Workplace injuries are a common occurrence in the United States and, while many of these injuries are suffered by workers whose job involves physical labor, desk or office jobs can cause injuries also.
Regardless of how you were injured on the job, you could be facing the need for medical treatment and time away from work that can have a major financial impact. You may even find that you are temporarily or permanently disabled and won’t be able to work your same job again.
If you’ve been injured in the workplace, you may have a right to claim workers’ compensation to help pay for your medical bills and lost wages. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not cover all of your damages, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and will most likely only cover a portion of your lost wages or loss of earning capacity in the future. If your employer provides workers’ compensation insurance, they may be immune from liability and your recovery will be limited to what workers’ compensation provides.
However, many work-related injuries are caused by other people or business besides your employer. For instance, on a construction site there are many different contractors on the worksite – if you are injured by a subcontractor, as opposed to your employer, you may have a case in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits. If you are injured by a defective machine at a factory or warehouse, the manufacturer of the defective machine may be liable.
When you are injured at work, it is important that you contact an experienced work-related injury lawyer to help with obtain your workers’ compensation benefits and to determine whether someone other than your employer may be at fault. There are also instances in which your employer may be liable to pay damages in excess of an injured employee’s workers’ compensation benefits. During a time like this, you should contact the workplace injury lawyers at Colombo Law to make sure you are taking every step necessary to get the benefits you deserve.
Work-Related Injury Statistics
Statistics from the National Safety Council show the serious impact workplace injuries can have:
- One average, one worker is injured on the job every 7 seconds
- That means there are 540 workplace injuries per hour, 12,900 per day, 90,400 per week, and 4,700,000 per year
- Around 25% of all workplace injuries are the result of overexertion
Top 10 Most Common Workplace Injuries
While there are many ways one could be injured at work, there are some that are certainly more likely than others. The top 10 work-related injuries we see as lawyers are:
- Overexertion – This is usually seen in workers who have to push, pull, lift, carry, or throw items frequently as part of their daily job duties.
- Slipping, Tripping, or Falling – Slippery floors, icy areas, or uneven surfaces can easily cause a worker to trip and hurt themselves.
- Falls To a Lower Level – Employees who do their work at great heights run the risk of falling off roofs, ladders, and scaffolding without the proper safety gear.
- Reaction Injuries – We’ve all nearly tripped or fallen and experienced what it’s like when our body and mind work together to catch ourselves. Unfortunately, even though this may prevent a fall injury, it could cause a muscle, ligament, tendon, or disc injury.
- Falling Objects – Just like you can fall, so can things like tools or building materials. If you happen to walk by when something falls off a shelf or is dropped from above, you could be seriously injured.
- Stationary Objects – If you are distracted or not paying attention to your surroundings, you could easily walk into doors, walls, pylons, and a host of other items that could hurt you.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – Transportation is a regular part of business for some workers. Just like anyone else, there is a possibility you could be in a car accident or truck accident while working.
- Machine Entanglement – Workers who use heavy machinery or tools can be caught in or trapped under or behind one of these machines in the blink of an eye. The large nature of machines like this mean that serious crushing injuries can be caused in just a few seconds.
- Repetitive Motion – Some employees, like assembly line workers or those who use a computer all day, have to do the same motion over and over again as part of their job. This can cause injuries like muscle strain, back pain, vision issues, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow.
- On the Job Violence – At the end of the day, we’re all human. Arguments and fights can happen in the workplace and result in assaults or other violent acts.
Types of Workplace Accidents and Injuries We Handle
If you have been injured on the job, there’s a good chance you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. As work-related injury lawyers, we handle all kinds of workplace injury cases, like those involving:
- Cuts, bruises, sprains, strains, and broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Skin conditions or diseases related to chemical or smoke exposure
- Accidents caused by defective, old, or faulty products, tools, or safety equipment
- Neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputation injuries
- Accidents resulting in partial or complete paralysis
- Trauma resulting in hearing or vision loss
- Blunt force trauma or traumatic brain injury accidents
- Respiratory diseases and cancer resulting from the inhalation of toxic chemical and fibers, such as asbestos
- Natural gas injuries
What to Do If You’re Injured on the Job
No matter what kind of injury you sustain, there are a set of tasks you should complete after a workplace injury in order to properly notify your employer and preserve your chances of getting workers’ compensation benefits. While taking these steps doesn’t guarantee anything, they certainly can’t hurt:
- Report it to your employer ASAP. You will have to fill out paperwork so your employer can file a claim and prepare their own report. Keep copies of all these documents for your personal records.
- See a doctor as soon as you can. Your company may provide a doctor for you. If this is the case, be very clear and detailed about how your injury occurred. You should also provide the doctor with a written statement about how your injury occurred.
- Follow the doctor’s instructions. Take all your medicines as prescribed, go to therapy as recommended, and avoid doing any activities at home or at work that your doctor has advised against.
- Have your doctor send the bill to your employer or workers’ compensation provider as they are the ones who should be paying for your treatment.
- Keep the receipts for anything you do have to pay for. This includes medical bills, prescriptions, and equipment you’ve purchased as a result of your injury.
- Get your medical records and details about your treatment, medications, and work restrictions to provide to your employer.
- Take notes on everything that has happened, every conversation you’ve had, and every person you’ve spoken to about the injury.
- Log your lost hours so if you do receive benefits, you’ll be able to prove how much time you’ve spent away from work.
- Don’t sign anything from insurance companies or your employer before you’ve had a chance to consult with workplace injury attorney.
- Contact a work-related injury lawyer to see if you have a case.
What Kind of Benefits Could I Receive?
Depending on how your accident occurred, and your state’s laws, you could be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits like:
- Medical expense coverage to pay for the cost of your treatment
- Temporary disability to cover a portion of your salary if you are temporarily out of work
- Permanent total or permanent partial disability to cover the wages you won’t be able to earn after being disabled
- Death benefits to provide financial help to your spouse or children in the event you are killed in an accident at work
- In some circumstances you may be entitled to recover additional damages that are not fully covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation attorney. Contact the work-related injury lawyers at Colombo Law to see if you are entitled to more damages than workers’ compensation provides.
What Happens if My Benefits are Denied?
Some employers will try to deny you benefits, even when you are entitled to them. While there are some valid reasons your claim could be denied, you may still have grounds to appeal the decision. If your employer denies your workers’ compensation claim, you should visit the United States Department of Labor website to find out how to contact your local workers’ compensation office.
Why Should I Contact a Workplace Injury Lawyer?
If you’re lucky and your employer is cooperative, you may never need the help of a workplace injury attorney. That said, it’s a good idea to at least consult a work-related injury lawyer to find out if you have a case. That way if your claim starts well but takes a nasty turn, you will have already spoken to someone who is familiar with your case and how to handle it.
The attorneys at Colombo Law represent workers like you. We know that dealing with your employer, their insurance company, and their lawyers can be very stressful. Once we get the information we need from you, we will do everything we can to handle your case so you can focus on healing. If you need help work a work-related injury or workers’ compensation claim, call us at 888-860-1414 to schedule your free consultation and get the legal representation you deserve.