Even a slight accident at work can turn your life topsy-turvy for a while, so just imagine what a severe injury can do. The National Safety Council says that every seven seconds, a worker is injured. In 2017, about 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries were reported, and a total of 5,147 workers died from a work-related injury in the U.S. These numbers indicate that work injuries are all too common and anyone is prone to an accident at work. You have the right to make a claim for an injury, and if there has been a fatality, your loved ones also have the right to make a claim and receive compensation. The laws designed to protect employees are strict, and you can get maximum compensation for a severe injury.
Injured employees often have a lot of questions about compensation, whether they’re entitled to it, and what to expect. This quick read will help you understand what compensation entails and how it will help you.
First of all, it’s important that you know what is considered a severe injury. To clarify this, there is a comprehensive definition of what accounts for a severe injury. Legally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a body of the United States Department of Labor, clearly state that all employers must report a severe injury that falls into the category of amputation, inpatient hospitalization, or loss of an eye.
Amputation: Amputation is defined by OSHA as the loss of all or part of a limb or other external body part through trauma. This includes amputations with or without bone loss, amputations of body parts that have been reattached and medical amputations caused by irreparable damage, and. Employers should always rely on a health care professional’s diagnosis, If and when there is one available. An average of seven amputations each day is reported to OSHA, and that’s only from 26 states. The number is said to be higher; different sources estimate that as many as 29 workplace amputations happen daily.
Inpatient hospitalization: This is the formal admission to the inpatient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment. Treatment in an emergency ward is not reportable.
Injuries with the highest incurred costs on average include amputations, dislocations, electrical shock, multiple trauma injuries (such as multiple broken bones), and being crushed (such as being between objects or machinery, etc.).
A recent example
Some industries are more prone to witness workplace injuries than others. For instance, the construction industry tends to rank high on any list. Also on the list of avoidable accidents are manufacturing and production line work, farming and agriculture, waste and recycling, transportation and storage, and military service.
In fact, a recent case involving the military came to light when 3M Company, one of the largest companies in the United States, was sued by U.S. veterans. A whistleblower lawsuit in 2018 against 3M revealed accusations that 3M had sold earplugs to the United States Military that the company knew were defective.
That case was resolved with a $9.1 million settlement. But each service person has their own case against the company since that settlement was only between 3M Company and the U.S. government. You can read more about these cases so that you have a proper understanding of how you can claim compensation with the help of a competent attorney and what you can expect to receive as compensation. In work-related injuries and the cases brought forward, time is of the essence, so it’s crucial that you reach out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury.
What steps should you take?
The first thing to do is to find legal representation, as it will have a heavy impact on your claim. Simply put, it is the difference between winning and losing a case. The general rule is that your claim should be made within three years of your accident.
Types of compensation
Medical care: This covers payment for the cost of treating workers for an occupational illness or injury. It will include physician visits, treatments, nursing care, medicines, medical tests, physical therapy and medical equipment—such as a wheelchair—if needed.
Disability: While you cannot work—and are considered medically disabled—you are entitled to disability benefits, which is meant to replace a part of what you normally earn. Each disability is classified into one of these categories:
- Temporary total: When the person is unable to work for a short period of time and disabled from the injury.
- Temporary partial: A temporary and partial injury, such as a broken arm.
- Permanent total: A permanent injury that has no cure. The person cannot receive the same income as before the injury.
- Permanent partial: A partial injury that is permanent, such as hearing loss, for example.
Death: If a death is proven to be work-related, benefits are paid to the worker’s spouse, children of minor age, and other dependents, if applicable. Burial costs are also covered.
The actual amount you will receive differs from state to state. The main objective of your case will be to demonstrate that your accident was caused by negligence on the part of your employer or because of breached health and safety regulations. As a result, you should be compensated for the damages you have suffered. It will be up to your attorney to prove your case, so expect to be collecting enough evidence to show your workplace was responsible for the accident in one way or another. The evidence you present will show how much harm has been caused by the accident, and that your workplace is to be held responsible.
Telling your story is not enough. You must take legal action to get maximum compensation. It’s difficult enough to have suffered a severe injury without also worrying about how you will live after the injury, and how you will be able to pay for medical bills and other expenses. A lawyer representing you will have your best interests at heart and will get you the compensation due to you.