Work in an office? Think work accidents can’t happen to you? Think again.
Work accidents can occur in any industry. They don’t only happen in manual labor positions or near heavy machinery.
But, make no mistake. Any work accident can be costly and devastating. Work accidents can cause you to be unable to work, result in medical expenses, and/or mental health issues. Work accidents can also mean needing to go to court, which means legal fees and time spent away from family, work, and your favorite activities.
When a work accident occurs, you should consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. Especially, if the injury you sustained is severe enough to send you to the hospital.
It can be uncomfortable filing these claims, especially, if you like the company you work for. But, there are certain legal protections in place to ensure that you can retain your job while getting the compensation you deserve.
Even if a workplace accident seemed to be “your fault” you may still be able to seek out legal recourse. No matter whose fault the accident may be, your employer may fight the claim.
Read on to find out more about the most common work accidents.
Work Accidents: Common Types and What to Do After
In 2017, nonconstruction laborers filed the most workers’ compensation claims. Truck drivers, custodial workers, and nursing assistants claimed the other top spots for workers’ compensation claims.
Worker’s compensation is an insurance policy all employers are required to carry if they employ workers. It covers medical bills, lost wages, and death benefits in case an employee is injured or killed on the job.
Workers’ compensation also protects your employer. If an employer has workers’ compensation it means that an employee is unable to file a lawsuit against the employer for damages. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
To file a workers’ compensation the illness or injury has to be directly related to a workplace-related condition. This means that your injury must have occurred for the benefit of employment or while on the job site.
Explore the following common work accidents that could occur at work and what you should do if it happens to you.
1. Physical Overexertion
Overexertion occurs in a number of ways. It can occur when a worker is lowering or lifting up an object. It can also occur when someone is doing a repetitive task such as kneeling.
However, overexertion can also take place while sitting at a desk. For example, typing repetitively and for long periods of time can result in a workplace injury like carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include tingling and numbness in the hand. It is caused by a compressed nerve in the wrist.
Physical overexertion can happen for many reasons. One may be that the employee is not taking regular breaks. The employee may also be exhausted or distracted on the day of the injury.
2. Object and Equipment Injuries
Object and equipment injuries are common and can occur in nearly every industry. These injuries occur when an object or piece of equipment is involved in an injury on the job.
For example, one can be struck by a piece of equipment or compressed by it. These injuries also occur when workplace structures fall or collapse.
These injuries can even occur in an office setting. For example, a file cabinet or shelf may fall over, striking an employee.
3. Trips, Slips, and Falls
Trips, slips, and falls are a common workplace injury. Virtually any business is at risk for trips, slips, and falls resulting in workers’ compensation claims.
These accidents can occur in a variety of ways. A worker may fall after someone recently cleaned the floors. Another way this type of work accident could occur is if someone trips over a cord or a piece of equipment. To prevent these claims and injuries, it’s essential to keep all job site environments clean and free of clutter.
4. Auto/Vehicle Accidents
Some companies require their workers to use company vehicles. Other organizations may require workers to use their own vehicles on a work trip. Both of these types of accidents, however, can result in a workers’ compensation claim.
To prevent auto accidents on the job, it’s essential to avoid distracted driving. For example, you shouldn’t be talking on your phone or eating while driving. You should also avoid talking with other passengers or grooming while driving.
If an auto accident does occur while on the job, you still have certain rights and protections. Make sure to discuss with your employer any auto insurance you may need for your position. You may come to find that you need commercial auto insurance if you regularly use your own vehicle while on the job for job-related tasks.
Operating machinery on the job could also result in injury or death. For example, your job may require you to operate heavy machineries such as a forklift or a crane. If you are injured while operating a vehicle at work, then you could be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Responding Appropriately to Work Accidents
Rectifying work accidents requires a proper response. Work accidents need to be reported within a certain timeframe to your employer depending on the state you live. A workers’ compensation claim also needs to be filled in a timely manner depending on the state’s guidelines.
Keep in mind, that workers’ compensation insurance companies and employers routinely deny these claims. Even if the workplace accident “clearly” meets the criteria, they may find a way to explain the accident in another manner to deny it. For this reason, it’s recommended that you obtain legal counsel.
Securing a lawyer will help you to better navigate the claims process. A lawyer will also be able to protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Even though getting a lawyer may seem costly, doing so can enable you to win your workers’ compensation claim.
Need legal representation to assist in your workers’ compensation claim? Contact us today to schedule a consultation.