Workplace injuries happen, no matter how hard you or your coworkers may try to avoid them. They can lead to lost time on the job, medical bills, and an inability to work in severe cases. Thankfully, workers’ compensation can help cover these expenses when the injury takes place in the workplace. There are a few exceptions to this, which we will explore below. All states require businesses to have workers’ compensation insurance, though the details will vary from state to state. Employees must remember that they are entitled to certain benefits and can take action after being injured on the job. This article will dive into the following topics surrounding workers’ compensation and workplace injuries:
- What is workers’ compensation?
- Which workplace injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation?
- What are the most common workplace injuries?
- What should you do after a work-related injury?
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation, sometimes referred to as simply workers’ comp, is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who are injured on the job in exchange for the employee’s right to sue their employer for the tort of negligence. It doesn’t matter what type of injury you have sustained. Whether it’s a mental or physical injury, you are still eligible for this compensation. Workers should be informed of the steps they need to take after a workplace injury, including reporting the injury and keeping a detailed record of missed workdays, travel, and out-of-pocket expenses.
Workplace Injuries Eligible For Workers’ Compensation
The short answer is that most injuries that occur on the job are eligible for workers’ compensation. The state of Minnesota defines a work-related injury as “any condition that is caused, aggravated or accelerated by employment activities. This includes traumatic injuries, gradual injuries or occupational diseases.” To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the only two basic requirements are that you are an employee of a company with workers’ comp insurance and that you were injured at work as a result of job-related duties. Here are a few examples of injuries that would make workers eligible for compensation:
- Straining your back by lifting.
- Getting a finger caught in a machine.
- Falling on a slippery floor.
- Getting hit by another driver.
- Becoming sick from unhealthy conditions on the job, such as exposure to hazardous substances or toxic fumes.
- If you do repetitive work like typing or operating a cash register, that leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Chronic illnesses resulting from workplace conditions.
- Mental illness caused by a work situation.
- A car accident that takes place while you’re leaving work to pick up office supplies.
- Attending a work event and falling down the stairs.
Common Workplace Injuries
There are several common workplace injuries that would be eligible for workers’ comp. Industries such as construction are prone to work-related injuries because of the sometimes dangerous environment employees have to work under and the nature of the machinery they use. But not all workplace injuries are one-time, on-the-job accidents. Carpal tunnel is actually one of the most common workplace injuries, and it results from desk work or repetitive hand and wrist movements. The following are the most common work-related injuries that can occur.
Slip and Fall
Slipping and falling is one of the most common injuries across industries because it can happen to anyone. Whether you work in an office, a warehouse, or a factory, there’s always a risk of slipping on a wet surface. If proper caution signs are not present, the employer can be held responsible for this workplace injury.
Struck by Objects
Another common work-related injury is being struck by moving objects, including falling objects, building materials, tools, and even moving machinery. Being struck by an object, especially heavy ones, can be extremely dangerous, so workplaces should post signs requiring hardhats and giving employees warning of hazardous areas. Stationary objects also pose a threat, especially when employees are not paying attention to their surroundings.
Repetitive Motion Injuries
As mentioned, carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive motion injuries can result from too much typing and mouse usage to assembly line workers performing the same motion repeatedly. The cumulative trauma these motions have on the body can cause severe injuries like nerve damage. Workplaces need to provide ergonomic equipment and allow for frequent breaks to stop this from happening.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Unsurprisingly, motor vehicle accidents make up a large percentage of workplace injuries. Factors like weather, equipment issues, fatigue, and negligent driving all contribute to vehicle accidents. This particular work-related injury poses a more significant threat to businesses that use trucks or car fleets. Hence, they need to ensure driver safety and make sure proper procedures are followed.
What to Do After a Work-Related Injury
So what happens if you do get injured at work? Now that you know any injury that occurs at work, unless it’s the result of horseplay or is self-inflicted, is covered by workers’ compensation, you will need to know how to report an injury to receive your benefits. Many people decide to hire a personal injury lawyer to help them with the process and ensure all the necessary paperwork is filled out. Unfortunately, there are many loopholes when it comes to workers’ comp, so you’ll need to ensure you follow all of the correct steps when filing a claim. Here are the steps to take after a work-related injury:
- Report the injury at work.
- Inform your healthcare provider that the injury is work-related.
- Follow all the steps from your doctor.
- Provide your employer with a written notice.
- Record any missed days of work, travel, and out-of-pocket expenses.
- Find a workers’ compensation attorney to help you.
When a workplace injury happens, the injured needs to know that they can file for compensation and receive the support they need. Employers are responsible for providing workers’ comp insurance if an injury on the job does happen. If you are injured at work, make sure you follow the simple steps of reporting your injury and informing your healthcare provider that the accident occurred at work. A personal injury lawyer can provide crucial help in this sometimes complicated process, ensuring you get all the compensation you need to make up for medical bills and lost wages.