Nearly 3 million non-fatal workplace accidents get reported each year. How many go unreported? It’s impossible to know.
If you have a job-related injury it’s important to understand how to file a claim and ensure that you’re made whole.
Let’s take a look at 5 common accidents on the job and how you can file a claim if you’re injured.
You may not think you have a high chance of being hit by a motorized vehicle. But chances are greater than you think. Whether you get hit by your co-worker, who’s late for work, or your ankle gets run over by a forklift, you’re at risk.
You can also easily become collateral damage when a piece of a warehouse or construction equipment bumps into something.
These incidents may seem minor at the time. A friend may have even been the one behind the wheel. But even these slow-speed collisions can cause breaks and tears that a doctor needs to check out.
It may even crush bones.
Often appropriate parking lot systems aren’t in place to help you get safely from your car to the door. Work equipment may not be properly guarded or secured.
Those driving machinery may not be properly trained.
You were just stocking the shelves. You do it every day. Then you pull a box out and the floodgates of a poorly designed shelving system open wide. Merchandise falls all over you. Sharp packages cut you. Heavy packages land on your feet and head.
Debris, like improperly cleaned up broken glass, may even scatter into your eyes.
Or maybe you’re asked to strategically carry random items stacked up to your face. It’s an accident waiting to happen.
You can run into something. You trip. Whatever you were carrying may fall on you.
You’re just a little shaken at first. You don’t want people to laugh at you so you brush it off. But if you’re hurt, you need to get it checked out.
It came without warning. Someone pushed a box too hard on the other side of the shelf and a 50-pound box landed on your head. Helmet or no helmet that could cause some damage.
Items weren’t properly secured on a crane and an item just fell 500 feet onto your foot. Your co-worker throws a 40-pound bag of potting soil at you expecting you to catch it. It knocks you over.
These kinds of incidents may leave you feeling like you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But if you’ve been struck by a falling object you need to get checked and may need to file a claim.
They call it the daily grind for a reason. Even if you’re working in a cubicle, workplace accidents can still happen.
Any time you’re performing a task over and over, you face the potential for repetitive strain injuries. They could be caused by typing, staring at a computer screen, or even lifting small items over and over off a conveyer belt.
Maybe you’re required to squat over and over as you load a truck.
Don’t ignore aches and pains in your body. If untreated, the inflammation may grow and cause serious damage.
These workplace accidents cost employers $7.4 billion annually in lost productivity, sick days, and other financial ramifications. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that these account for over 1/3 of injuries in the workplace.
If you’re experiencing pain related to repetitive movement in the workplace, you need to see a doctor.
You’re not a machine. Your job should not include hours upon hours of the same movement. Employers have options to vary employee tasks and when they do, these accidents are less prevalent.
Pop culture likes to laugh about it. They think it’s funny when people slip on food, a loose carpet, or other obstruction. They then proceed to state that people are exaggerating their injuries.
But slips and falls are no joke. These kinds of falls are not like a simple fall where you fall straight down and typically fall more slowly.
Because the cause is so unexpected, these workplace accidents catch people completely off guard. They prevent any actions that might reduce the impact.
They often launch people across a surface at high speed. Any number of body parts can be seriously damaged from the neck to the wrist to the head to afoot.
A laceration with significant blood loss can occur. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re hurt.
If you’ve been injured at work you should follow a certain course of action to begin the claims process.
If you’re bleeding or may have sustained a very serious injury, get the emergency assistance you need.
This may include the use of a first aid kit, neck brace, or other emergency items. It may involve contacting emergency services.
Notify your supervisor about the injury. When workplace accidents don’t require emergency assistance, you may be able to do this first. Failing to notify your supervisor on time can impact your ability to file a claim.
If you realize after the fact that an injury was caused in the workplace, you have up to 2 years to start this ball rolling.
Fill these forms out as soon as possible and mail them to the nearest worker’s comp office. Your employer’s HR department may do this for you. Work with them. If they tell you that you need to go to the doctor or get tests run, always comply.
These medical records will be important when filing a workplace accident claim. They will help you demonstrate that the accident or injury is work-related.
In some cases, you sustain workplace accidents. Then you see a doctor. Your bills are paid and you’re made whole.
But sometimes these accidents are something more. There may be negligence involved. Your employer may not be following safety practices. Your injury may only be the precursor to someone getting more seriously hurt.
Or perhaps you’ve got medical bills that they refuse to pay.
In the state of Texas, if an employer is even 1% negligent, they’re 100% responsible for your care.