Pat Jacobs - Workplace Injury
If you’ve been injured in the workplace, you’ve probably been told that the only compensation you can receive will come from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Although this is the general rule, there are many exceptions—situations in which you may be able to sue for damages caused by your injuries.
- If you were injured by a defective product, you might be able to bring a products liability action against the manufacturer of the product.
- If you were injured by a toxic substance, you might be able to bring a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of that substance.
- If you were injured because of your employer’s intentional or egregious conduct, you might be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
- If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you might be able to sue your employer in civil court or collect money from a state fund.
- If a third party caused your injury, you might be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the person.
10 Most Common Workplace Injuries
Statistics tell us that serious workplace injuries are far too common. In 2010, over 4,500 American workers were killed on the job while millions more suffered serious non-fatal injuries. Every day in America, 12 people go to work and never come home, Hilda Solis, the Secretary of Labor wrote in a blog entry. Every year in America, 3.3 million people suffer a workplace injury from which they may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy
Here are the top 10 reported work-related injuries:
10.On the Job Violent Acts- Attacks caused by office politics and other arguments have led to serious physical injuries.
9.Repetitive Motion Injuries- This type of workplace injury is one of those less obvious but definitely harmful ones in the long run. Repetitive motions such as typing and using the computer can strain muscles and tendons causing back pain, vision problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome
8.Machine Entanglement- This type of injury usually occurs in a factory where heavy equipment and machinery are used. Clothing, shoes, fingers and hair become dangerous near everyday equipment when no precaution is taken. Protective equipment is necessary to avoid these incidents.
7.Vehicle Accidents" Employees who drive for business purposes are often injured in motor vehicle accidents, some of which can be fatal.
6.Walking Into Injuries- This happens when a person accidentally runs into concrete objects such as walls, doors, cabinets, glass windows, table, chairs etc. Head, knee, neck, and foot injuries are common results. Employer focus on keeping the work environment free from hazards are key to preventing these types of injuries.
5.Falling Object Injuries- Objects that fall from shelves or dropped by another person can cause very serious injuries. Head injuries are a common result of this type of accident. Employer focus on keeping the work environment free from hazards are key to preventing these types of injuries. Of course, proper personal protection gear usage, such as a hard hat, can be instrumental in keeping the employee safe.
4.Reaction Injuries- These are injuries caused by slipping and tripping without falling. These incidents can cause muscle injuries, body trauma, and a variety of other medical issues.
3.Falling from Heights- This type of fall happens from an elevated area such as roofs, ladders, and stairways. They can be caused by slip and fall accidents or due to faulty equipment. These types of accidents can be reduced by the use of proper personal protection gear and training.
2.Slipping/Tripping" The number 2 cause of workplace injuries, this pertains to falls on wet and slippery floors or trips over something lying on the floor. Employers need to have safety guidelines to ensure spills are promptly cleaned and no debris is present which can be dangerous.
1.Overexertion Injuries- This includes injuries related to pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, and throwing activities at work.
Training, diligence and proper safety equipment are instrumental elements to reducing workplace injuries but when it comes to bringing workers home safe, it is not enough. Education is what takes workplace safety to the next level.
Workers' Compensation - FAQ
Who Needs a Workers Compensation Policy?
If a business employs workers on a regular, casual or contract basis, it must obtain a workers' compensation insurance policy. All West Virginia employers have a legal obligation to provide their employees with a safe workplace and must purchase insurance to provide compensation to workers who are injured in the course of their work regardless of who is at fault.
How Do I File for My Workers Compensation Benefits?
Filing a workers' compensation claim is easy. You, your employer or the physician who treated you can report the injury to the West Virginia Office of Workers' Compensation, which administers the workmen's compensation law.
The West Virginia Office of Workers Compensation will make a report to your employer's insurance carrier. The carrier then has a short period of time, usually ten to thirty days, within which to decide if the claim is valid. If accepted, the doctor's fees and any disability payments are paid according to a fee schedule set by West Virginia state.
If you are temporarily unable to work due to the injury, you'll begin receiving checks to cover your wage loss within 15 days from your injury after your claim has been approved. Your employer will notify the insurance company to discontinue the wage-replacement checks as soon as you recover and return to work.
What Does My Workers Compensation Policy Cover?
Depending on the individual claim and the severity of your injury, you may be eligible for all or some of the following payments:
- Weekly benefits
- Medical or related treatment
- Occupational rehabilitation services
- Ambulance service
- Hospital treatment
- Travel expenses to attend appointments for medical and other treatment
- Lump sums for permanent impairment
- Lump sums for pain and suffering
- Vocational re-education and retraining, work aids and equipment and/or work trials
- When the injury results in the death of the worker, the dependent family members may be eligible for death benefits and/or funeral expenses