According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than two million people suffer injuries while at work each year. Over five thousand of those accidents result in death. Workplace injuries are extremely common, and many are avoidable. Some are due to negligence by the employer, a co-worker, or another third party.
What is a Workplace Injury?
A workplace injury is an injury that an employee sustains on the job while performing their regular job duties. Travel-related injuries like car accidents may also qualify if the worker travels for their job.
When workers are injured on the job, they are most often eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits pay their medical bills, other therapies, and lost wages due to time off to recover.
If the employee was injured while intoxicated by drugs, they might not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Most Common Workplace Injuries
Some of the most common workplace injuries occur due to slip and fall accidents. For example, warehouse floors are often wet from accidental spills, and people get hurt if they are not cleaned up quickly. If workers use ladders or scaffolding as part of the job, these items can also lead to severe injuries.
Some of the most common workplace injuries include:
- Trips, slips, and falls.
- Lifting injuries.
- Repetitive use injuries.
- Abrasions and bruises.
- Vehicle-related accidents.
- Fire and chemical burns.
- Exposure to hazardous environments.
- Violence in the workplace.
The most common body parts hurt during workplace accidents include the back, knees, neck, and head. In dangerous environments, arms and legs may also be bruised, cut, and injured.
Top Mistakes People Make After a Workplace Injury
If you are injured in a workplace accident, you may have trouble getting benefits. Often this is due to mistakes people make after their injury. The top mistakes to avoid are:
Failing to Notify Their Employer
Many people fail to notify their employer promptly after an accident. Often, they don’t believe they are seriously hurt until later when they experience symptoms.
There are specific guidelines for notifying your employer after a workplace injury. For example, in Florida, you have 30 days to notify your employer of your accident and file a claim.
In certain situations, employees are scared to notify their employer for fear of retaliation.
Not Seeking Proper Medical Care
Another common mistake employees make after workplace accidents is failing to get the proper medical care they need. Doctor’s records and medical bills prove that you were injured and required medical care.
Sometimes, you must prove your claim by offering up your medical records. That is why getting proper care when you need it is essential.
Failing to Follow the Doctor’s Orders
If, after your injury, your doctor prescribes medication, therapies, or other restrictions and you don’t follow your doctor’s orders, you could lose your benefits. Therefore, it’s essential to see the doctor your workers’ compensation insurance company assigns you and follow all their orders.
Not Disclosing Previous Workplace Injuries
To avoid being accused of fraud, you must report any previous workplace injuries to your doctor or the adjuster if asked, or they may reject your claim. Your employer will often fill out a “first report of injury” and submit that to the insurance company.
If the WC company assigns you a case worker, be honest about your previous injuries and medical condition.
Not Reporting All Your Injuries
If you get hurt at work, for example, a slip and fall accident, and you hurt multiple parts of your body (e.g., back, hip, neck, etc.), be sure to report all your injuries to your employer and the doctor so you can be treated correctly, and your claims won’t be delayed. List all your symptoms when you report the injury, even if you think some may be minor.
Not Returning to Work After When You Are Capable
Another common mistake injured workers make is not returning to work when the doctor clears them. If you are still recovering and your employer offers you a light-duty position, consider taking it to make wages while you complete your recovery. If you find you cannot perform the required duties, let your employer know but try it first to show you are willing.
Not Fully Understanding What Constitutes a Workplace Injury
Most people understand that a workplace injury must take place while you are on the job and performing your regular job duties. If you are injured outside of those parameters, workers’ compensation will most likely not cover you.
Additionally, if you cause the accident through carelessness or being intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may not be able to claim benefits. If you hurt yourself or someone else intentionally, you will also be denied benefits.
Not Hiring the Proper Legal Representation
After a workplace accident, you may not think you need legal help, but if things get complicated and you have difficulty getting workers’ compensation insurance payments, you will be glad you did.
If you get into a legal battle with the workers’ compensation company, they will come armed with lawyers working on their behalf. Your employer may also hire an attorney to protect their legal interests. You need to have the same protection for your side.
Workers’ compensation laws are lengthy and complex, and it’s best to have someone by your side guiding you through the process to get you the benefits you deserve after a workplace injury.
Contact Adam Baron today for help with your workers’ compensation case. We have extensive experience working with clients to get the WC benefits they deserve.