What Are the Most Common Workplace Injuries?
Millions of workplace injuries occur each year in the U.S. Even if you follow all safety protocols, you could be injured while on the job due to circumstances beyond your control. If you suffer a workplace injury, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer. Workers’ compensation law firms serving Baltimore have experience seeking compensation for all types of workplace injuries, including the following.
Overexertion and Bodily Reaction Injuries
Overexertion and bodily reaction are consistently the top causes of workplace injury. Overexertion injuries may be caused by lifting, pushing, pulling, throwing, holding, or carrying motions. Musculoskeletal injuries are often sustained and commonly affect the back, shoulders, knees, ankles, or multiple body parts at once. For example, a nurse may strain her back while lifting a patient. Bodily reaction injuries occur when a worker slips or trips but does not fall, which can cause muscle injuries and trauma.
A worker may slip on a wet floor, trip over an object on the ground, or fall from a height, such as from a ladder, roof, stairway, or platform. Faulty equipment or machinery may be to blame for some falls. As a workers’ compensation attorney will attest, these types of injuries are incredibly common.
Injuries Caused by Equipment or Objects
Factory workers and those who operate heavy equipment are at risk of being struck by, entangled in, or otherwise harmed by machinery. Numerous workplace injuries are also caused by falling objects, such as a tool being dropped from above. Such accidents commonly result in serious head injuries, which may necessitate filing a temporary or permanent disability claim with the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Police officers are often injured by violent acts while in the line of duty. Even office politics and arguments have been known to escalate into attacks that cause injury.
Transportation Accident Injuries
Employees who drive for business purposes, whether in company cars or their own vehicles, are often involved in auto accidents. If a behind-the-wheel injury was sustained while on the clock, a workers’ compensation attorney can help the victim receive adequate compensation to cover medical bills and days away from work.
The Workers’ Compensation Claims Process Step-by-Step
If you are injured on the job, the steps you take after the injury may determine your ability to claim compensation. It’s important to closely follow the correct procedures are you file a claim, including finding a workers’ comp lawyer in Baltimore to help you with your case. Follow these steps to protect your rights and preserve your ability to collect compensation for your injury.
Report Your Injury
It is imperative to report any injury that occurs at work to your supervisor right away, including acute injuries, occupational diseases, and cumulative-trauma injuries. Be very clear with your supervisor that your injury is specifically related to work, and ensure that he or she creates an official accident report. If your supervisor refuses to prepare a report or doesn’t include all of the relevant details in the report, write to him or her an official letter documenting the injury. If you can get your supervisor to sign something acknowledging receipt of the letter, it can be helpful to your workers’ compensation lawyer, but if not, simply keep a copy of the letter and a note of when you delivered it. If a report was prepared, get a copy.
See a Doctor
A doctor should evaluate you as soon as possible. Your company may have a preferred physician, but you are entitled to choose your own doctor under Maryland law. Be very clear in explaining your injury to your doctor, specifically stating that it was a work injury. Follow your medical instructions precisely, and request notes if your doctor recommends that you don’t work or avoid certain activities. All bills should be sent to your employer or your employer’s insurance company. Your workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand where your bills should go.
Consult Your Lawyer
Stay in contact with your workers’ compensation attorney throughout the claims process. He or she will walk you through all of the necessary steps to achieving a successful claim. Don’t discuss your case with anyone at work, and talk to your lawyer if you are contacted by an insurance company.
Understanding Phantom Pain
If a serious car accident injury leads to an amputation, then you may experience phantom pain. Your car accident lawyer in Baltimore will consider your phantom pain alongside the other circumstances of your accident when seeking damages on your behalf. Here is a closer look at what you need to know about phantom pain.
After an amputation, phantom pain is pain that feels like it is coming from the limb that has been amputated. It is not something that occurs in your head but rather the result of stimuli from your spinal cord and brain. The symptoms can be severe and difficult to manage, and for some people, they can last indefinitely. Your car accident attorney will factor the severity of your phantom pain and your doctor’s prognosis to decide what your future medical costs may be, as well what kind of pain and suffering damages to pursue from the negligent party.
How the SSA Reviews Medical Evidence
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is legally required to have medical evidence of an eligible impairment before granting benefits to a claimant. Proving the existence of a qualifying impairment can be a long and complex process. Talk to an attorney in Baltimore who handles disability claims to avoid costly mistakes in the application process. For a thorough introduction to medical evidence, watch this featured video.
These SSA representatives explain what claimants can expect from the evaluation of medical evidence for physical and mental health impairments. You’ll learn how the state agency reviews information provided by the field office. This information includes medical records, lab test results, doctor’s notes, and treatments. If the state agency doesn’t have enough evidence to make a final determination, the claimant may be required to have another medical exam. The doctor who performs the exam must then submit a medical source statement, which is a professional opinion about the claimant’s functional capacity.
Horseplay in the Workplace: A Look at Workers’ Comp
Employees in Baltimore can rely on workers’ comp law to protect them in the event of a job-related injury or illness. However, there are a few gray areas, such as injuries that result from horseplay in the workplace. Because of the risk that your claim would be denied, you should contact a workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible after becoming injured in a horseplay-related incident.
