Employers of all types have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for all employees. Workplaces must provide industry-specific safety equipment that is in place to ensure employees are protected from harm at work. Despite these requirements, workplace injuries are incredibly common in Alabama, as well as throughout the United States. Often, these injuries are the result of a lack of safety precautions being observed at the workplace.
If you or a loved on has been injured or killed due to a workplace incident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The Birmingham workplace injury attorneys at Hollis Wright can help and are well versed in Alabama and federal laws, as they relate to protecting employees from injury.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, there were 2.9 million non-fatal workplace injuries in private workplace settings during a recent year's time. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that in one year, nearly 4,400 employees were killed as a result of a workplace injury—this is a startling 12 people per day.What is the Definition of a Workplace Injury
According to OSHA,a workplace injury is defined as an occurrence in the course of work that leads to physical or mental occupational injury. OSHA defines the following as recordable workplace injuries:
- Any work-related fatality
- Any work-related injury or illness that results in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job.
- Any work-related injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid.
- Any work-related diagnosed case of cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones or teeth, and punctured eardrums.
There are also special recording criteria for work-related cases involving needle sticks and sharp injuries, hearing loss and tuberculosis.Top Reasons for Work-Related Injuries
According to prevailing data, there are ten top reasons employees sustain injuries in the workplace. They are as follows:
- Overexertion Injuries: This includes injuries related to pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, and throwing activities at work. Overexertion injuries are the most common injury, as well as the most expensive.
- Slipping and Tripping: This is often caused by wet floors or objects in the way.
- Falling from Heights: This happens from elevated surfaces such as roofs, ladder and stairways.
- Reaction injuries: Injuries caused by slipping and tripping without falling. Injuries can include muscle injuries, body trauma, and a variety of other medical issues.
- Falling Object Injuries: Objects that fall from shelves or are dropped by another person can cause serious injury.
- Walking into Injuries: This occurs when a person accidentally runs into concrete objects such as walls, doors, cabinets, glass windows, tables, or chairs. Head, knee, neck, and foot injuries are common results.
- Vehicle Accidents: Employees who drive for business are exposed to a host of car-related accidents.
- Machine Entanglement: This type of injury usually occurs in factories where heavy equipment and machinery are used. If proper precautions aren't taken, clothing, shoes, fingers, and hair can be entangled. Protective equipment should be provided.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries: This type of workplace injury is less obvious, but can be harmful long term.
- On-the-Job Violent Acts: Attacks as a result of office politics and arguments have led to serious injury and death. Workplace violence training should be a part of every workplace.
If a worker sustains an on-the-job injury, it is important for the worker to understand that there are two potential avenues for receiving compensation. Specifically, the injured worker will almost always be eligible for worker's compensation benefits from his or her direct employer. In order to be eligible for worker's compensation benefits, the worker generally only needs to establish that he or she was injured in the line and scope of employment.
However, there is an additional avenue of recovery that should be evaluated. In particular, if the worker was injured as the result of the wrongful conduct of another—perhaps a co-employee, a subcontractor, an employee of another company, private citizen, or the owner of the premises—then the worker may be able to pursue what is known as a "third-party" claim. The benefit of a third-party claim is that the injured worker has the potential to claim money damages that will be significantly greater than the worker's compensation benefits from the employer. It is critically important that an attorney evaluate all of the possible claims for recovery on your behalf.
For more information about Alabama Worker's Compensation laws and the worker's compensation attorneys at Hollis Wright, please click here.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in the workplace, call the Birmingham workplace injury attorneys at Hollis, Wright, Clay & Vail, P.C. You can contact us here or call 205.324.3600 or 1.844.LAW.TALK for a FREE consultation. We handle all cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means that our attorneys only get paid if they recover money on your behalf.