Injuries are more common than you may have thought at workplaces all over the country. Many of these are relatively minor, but may still mean taking time off work to get effective treatment.
This can become an expensive experience for the injured worker as there is always a worry that a claim for workers’ compensation is rejected, which could mean the only way to recover the expense of a workplace injury is through a lengthy appeal.
The worst case scenario is a debilitating injury that prevents a return to any kind of meaningful employment. But how often does this happen? What are the most common workplace injuries that might lead to a WC claim?
Common Injuries at Work
Hundreds of workers are injured somewhere every day, even when safety measures are in place and training has been provided. Many of these injuries as well as industrial illnesses eventually result in workers’ compensation claims.
The most common injuries at work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are sprains, strains and tears. They amount to nearly 50% of all reported injuries. Most of this category of injury has happened because the employee has overstretched their capabilities.
Injuries to the shoulders are particularly significant because they result in more time off work on average than any other injury. The next most common injuries are to the back. Many of these injuries also require a long time recovering at home.
Of course, the full range of potential workplace injuries is huge and the type of workplace does have a lot to do with the sort of injuries that are most likely to happen.
For example, food service workers are more likely to suffer from burns and scalds than other workers, while office workers may be more likely to suffer from repetitive strain injuries caused by constant use of their computer equipment.
How Injuries Affect a Workers’ Comp. Claim
Workers compensation is a no-fault insurance scheme, so that even if a trained worker who is given sufficient safety gear and equipment has an accident which was at least partly their fault, this doesn’t mean that a workers’ compensation claim won’t be successful.
Workers’ compensation is intended to pay for all medical treatment, past, present and future as long as it is relevant to an injury that has occurred at work or while an employee was carrying out a job for their employer.
In some states, mental illness and stress related injuries are excluded and cannot be claimed for, but in most states, all physical injuries as they have genuinely occurred in the course of employment and have not been deliberately self-inflicted are covered by workers’ compensation.
Just because an accident has happened does not guarantee the success of a claim. There is a procedure to follow, however minor or serious the injury, and without sufficient documentation, a claim may be denied or rejected by the insurance company that provided workers’ comp. cover for your employer.
Importance of an Attorney
In many cases, an attorney is not strictly necessary to file a claim for workers’ compensation. However, the more serious the injury, the more likely the compensation payment will be scrutinized by the insurer as the amount involved will be higher.
If the injury is particularly serious, it is sensible to get legal help from a workers’ compensation attorney. If the claim is denied for any reason, then hiring an attorney is almost a necessity because of the complexity of the appeals process.