Watch this video to hear more about applicable workers’ comp issues. You’ll learn that multiple factors may be considered before denying or approving the claim, such as the nature of the injuries, the role of the injured worker in the incident, and the history and culture of the workplace. If your workers’ comp claim is denied based on willful misconduct, your attorney may file an appeal. Another alternative is filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other employees.
Steps to Take When You Get Injured at Work
Employees have rights, but sometimes their inaction can cause those rights to be forfeited. One example is workers’ comp claims. In Baltimore, workers’ comp law allows for the rejection of claims if they are filed past a certain deadline. You can protect your rights by acting quickly. As soon as a work-related injury occurs, you should notify your supervisor that you must leave work to seek medical attention . You have the right to visit a doctor of your choosing. It isn’t necessary to restrict your medical care to employer-approved doctors.
At the hospital, inform every healthcare provider who evaluates and treats you that your injury is work-related. Ask that your medical records reflect this fact. Save all documents pertaining to your medical care, including co-pay receipts and discharge instructions. You should file a formal workers’ comp insurance claim soon after receiving medical care. Then, call a lawyer who can effectively advocate on your behalf. Your attorney can help you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to, and appeal your claim if necessary.
A Closer Look at Violence in Healthcare Settings
Violence can happen at any workplace, but healthcare workers have a greater risk than most. They are the most assaulted workers in the country—in fact, 60% of assaults in the workplace happen to healthcare workers. If you are the victim of an assault at work, consult a workers’ compensation attorney in Baltimore to find out what your rights are. In addition to providing you with workers’ compensation, you may be entitled to other damages if your employer failed to take the necessary steps to create a safe environment.
Why is violence so pervasive in healthcare?
There are many risk factors that contribute to violence in the healthcare setting. One is the emotionally charged environment in healthcare, particularly when patients and their loved ones are experiencing life or death emergencies. Patients may also come in with mental health issues and maybe using drugs that can impact their thinking and their behavior. Increased demand on the healthcare system can further exacerbate the stress of the workplace and make the environment even more volatile.
Who is most at risk for violence?
Women are most at risk for being the victims of workplace violence. Approximately 80% of healthcare workers who take time off from work for injuries and illnesses that occur because of violence at work are women. Across all industries, women account for only 39% of workplace violence injuries. Women also make up the majority of the healthcare workforce, which partially accounts for why they are so frequently the targets of violence.
What should you do if you are the victim of workplace violence?
After an incident of workplace violence, report the assault immediately. In addition to working with your employer to address the violence, consider talking to a workers’ compensation attorney or a personal injury lawyer. You may need long-term medical care for both physical and psychological trauma that may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, and you may be eligible to receive other damages if your employer’s negligence contributed to the violent incident.
Could I Have a Concussion?
Concussions are a common car accident injury that can lead to problems that may not always be immediately obvious. Because concussions can cause symptoms that can last indefinitely without treatment, it is important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. If you are in a car accident in Baltimore and believe that you could have a concussion or another injury, speak to an accident attorney to find out what your rights are for compensation. If you experience any of the symptoms of a concussion, visit the emergency room as soon as possible.
Because concussions are caused by impacts to the head, headaches are a common symptom. Headaches caused by concussions can be dull and aching, or they may be severe. Some people experience a feeling of pressure in their heads more than a traditional kind of headache pain. Any time you have a headache or pressure in your skull after an impact to the head, you should be evaluated to see if you have a brain injury like a concussion.
With a concussion, many people describe feeling dazed, confused, or as through they are walking around in a fog. They may also have amnesia about the car accident and the events immediately before and after it. Speech may be slurred, and they may give delayed responses in conversations. These problems can persist after a concussion and turn into long-term concentration problems and memory issues.
After a concussion, many people experience uncharacteristic irritability, excessive crying, depression, and sleep disturbances. Personality changes may also occur. These symptoms frequently don’t appear immediately after the car accident injury but in the days that follow, and they can persist well into the future. For some people, these symptoms are the only ones that are experienced. After a head injury, any psychological or behavioral changes should be reported to a doctor, who can determine if an injury such as a concussion is to blame.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover Mental Health Injuries?
Mental health injuries that occur at work can be as devastating as physical ones, but are you eligible to receive workers’ compensation for them? In Baltimore, workers’ comp law generally does allow this kind of coverage, but you may need an attorney to help you make your claim.
Watch this video to learn more about workers’ compensation and mental health injuries. If you experience post-traumatic stress disorder or depression because of something that happens on the job, you will need to consult your state’s workers’ comp laws to find out what your rights are. In Maryland, if the mental health injury was sustained at work, you are generally entitled to workers’ comp. These cases are sometimes difficult to prove, so it is helpful to have an attorney fighting for your rights.
Preventing Back Injuries at Work
One of the most common causes for declining work productivity and missed work days is back pain. Workers’ comp law allows Baltimore employees to receive workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained while on the job , but avoiding these injuries is certainly preferable. Watch this featured video to learn how you can protect your back while lifting heavy items.
This video suggests estimating the weight of the item and identifying the best gripping areas before you try to lift it. You should also make sure you have a clear walking path to the item’s destination. If the item is too heavy or bulky, it’s a good idea to ask someone else to help you. Or, use a mechanical lifting aid. Keep the item close to your body as you lift and carry it. And remember to contact a workers’ comp attorney promptly if you do become injured and you have concerns about your rights under workers’ comp law.