HOW PERVASIVE ARE WORKPLACE INJURIES? THE SURPRISING STATISTICS
If you and your family are among those whose job has affected life and health, you are not alone. The Economic Policy Institute published an article recently stating that:
- On the average, 23,000 on-the-job injuries and 5000 fatalities happen in the U.S. on a daily basis.
- This comes to roughly 8.5 million injuries a year at a cost of $192 billion dollars to individuals, families, companies, and the economy as a whole.
In addition to these injuries and fatalities, hundreds of thousands of workers come down with job-related illnesses that cause time lost from work and result in around 53,000 deaths per year.
UNSAFE WORKING CONDITIONS THAT CAUSE ACCIDENTS, FATALITIES, AND INJURIES
The types of potential hazards in the workplace are innumerable. They may include situational work factors including dangers posed by human error and lack of attention to safety, environmental factors, and ergonomics.
EXAMPLES OF WORKPLACE HAZARDS
Unsafe conditions on the premises including:
- Wet or slippery floors
- Poorly maintained or improperly secured equipment or machinery
- Poor lighting conditions
- Obstacles or debris where workers walk
- Blocked exits
- Extension cords across walkways
- Objects falling from above
Negligent workplace safety practices, including but not limited to:
- Lack of appropriate safety gear (hard hats, harnesses, safety masks, etc.)
- Unsecured chemicals and toxic substances
- Requiring the use of equipment and tools that have been changed from their original condition
- Requiring workers to use equipment for other than what it was intended for
Injury and disease caused by exposure to environmental hazards, for example:
- Loud noises
- Extreme temperatures
- Dusts particles
- Toxic chemicals or materials
People who do sedentary work may seem to have safe jobs, and yet they can also suffer work-related injuries:
- Repeated stress injuries
- Muscle strains, especially to the neck and back, from sitting at stations with poor ergonomics
CONSTRUCTION SITE ACCIDENTS
Nearly six million Americans were employed in the construction industry as of March, 2014, according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction is among the most hazardous of all occupations, reporting an average of 150,000 accidents, 1000 fatalities, and innumerable injuries to workers.
THE “FATAL FOUR”
The most frequent types of construction site accidents often fall into these categories, known as “the fatal four”:
- Falls, often from scaffolding, staging, ladders, roofs, or structural steel
- Caught-in/between accidents, such as being caught in machinery, crushed between objects or, or crushed by a hydraulic bed
- Struck by accidents, caused by a falling object, a moving vehicle, or a piece of construction equipment
- Electrocutions, caused by contact with live power lines or exposed wires, by using defective tools or electrical equipment, or by improperly used extension cords, and so forth
SHORTCOMINGS OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
For job-related injuries, you generally look first to California’s Workers’ Compensation insurance program for benefits. Workers’ Comp covers medical bills, a portion of your lost earnings, and rehabilitation. It also pays a death benefit.
You don’t need to show negligence to qualify for benefits, only that your injury or illness was incurred in the course your employment. But here’s the trade-off: you can’t sue your employer for negligence. This is limiting because Worker’s Compensation doesn’t cover non-economic damages, those which affect your quality of life, which may actually have more of a negative impact on your life than your financial damages.
HOW THE RIGHT LAWYER CAN OFTEN INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF YOUR RECOVERY
Before you file your Workers’ Comp claim in Santa Barbara, Monterey, or San Luis Obispo, consult with a Central Coast personal injury attorney. Why?
- Your lawyer will make sure paperwork is filled out properly, giving the insurer no excuses to deny or delay your claim.
- The insurance company routinely denies any new or cutting-edge treatment doctors recommend as being “non-standard.” A good lawyer maybe able to negotiate to have it approved.
- If the vocational rehabilitation counselor assigned to your case is pushing you toward training for a job that doesn’t appeal to you, your lawyer will often be able to advocate for you and get you training for a job you would prefer.
- If the employer harmed you with “deliberate intent,” your lawyer may be able to make a case to override Workers’ Comp’s “exclusive remedy rule” that prevents you from suing the company.
- Your lawyer may also be able to determine if there are third parties who have contributed to your injury and are not covered by the “exclusive remedy” rule.
Let’s say you are a construction worker injured on the job. Your attorney will perform an investigation to determine if the dangerous condition that caused the accident was fully or partially the result of the negligence of someone other than your employer—a third party, such as owner of the premises, and architect or engineer, a vendor, a subcontractor, a visitor to the site, or the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment or tool. If so, you could potentially have a cause of action against that party. This would make it possible for you to claim compensation for those non-economic damages excluded from your Workers’ Compensation benefit.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST CENTRAL CALIFORNIA LAWYER FOR THE MOST FAVORABLE OUTCOME FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
Workplace injuries are often extremely complicated. While Workers’ Compensation simplifies getting coverage for some of your basic costs, including medical bills, lost earnings, and rehabilitation, it falls short of providing you sufficient compensation for all of the damages you’ve suffered. For many injured workers, the damage to their quality of life is considerably worse than the damage to their finances. A lifetime of pain, suffering, and disability is a high price to pay, and you deserve to be compensated. This means you need the best lawyer you can find to advocate on your behalf.
Here are some pertinent questions to ask when looking for a lawyer to represent you:
- How long has the lawyer been practicing law?
- Does the lawyer restrict his practice to personal injury cases (including Workers’ Compensation and wrongful death)?
- What is the lawyer’s AVVO rating (an independent rating by legal peers)?
- How often does the attorney handle work-related accident cases?
- What awards and recognitions has the attorney won or earned?
- Will the lawyer accept your case on contingency?
- Is the lawyer willing to go to trial if necessary?
- How extensive is the lawyer’s courtroom experience?
- Does the lawyer advance living expenses during the litigation period?
THE BEST LEGAL REPRESENTATION FOR RESIDENTS OF SAN LUIS OBISPO, SANTA BARBARA, MONTEREY, AND ALL OF THE CENTRAL CALIFORNIA COASTAL REGION
In San Luis Obispo, attorney Jude Basile has the extensive experience that will help you achieve the best outcome for you work-related injury or wrongful death case. Jude practices personal injury law exclusively, giving him the expertise that comes with a highly focused law practice. He has the highest possible AVVO ratings and a long history of successful recoveries for clients suffering employment-related injuries. He has been selected as trial lawyer of the year four times and has received the Champion of Justice Award. Above all, he is an accomplished trial lawyer who is always prepared to take a case to court when necessary. Although he is usually able to settle most cases without a trial, he has a formidable reputation in the courtroom.
Jude offers a free case consultation and accepts workplace accident cases on a contingency retainer, so you never have to worry about legal fees during the course of the litigation. You only pay when your case has been resolved, and only if you have won money. If you’re having trouble with living expenses, you may be able to receive an advance to tide you over. Jude Basile believes that everyone, without regard for their financial situation, should have equal access to justice, and he works diligently to see that your rights are protected.
Call the Basile Law Offices to arrange your no-cost, no obligation consultation. Learn how Jude can help you move on with the best life available after a workplace injury or family death. California imposes strict time limits of filing your claim, so don’t wait; you could lose your right to a recovery. Call today.