According to a recent survey, 1 in 5 Americans have been injured in the workplace. Many people believe that getting injured at work is something that only occurs to those who work in construction and manufacturing, however the majority of workplace injuries are ailments that can happen in any work environment, such as slip and fall accidents, repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and musculoskeletal injuries.
The survey found the most common workplace injuries looked like:
- Falling/slipping: 31 percent
- Repetitive motion (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) : 20 percent
- Injured by machinery or struck by object: 17 percent
- Motor vehicle accident: 12 percent
- Other musculoskeletal injury (such as overexertion, lifting, back pain, etc.): 37 percent
- Workplace violence: 5 percent
- Burn (heat or chemical): 3 percent
- Other: 9 percent
All in all 21 percent of Americans say they have suffered an injury while on the job that was serious enough to warrant time off work. Since getting injured at work is such a common occurrence, every working adult should be aware of their legal options if they are injured in the workplace.
Here are three ways to get compensation if you’ve been injured at work:
- Worker’s compensation. Worker’s compensation covers employees who get injured on the job. Worker’s compensation was created so employees could gather fixed amounts of compensation without having to sue their employers. Worker’s compensation is available in most states, though you should check to see if your state’s laws, occupation, and employer all align to make worker’s compensation available to you. If you do qualify for worker’s compensation, you will most likely not be able to sue your employer in a separate civil lawsuit. You would only be able to bring a separate lawsuit against a third party that caused your accident, such as a manufacturer of faulty equipment.
- Disability. Workplace disability insurance is another option for getting compensation for a workplace injuries, for employees who have purchased private disability insurance plans. Employees who have purchased such plans can have their injuries covered even if their employers do not provide worker’s compensation. Some employers offer a disability insurance plan which are regulated by the federal government and include specific regulations that dictate the claims process. Filing the claim incorrectly could result in a denial of your claim, though you have the option to appeal the denial. It may be a good idea to have an ERISA lawyer help you file the claim to avoid any mistakes.
Sue the employer. If you don’t have access to worker’s compensation, you may be able to sue your employer for your work related injury. The path you take for suing your employer depends a great deal on the nature and cause of your injury. For instance a slip and fall at work because of a spill or poorly maintained floor could allow you to sue under premises liability law.
Suing an employer can be simple or complicated depending on the nature of your case, but either way it is always a good idea to contact a local personal injury attorney to help guide you through the process.