important to wear safety goggles at all times.
- Slips, trips, and falls. Oil changes, transmission flushes, and vehicle maintenance can leave the floor slippery. And many auto shops have tools or parts lying around. All these factors increase the risk of an auto mechanic injury on the job. Common injuries in slip and falls include knee injuries and shoulder injuries, which reduce the likelihood that the injured employee will be able to return to his or her pre-injury employment.
- Loss of a limb or digit. Your hands play an important role in being an auto mechanic. But using tools increases the risk of an injury to your hand or finger. Make sure you wear protective gear at all times.
What are My Legal Rights as an Injured Auto Mechanic?
As an auto mechanic, you are exposed to working conditions and dangers that increase the risk that you will suffer a debilitating and costly injury. If this happens to you, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your auto mechanic injuries.
To protect your legal rights after a work injury, you must report your injuries to your employer immediately and seek medical attention right away. You should then contact an attorney with experience handling Virginia workers compensation matters.
In Virginia the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is two years from the date of the accident. But we recommending filing a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible to get the financial protection and medical care you deserve.
You may be able to get the following benefits as an injured auto mechanic:
- Medical treatment, including hospitalizations, surgery, follow up visits, therapy, and prescription medication
- Wage loss benefits, including temporary total disability and temporary partial disability payments
- Vocational rehabilitation if you’re unable to return to your job as a mechanic
- Permanent partial disability benefits if your injury leaves you with permanent work restrictions
- Social Security Disability benefits if you’re unable to return to competitive employment following your work injury
Speak with an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney for Mechanics
If you’re an automotive service technician or mechanic who has been injured on the job, we can help you get the cash and medical benefits you deserve. Contact Corey Pollard, a top-rated workers compensation attorney, for a free strategy session. We’ve obtained workers compensation settlements for mechanics throughout Virginia and represent injured employees across the state, including those in Richmond, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Prince William County, Fredericksburg, and Roanoke.