Suffering a work injury often involves a significant expense to the employee and their employer. Due to significant changes in worker safety, injuries on the job have declined over the last few decades. However, workers in many industries are subject to a high number of injuries when performing their duties, including those working in construction, manufacturing, fishing, timber, transportation, communications, social and health work, and the wholesale/retail trade.
Other than the hazards of being an airplane pilot, the deadliest occupations with the highest number of annual fatalities tend to be the lowest paying jobs that include:
- Fishing and logging
- Ranching and farming
- Steel and structural iron workers
- Electric power line repairs and installers
- Truck drivers
- Agricultural workers
- Construction laborers
A major leading reason for a high number of on-the-job injuries and illnesses involve worker fatigue, which usually directly correlates to overexertion. Overworking, and the lack of safety equipment, tend to account for a high number of accidents and fatalities involving contact with equipment or an object while on the job. This is followed by slips and falls in the workplace, and being injured from repetitive motion.
Statistics from the National Safety Council state that the work injuries account for nearly $170 billion in direct costs every year, with losses of both productivity and wages. In 2009, the average expense for each medically-consulted injury averaged more than $36,000, and the cost for each fatality was well over $1.3 million.
In addition to being hurt on the job, injured employees usually lose a substantial amount of time at work during their therapeutic and rehabilitation processes, seeking medical care and staying home to heal. While many on-the-job injuries involve temporary disability, some workers suffer permanent partial disability or total disability, losing their capacity to retain their job. Younger males, 25 years and under tend to have the highest risk for a workplace injury, usually because they are typically employed in high risk positions that require work long hours.
Steps to Take
The injured employee should take specific steps whenever hurt on the job, losing the capacity to perform work duties. These steps include:
- Notifying the employer as quickly as possible after the incident
- Seek immediate medical attention and follow all the recommendations of the healing care plan prescribed by the doctor
- Maintain accurate records of all ongoing expenses including the total amount of lost time at work
- Avoid speaking to insurance companies without legal representation
- Hire a skilled personal injury attorney to assist in filing a claim, and to provide legal options on maximizing the amount of recompense deserved by the injured employee
It is often best to follow the advice of a skilled attorney that specializes in on-the-job injuries, even in cases where the employee was only minimally injured. The lawyer will take all necessary steps to protect the rights of the injured party.
Seeking Financial Compensation
While workers compensation claims are designed to provide adequate recompense for the injuries occurring on the job, the coverage never compensates injured employees for their pain, discomfort, suffering and mental anguish. In fact, the compensation program is designed to only provide specific benefits that include:
- Funds to cover medical expenses and hospitalization
- Payment to recoup loss of earnings whether partial, total, permanent or temporary
- Money for vocational rehabilitation when the employee’s injuries restrict them from returning to their original position
Sometimes, on-the-job accidents are the result of an employer’s blatant disregard of safety regulations mandated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). When a personal injury attorney can prove that the property owner, employer, supervisor or management acted with intentional, reckless wrongdoing or negligence, the injured employee can file a lawsuit for additional recompense.
Sometimes, employers put profits ahead of workforce safety in their ability to perform their duties quickly and cheaply, creating a dangerous work environment. In other incidences, third party individuals can be held financially accountable for causing the employee’s injuries. This might be the result of equipment defects, defective materials, improper installation of equipment, and improper containment of hazardous materials leading to exposure or injuries on the job caused by individuals not working for the employee’s company.