Categories of Work-Related Injuries
Most employers go out of their way to ensure that workers are safe at all times. However, despite extensive efforts to avoid work-related accidents, millions of employees are hurt while performing job-relative activities every year.
While most work-related injuries are minor, others are severe and require the injured worker to seek medical attention, take time off from work, and file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Getting workers’ comp benefits is usually a simple process but it can get very complicated if your employer disagrees that the injury occurred at work or the insurer declines to pay benefits. In this situation, your best bet is to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer for help.
Different Types of Work-Related Injuries
When thinking of work-related injuries, jobs in construction and other labor-intensive work might come to mind, but accidents can happen in offices as well. Most of these can be categorized into three main types: compensable injuries, occupational illnesses, and issues related to mental health. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the injury or illness, workers might be able to opt for workers’ comp benefits.
A compensable injury is one that occurs directly from an accident at the workplace while a worker is performing normal work-related activities. Assuming that the worker in question is an “employee” and the injury did, in fact, occur at work or while performing duties expected of him or her, the worker qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits.
Some of the most common compensable workplace injuries are:
Slips and Falls
While it might seem funny to think about someone at work slipping and falling, it is no laughing matter. Most of the consequences of these workplace accidents are minor but some can lead to severe injuries. A slip-and-fall incident can even be fatal in extreme cases.
Cuts, Bruises, and Puncture Wounds
If you work in an office environment, you could get a paper cut that can easily be dealt with, but workers who work with heavy machinery and other dangerous tools are at far greater risk.
Muscle Strains and Sprains
Muscle strains and sprains are more common at different types of workplaces than one might think. Anyone who regularly lifts even light items on the job is susceptible to this type of injury. Back and neck strains particularly stand out in this type of work-related injury.
Injuries from Falling Objects
Both light and heavy objects are often shelved above head level not just in warehouses but also in offices. Often, these objects are not placed safely and inevitably fall, hurting anyone unfortunate enough to be standing right below them.
Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) slowly causes damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves from repetitive motions such as typing or assembly line work. This workplace injury can lead to serious issues such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you have suffered any of these (or other) compensable injuries that require substantial medical care and time off from work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You should present your case to a qualified attorney as soon as possible to know what your options are.
Being injured physically at work is much more common than developing an illness because of work-related activities, but this does happen. Some of the workers most susceptible to this include those who work in healthcare, the service industry, and industries that regularly deal with toxic chemicals.
Common Occupational Illnesses Include:
Occupational dermatitis refers to skin inflammation that comes about from contact with allergens or irritants. Prolonged exposure to detergents or industrial chemicals is often to blame.
Occupational asthma is caused by overexposure to inhaled irritants while working. This occupational illness is often reversible, but not always. Some workers develop this condition to such an extent that permanent damage results.
Hearing loss might seem more physical than an illness, but it is considered to be an occupational illness or disease. Workers who labor around sound levels above 85 decibels should be provided with proper protective gear. Unfortunately, many employers fail to do this and some workers end up with permanent hearing loss.
Issues Related to Mental Health
When mental health issues are severe, they can have an enormous impact on how workers perform their duties and even if they are able to do so at all. But can mental health issues qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits?
Mental health issues may be covered by workers comp if it can be established that the condition is severe and that it was caused by job-related activities. However, proving this is not easy or straightforward, so the assistance of a capable workers’ comp attorney is essential.
Some of the mental health issues that might be considered for workers’ comp benefits include:
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop as a result of a traumatic event. People suffering from this condition often have invasive thoughts about the incident, anxiety, and flashbacks that get in the way of leading a normal life.
Most employees are not exposed to situations that can lead to PTSD. However, jobs associated with high-risk duties such as those performed by police officers and firefighters can lead to individuals developing this condition.
Workers’ comp benefits are awarded based on a permanent disability rating, which is not easy to assess for mental conditions. This means that claims based on mental health conditions are far more complex than those based on physical injuries. Consulting an attorney is the right thing to do in this situation so that you can learn whether filing a workers’ compensation claim is the best course of action or not.
Contact Us for a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Workers’ comp claims usually do not require assistance from an attorney, but when insurers make things difficult for injured workers, it is best to have one by your side.
If you’ve experienced a work-related injury or illness that limits your ability to work, you most likely have a valid workers’ comp claim. We will go out of our way to prove that this is the case and get you the benefits you deserve.
To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact the Law Office of Robert E Frawley at (617) 523-2929.