What Are Some Common Workplace Accidents?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Joe Jones with Law Office of Bruce A. Ralston.
Any workplace contains inherent hazards, and with those hazards comes the potential for accidents. Failure to follow safety regulations or to enforce safety protocol can result in avoidable accidents and even catastrophic injuries. Most employers are required to offer some form of workers’ compensation, although the laws vary from state to state so it’s important to research the legislation in your area.
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance purchased by employers to offer financial aid for injured workers’ medical bills and lost wages, while protecting the employer from liability. In most cases an injured worker is not eligible to sue their employer in addition to receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, if negligence or a third party were involved in the accident, a personal injury claim may be possible. Reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your situation.
Some workplace accidents are more common than others, including but not limited to:
- Car accidents
- Slip and falls or trip and falls
- Falls from heights
- Electrocution and fires
- Struck by an object
- Struck against an object
- Caught in or between
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Physical violence
These are not the only accidents which can occur in a workplace. Some workplaces may have dangers unique to the industry, which should be addressed in a company’s safety policy. Lack of signage, safety policy enforcement, adequate personal protective equipment, and more could indicate negligence in the overall safety operation of a workplace.
If negligence is involved in a workplace accident, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim in addition to filing for workers’ compensation. However, experts recommend filing for workers’ compensation first; this allows an injured worker to begin receiving immediate financial aid, rather than waiting for the outcome of an often lengthy trial process.
If you are injured in a workplace accident, there are a series of steps to follow to increase your chances at fair compensation.
- Seek medical care. Immediately after sustaining a work-related injury it’s important to seek medical care, especially if it is an emergency situation. For further treatment check with your employer or human resources (HR) department; many employers have their own network of medical clinics and doctors through which an employee will need to seek care in order to apply their workers’ compensation benefits.
- Take pictures. It’s important to take pictures at the scene where the accident occurred. Pictures of any equipment, environmental hazards, or other element which could have contributed to the situation should be documented via pictures in order to refer back to later. Additionally, it might be a good idea to take pictures of the injury to later refer back to.
- Collect information. If there were any witnesses to the accident, it’s a good idea to request their contact information so you can call upon them to confirm the accident if necessary. Additionally, if a witness agrees, you may choose to record their testimony over video.
- Report the incident. It is essential to report the injury or accident as soon as it happens to your supervisor and/or HR department. It is likely that they will need to file an incident report to begin the process of starting your workers’ compensation benefits. This also ensures that a record of the accident exists in case there are later questions about the legitimacy of your claim.
- Seek legal counsel. For help navigating workers’ compensation or to discuss your eligibility to file a third party or personal injury claim, reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney. Most of these attorneys offer free consultations and at the very least can give you a better idea of what to expect from your recovery process.