Being involved in an accident while on the job is a distressing experience. One minute you’re going through your daily tasks and the next you are forced to contend with a serious injury on your person. Whether you have been involved in a serious factory accident or you were involved with an accident in an office, understanding the long-term effects of this event can help you better prepare for your future.
What Qualifies As A Workplace Accident?
From a legal perspective, it’s important to take a look at what exactly qualifies as a workplace accident, rather than a normal day-to-day accident. Specifically, a workplace accident is defined as any illness, injury, or similar condition that a person experiences while on the job or as a direct result of their job.
The three common subcategories for work related injuries include physical injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and occupational illness. It’s worth noting that if you are simply in your workplace as a member of the public, rather than on the job, it could be argued that your accident is personal injury, as opposed to a workplace accident.
Common Injuries From Workplace Accidents?
Understanding the most common types of injuries that result from workplace accidents can help a person recognize which situations may lead to those accidents. Most prominently, examples of workplace accidents can include:
- General bruising or cuts
- Broken bones from falling or malfunctioning machinery
- Muscle strains and tears while trying to lift items
- Herniated discs or whiplash type injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries resulting from performing a continuous straining motion for years
- Overall neck and back injuries
- Collisions and crashes between vehicles, forklifts, trailers, and more
- Slip and fall accidents
When it comes to workplace injuries such as the above, there are an additional two subcategories that could occur:
Chronic vs. Acute Injuries
The primary difference between chronic and acute injuries is that the latter occurs quickly and suddenly. Falling off of a ladder at work and breaking your arm on the fall could be an example of an acute injury. However, workplace accidents can also lead to chronic injuries, which refer to injuries that develop or worsen over time due to overuse of one area in the body.
For example, if you spent your career lifting heavy boxes and develop back problems as a result ten years later, that would be an example of a chronic injury resulting from the workplace. Dealing with the aftermath of workplace injuries can be frustrating, but there are two options that can potentially help: workers compensation and personal injury lawsuits.
What Is Workers Compensation And How Can It Help?
Workers compensation is something most business should have and is a form of insurance that covers medical benefits and other costs related to if an employee is injured during the course of their work. This insurance is not paid for by the employee, rather the employer pays monthly or yearly to have this insurance in place.
Different Types of Workers Compensation
There are a few different types of workers compensation that could be applicable to a person, depending upon what happened during their accident:
- Medical care compensation: The first form of workers compensation offers coverage for medical care items such as surgery costs, ambulance costs, and ongoing medical treatment such as physical therapy that result from your accident.
- Temporary disability benefits: If a worker is unable to return to work for a small period of time following an accident, this form of workers compensation kicks in to replace lost wages.
- Permanent disability benefits: This third form of workers compensation provides a set amount of pay consistently assuming an employee can never return to their former job as a result of the accident.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits: A unique form of workers compensation is supplemental job displacement benefits, which covers educational costs related to an employee pursuing a new career path if they are unable to return to their old role.
- Death benefits: In a worst-case scenario, should a person die as a result of their accident, this final form of workers insurance will provide family members with compensation as a result.
Pursuing A Personal Injury Lawsuit
In some cases, the compensation received from workers compensation insurance may not be enough. If you believe someone else was at fault for your accident or the company itself was, then you may be interested in pursuing a personal injury lawsuit instead of taking the workers compensation.
What is a Personal Injury Suit?
A personal injury lawsuit is when a person sues another person or organization for their personal injury, arguing that the other party’s actions were responsible for the accident. An example could include one person suing another after the second person ran a stop sign and caused a car accident with the first person who had the right of way. Personal injury lawsuits can often result in more money than workers compensation, but they are challenging to prove.
How to Win a Personal Injury Lawsuit
To win a personal injury lawsuit, you and your lawyer will need to prove four primary points:
- There was a duty of care on behalf of the defendant
- The defendant violated that duty of care
- That violation resulted in the accident you were in
- That accident caused the injuries you are dealing with
In most cases, a personal injury lawsuit will be settled between the parties, rather than going all the way to trial. However, if the defendant believes there was no negligence on their part and the accident was entirely or partially your fault, they may try to push the case to court.
Stay covered after your workplace accident
Nobody wants to be involved in a serious accident while on the job, especially while they’re just trying to make money to pay the bills. That’s why understanding if negligence on the part of someone else occurred with your accident. If so, you may be entitled to compensation as a result. Contact an accredited attorney in your area if you believe your case merits a lawsuit and not just workers compensation.