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Work-Related Accident and Injury Statistics
• Each year, over 4 million people suffer a work-related injury or illness.
• Of these 4 million, about one-half are serious injuries that require employees to miss work or need ongoing medical care.
• Of these 4 million, 94% are physical injuries and 6% are work-related illnesses. Work-related illnesses include repetitive stress injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome and
environmental illnesses, such as asbestos-related lung disease.
• Strains and sprains are the most frequent cause of non-fatal work-related injuries.
• 33% of work-related injuries involve the shoulders, trunk, and back.
• Car crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths.
• The construction industry accounts for 1 in 5 work-related deaths and 1 in 10 non-fatal work-related injuries.
• The average number of days missed due to work-related injuries is 7 days. However, one-quarter of all injuries require more than 30 days away from work.
• Most accidents at work are preventable. Technical issues such as defective or damaged equipment cause only 4%.
How Workers’ Compensation Can Help You
Workers’ compensation is mandatory insurance that provides payment for medical care to employees who are injured at work or who develop an illness related to their work. Workers’ compensation covers both obvious physical injuries, such as a fall from a ladder, as well as injuries incurred over a long period of time, such as repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and back problems. It also may cover lost wages as a result of a disability.
An employee can receive workers’ compensation benefits REGARDLESS of who is at fault (the employer, the employee, a coworker, a customer, etc.). In exchange for using this benefit, the injured employee gives up the right to sue his or her employer for negligence. Each state has its own laws and program specifics dealing with workers’ compensation. Many states also have a statute of limitations on workers’ compensation, which is a time limit within which the employee may file a claim for benefits.
Your Work Injury Rights
As an employee, you have the right to work in a safe and hazard-free environment. Even under the best of circumstances, however, accidents do happen. If you are injured at work or as a result of your work, you have the right to:
• Medical care for your injury: This includes emergency room and hospital bills, doctors’ visits, and medication needs.
• Payments to compensate for lost wages. Lost wages may be past or future, and may be the result of temporary or permanent disabilities from your injury.
• NOT be fired for reporting a workplace injury or filing a workers’ compensation claim. If your employer has threatened you with loss of work if you file a claim, consult a lawyer as soon as possible.
• Hire a lawyer to represent YOU in any settlement discussions or decisions. The workers’ compensation carriers have lawyers to help them settle your case in their best interest. Consider obtaining your own lawyer to protect your workers’ compensation rights.