What Types Of Injuries Can You File A Workers Compensation Claim For?
Nobody wants to think about getting hurt when they go to work. Unfortunately, there are times when work injuries do occur. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows us that approximately 2.8 million Americans sustained nonfatal work injuries or illnesses last year. That number is almost identical to the year prior. Thankfully, those injured at work should be able to receive workers’ compensation for their medical expenses and most of their lost income. It is important to understand that workers’ compensation insurance covers nearly all on-the-job work injuries.
What injuries and illnesses are covered?
When most people think of work injuries, they think of traumatic injuries such:
- broken bones
- open head wounds
- spinal cord injuries
- traumatic brain injuries
When these injuries occur at work, they will almost always be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. These are visible injuries there are hard for employers or insurance carriers to deny.
Repetitive stress injuries
Repetitive stress injuries (also commonly called repetitive motion or overuse injuries) are very common in the workplace. They are caused by repeatedly performing the same motions over and over again for long periods of time and can be painful and debilitating for victims. Some of the most well-known repetitive stress injuries are carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, back pain, and more.
Hearing and vision loss
Exposure to chemicals, loud noises, and particles in the air can lead to hearing and vision loss. These injuries often occur over time, similar to repetitive stress injuries.
Workers’ Compensation usually covers illnesses and diseases that workers develop over time as a result of exposure on the job. For example, coal miners who are exposed to coal dust for long periods of time can contract a debilitating illness called black lung disease. Exposure to asbestos at industrial worksites can lead to mesothelioma. A medical worker could contract HIV/AIDS or other illnesses due to a needle stick.
More and more, medical professionals are recognizing that long term exposure to stress in the workplace can lead to a wide range of illnesses, both psychological and physical. Job-related stress can lead to mental health injuries such as anxiety and depression. This stress can also cause heart problems and other internal organ damage.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system
The workers’ compensation insurance system is “no-fault,” which means that an injured worker should receive compensation regardless of how their injury occurred as long as the worker was injured in the course of performing their work duties. Even if the worker caused their own injuries, they are generally able to receive compensation.
Unfortunately, many of the injuries we discussed above are harder to pinpoint on workplace causes. Employers and insurance carriers will often delay or deny a claim for compensation by saying that there is not enough proof that the workplace caused the injury. They may even say that an injury was actually due to a pre-existing condition. It is important to understand that insurance carriers are “for-profit” entities that will do everything they can to lower the amount they pay in a settlement on your behalf. For some work injuries, you may need to secure assistance from an attorney with experience dealing with workers’ compensation denials or delays.