Nobody expects to become injured on the job, but it happens to thousands of people every year. There are many dangerous jobs out there including construction work, agricultural work, steel working, and so much more – however, even those who work in offices are injured every year. You could become injured when you are driving to a location on work time. No matter how your workplace accident occurs, it is helpful to have an attorney on your side through it all.
Common Types of Work Injuries
The U.S. Department of Labor collects information every year concerning injuries in the workplace. According to their research, some of the most common types of work-related injuries include:
- Overextension: This is typically referred to as one of the most common workplace injuries. When a worker pulls, pushes, or lifts objects, they are at risk of overextension. As a result, they could receive sprained and torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some of the most serious injuries, like disk herniations in the back, may occur.
- Repetitive Motion: Repetitive motion injuries are caused by repeatedly making the same motions in the workplace, such as those that have jobs that involve typing. These injuries can affect the shoulder and neck, wrists, and even a person’s vision. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common repetitive motion injuries.
- Slip and Falls: These injuries usually occur when debris or fluids are left on the floor. They can result in serious injuries like those to the head, bone fractures, and torn ligaments.
- Falling Objects: Especially in the construction workplace, falling objects can cause trauma. Objects may fall from product shelves, ladders, forklifts, and more. This could result in injuries to the head, face, neck, and feet.
- Moving Vehicle Accidents: If a worker must drive a company vehicle like a truck, car, or van during work, they are at risk of moving vehicle accidents. They can occur anywhere, including on highways or in a parking lot.
What to do After an Accident
There are some steps that you can take to protect your legal rights after an accident in the workplace. The first thing that you should always do is receive medical attention, especially if it is an emergency. If an employer suggests a doctor to you and you are not happy with the outcome, you may want to ask the employer if you can see another doctor. In most cases, you will be entitled to a second opinion even if you have to pay for it yourself. Depending on the extent of your injuries, it may be worth it!
You should always make an accident report – not only for your employer to investigate the situation that caused your accident, but also to assert your rights as soon as possible. This could work as a preventative measure to save the health of other employees in the future as well as protect you. The employer must then take measures to file a workers’ compensation claim with their insurance company on your behalf. When you report the injury, this can take place. (1)
No matter who was at-fault for your injury, you will be eligible for workers’ compensation under the laws. For instance, what should you expect if your employer failed to provide you with the correct equipment for a job and you fell? Or what if a third party left a liquid on the floor and you slipped and fell? In these situations, you will still be covered by workers’ compensation.
In fact, workers’ comp benefits will still cover you even if you have contributed to your own accident. For example, if you use a machine improperly despite your training and you are injured, you will still receive workers’ comp benefits. However, you should not expect to receive these benefits if you have inflicted the injury intentionally, if you were intoxicated, or you violated a company safety policy. You could then find that your compensation is reduced.
Damages You Can Receive
If you have been injured in the workplace and received a devastating and serious injury, you will be entitled to economic recovery. But what damages should you expect to receive? You may be experiencing a flood of bills but have no fear, because you will be covered for your injury.
- Future Medical Expenses: Are you able to prove that you will need continued medical care for your injuries? If you can show the cost of these future expenses, the judge will be able to estimate for the future and you will receive your necessary compensation
- Loss of Consortium: If you are married and received a catastrophic injury, you and your spouse may find that the affection, companionship, and help and assistance have been reduced due to your injury. Your spouse may choose to make a claim for financial recovery because of this.
- Lost Earning Capacity: These damages encompass the ability to earn money in the future. These damages will be based off of your age, life expectancy, occupation, skill, and more.
- Lost Wages: What would you have earned from the time of the injury to the time that your case is settled? Depending on what you could have earned, you may receive these damages.
- Medical Expenses: The expenses that you accrue on your journey to recovery may be included in your damages. This could include services from doctors, hospital stays, ambulance fees, and more.
- Pain and Suffering: If you have received physical pain in connection with your injury, the jury will come up with a number based on the severity of your pain and what you may experience in the future. (2)
Workers’ Compensation and More
California has a specific division that handles workers’ compensation claims known as the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). They specifically monitor the claims they receive, provide assistance, and more. (3) If you have received a work injury in California, you have a right to these benefits under the California’s Workers’ Compensation Act. However, you have an obligation to file your claim on time, which is within 30 days. Once you do this with the help of an attorney, your claim will receive a response and either an investigation will take place or your disability payments will begin.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you have been injured and began the workers’ compensation process, you may find that it is not only complicated, but there are trials along the way. Workers’ compensation claims, even though they are legitimate, will often be denied by employers or insurance carriers, which means that you will have to go through an appeals process. You do not want to face this process on your own, which is why you should have an experienced attorney on your side who understands the workers’ comp laws in California. A good attorney will be able to help you gather your medical evidence, negotiate the best settlement that works for you, and represent you at hearings. Call us today for more information on how we can help you!