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Summer is here, and injuries are near.
Sorry, the poet made me do it. But seriously, summertime injuries are about as predictable as heat waves and heatstroke. It's time to put on your shades, slather on the sunscreen, and get an extra layer of legal protection. Here are the areas where you'll need it the most on the job:
Heatstroke happens when your body temperature rises above 104 degrees due to heat exposure. It's one of the more common consequences of too much fun in the sun. But it's not fun at all; it's worse than sunburn. Untreated, it can damage your heart, brain, and other important organs.
If you are working -- and not playing on your own time -- that's another story. Your employer is responsible for maintaining safe working conditions. People can get heatstroke indoors, too, because it's really about heat exposure, not sun exposure. So if you get heatstroke on the job, you may qualify for workers' compensation.
If you spend way too much time in the sun, over time you may develop skin cancer. Some people, and people in some professions, are more susceptible than others. It also depends on where you work, when it comes to legal liability. For example, in California, Colorado, and Massachusetts skin cancer is considered an occupational disease for certain professionals. Lifeguards, fire fighters, and state police may be covered by workers' compensation if they develop skin cancer on the job.
They say the best remedy is prevention. In other words, don't be an idiot when going outdoors. Proper clothing, water, and shade can guard against a host of summer injuries -- even when you're not working. Hopefully, you can enjoy the outdoors and not have to worry about who is responsible if you get hurt. But if you don't take reasonable precautions, it's hard to blame somebody else for your injuries. Independent contractors -- who are not covered by workers' compensation -- take note.
There is something called premises liability, however, for anybody who gets hurt on somebody else's property. You may be able to sue, for example, if you slip and fall due to a hidden hazardous condition. But it only applies if it's not your fault, like taking selfies on a cliff.
If you are injured on the job, you might want to contact a workers' comp attorney near you. They can help explain your rights and responsibilities.