No one ever gets up to prepare for work with the intention of being injured on the job. Unfortunately, workplace injuries occur, and they occur more often than most people realize. According to a report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics, in 2019 there were 2.8 million instances of workplace injuries in the private industry sector. It was also reported that there were 5,333 workplace fatalities in 2019. Employees have to be vigilant about protecting themselves from workplace injuries. They should also try to educate themselves on what they need to do should the unimaginable happen, and they need to file a workers compensation claim.
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
Contact with objects and equipment, overexertion and bodily reaction, along with slipping, falling and tripping round out the three primary causes of work-related injuries. As a matter of fact, 84% of injuries in the workplace that do not lead to a fatality, fall into one of these three categories. Injuries that don’t involve impact include things like carrying, pushing, lifting, turning or throwing objects.
Some other causes of bodily reaction are overexertion injuries which can include any type of activity that results in the straining or stressing of a part of the body caused by repetitive motions. There are multiple types of scenarios which would fall into the category of an event which would cause a contact injury. These can include but are not limited to:
- A worker being struck by an object,
- Overworking a body part like a wrist or a shoulder
- Being compressed, crushed, or squeezed by some type of equipment
- Workers getting caught between stationary objects
- The worker could be entangled in rope or wire.
Workers can also sustain contact injuries when they are trapped underneath a collapsing structure or piece of equipment falls on them, and they are caught are or crushed. These types of injuries can also occur as the result of vibrations.
What It’s Like to File a Worker’s Compensation Claim
It is very important for people who have been injured at their place of employment to understand the rules they will need to play by once they go through the process of filing a workers compensation claim. People who are accustomed to having a fairly decent relationship with their employer should understand that the nature of their relationship may change as a result of their workplace injury. This is not to say that there is anything personal against them, but employees should be aware that there is a lot of paperwork associated with workplace injuries.
Incident reports must be filled out with employee health. Depending on the nature of the claim, OSHA may be involved. If Regulatory Agencies like OSHA become involved, there will be investigations, and questions the employer will have to answer centered around how they maintain the health and safety of their employees. If a regulatory agency like OSHA discovers that the employer did not have measures in place to protect their workers from harm, there could be hefty fines imposed. In addition to that employers have no idea whether their employees will file suit against them. The attorneys for the company will become involved, which may further strain the relationship between employee and employer.
It should never be lost upon any employee that their employer is running a business. With that being said, employees have to understand that workplace injuries are very expensive and affect the bottom line of the company. In 2019 workplace injuries in the United States cost 171 billion dollars. Productivity losses and wages were included in this figure and totaled 53.9 billion dollars. Medical expenses were also included in this figure, and they totaled 35.5 billion dollars. Other costs associated with workplace injuries in 2019 included 59.7 billion dollars in administrative expenses and 13.3 billion dollars in employers’ uninsured costs.
Employees Must Protect Themselves
When all the costs associated with workplace injuries are considered, employees have to understand that their employers are going to do whatever they have to protect the reputation and the financial bottom line of the company. Employees who have been injured on the job should make sure that they secure the services of an attorney who specializes in workers compensation cases. Employers have attorneys who are kept on retainer to protect them, should one of their employees is injured on the job. These types of attorneys will do everything in their power to prevent an employer from having to pay workman’s compensation claims on a long-term basis.
Workers need to ensure that they are able to get all the benefits they deserve. A good workman’s compensation attorney will be able to evaluate an employees case on its merits, and determine what it is worth based on factors like the employee’s prognosis, whether they will be able to return to that type of work, how much it will cost to retrain them for another position, or whether they will ever be able to return to any type of employment. Workers should not leave anything to chance, by assuming they can handle court appearances on their own.