A workplace accident injury is an injury that occurs during the course of one’s employment or during work hours.
Usually, a work injury or workplace injury is caused by a task that the person is required to do at their job. The term also applies to injuries occurring during work hours or while on the employment premises.
Most work injury claims are resolved through a worker’s compensation claim. The employment contract terms will often guide this resolution process between the worker and the employer.
State and federal laws also govern health and safety standards in work environments to help reduce work-related injuries.
The general rule is that the only compensation an injured employee can recover after a workplace accident is through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. There are exceptions to this rule, however. These exceptions include situations where an employer failed to obtain workers’ compensation insurance, intentional injuries by an employer or third party, injuries that arise from a defective product or toxic substance, or construction site accidents caused by an entity other than your employer.
What Are Some Examples of Workplace Accidents?
While some employers may compensate for injuries unrelated to the job description, most claims focus on injuries directly associated with the job description. These include:
- Repetitive stress injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow);
- Respiratory illnesses from inhaling toxic substances;
- Various industrial diseases (such as popcorn lung or other respiratory illnesses);
- Injuries resulting from being in a confined space;
- Slip and fall injuries;
- Heavy lifting accidents;
- Accidents involving tools;
- Electrocution, burns, and other types of injuries;
- Toxic spill injuries and chemical injuries.
Will Workers’ Compensation Cover Me for Any Workplace Accident?
Workers’ compensation will cover you for any work-related injuries or accidents. Sometimes even if the employee caused the accident, they might get workers’ compensation for their injuries or illnesses as long as the employee did not cause the accident under the influence of illegal drugs and alcohol.
There is a difference between a personal injury lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim. Some people think that a workers’ compensation claim is the same as a personal injury claim, but this is not the case.
State laws can vary. For instance, California workplace accident laws may have different requirements from the laws in other states.
What Are the Impacts of Workplace Accidents?
Outside of bodily harm, workplace accidents present several challenges for employees and business owners.
Workplace accidents can lead to a loss of productivity. If you are harmed in the workplace, you may have to take time off work. Businesses may lose productivity without having an entire staff.
Workplace accidents can impact other employees and cause them to feel unsafe. Workplace accidents can translate to deflated morale and a loss of motivation.
A business’s negligence resulting in an accident or bodily injury can have serious financial and legal implications. Workers’ compensation claims may arise along with possible litigation. Lawsuits can impede business growth and drive a business into bankruptcy.
Preventing accidents and creating a culture of safety awareness are the best ways for businesses to ensure that accidents do not happen.
What Are the Workplace Accident Statistics?
The most recent data on workplace accidents show that there were nearly 1 million injuries and illnesses in the past year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that of these cases:
- 11% involved overexertion in lifting or lowering
- 64% of bone fractures were from accidents in service industries
- 62% of slips, trips, and falls were on the same level
- 20% of slips, trips, and falls were from a worker falling between two or more levels
- 15% of all nonfatal workplace injuries resulted from workers being struck by equipment or objects while on the job
- 35% of cases across all industries resulted in sprains, strains, and tears.
Across all industries, more than 25% of all injuries were caused by slips, trips, and falls.
Common Causes of Workplace Accidents
Safety awareness involves understanding the risks associated with your work environment. Once you are aware of your work environment, you and your employer will craft proactive solutions for preventing accidents.
Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace are most likely to happen due to:
20% of falls on the same level are from trips. 13% of falls on the same level are from slips. 11% of falls to a lower level occur when someone falls through a surface or an existing opening.
Even if your workplace does not involve workers interacting with the leading causes of slips, trips, and falls, there are other areas where accidents can occur.
Be on the lookout for areas or objects that may increase the likelihood of slips, trips, or falls. Slips, trips, and falls can result from:
- Slippery surfaces
- Broken equipment
- Areas with a lack of safety signage
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Workplace Accidents?
The best way for employers and employees to avoid workplace accidents is through a strategic safety plan. When proactive measures are in place, employees and employers can create a culture of safety. Your employer should use the following tips to bolster safety efforts at work:
- Promote safety awareness with regular safety briefings and employee safety training
- Install proper lighting to create a well-lit and visible job site that makes it easy for staff to see potential risks and avoid them
- Communicate safety hazards with signs that clearly identify hazardous areas and potential risks like obstacles, spills, toxic materials, or other hazards
- Contain spills quickly when they happen. Always have cleanup equipment readily accessible in the workplace
- Routinely check for safety hazards like spills or obstacles
- Install proper ventilation to prevent toxic chemicals or other foreign particles from being inhaled by employees
- Enforce proper attire for accident prevention, like hard hats or slip-resistant shoes
Are There Workplace Accidents Not Covered By Workers’ Compensation?
Workers who are injured by someone other than an employer or coworker may be able to sue that person or entity. When a worker is injured by defective equipment, they may be able to sue the manufacturer of the machine. Manufacturers can be held strictly liable. Manufacturers can also be held liable for negligence and failure to warn of dangerous circumstances.
A worker who is injured by a toxic substance in the workplace, such as asbestos or benzene, may be able to bring a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of the toxic substance or safety equipment that failed to protect against the substance. Toxic tort lawsuits can be brought to recover for injuries like chemical burns, as well as long-term injuries such as cancer and mesothelioma.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Need to File a Workplace Accident Claim?
Work accidents can involve a wide range of injuries and legal issues. If you are filing a personal injury claim for a workplace injury, contact a local workers compensation lawyer in your area. Your attorney can help review your work-related injury case and can help you when it comes to filing a claim or a lawsuit. In the event of a legal dispute, your attorney can directly represent you during legal hearings and meetings.
Consider using LegalMatch’s services today to find the right lawyer for your needs.