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What Should I Do If I’m Injured At Work?
If you’ve been injured at work, you’re likely to be eligible for workers comp. Florida requires employers to have workers comp insurance, but unfortunately, not all of those injured in on-the-job accidents receive the full worker’s compensation reimbursement they deserve. That’s why it’s so important to hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced with handling job-related accidents.
In addition to fighting for the largest possible settlement for your case, an experienced attorney can take care of the other parts of the process. This can give you time to heal.
An experienced attorney can file all the necessary paperwork you’ll need to receive reimbursement for medical care and wages, and will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. While hiring a lawyer is important, it’s even more important to be informed.
On this page, we’ll answer questions including:
- What should I do after a workplace accident?
- What should I know about worker’s comp?
- What are the most common forms of workplace-related accidents?
- Who is most likely to be injured at work?
- What types of injuries can I get from a workplace accident?
- What are the most common forms of workplace-related deaths?
What Should I Do Right After a Workplace Accident?
If you’ve been seriously hurt in a work-related accident, call 911 immediately. After, call an experienced workplace accident attorney as quickly as possible.
An expert workplace accident lawyer will guide you through the entire post-accident process to increase your chance of getting the maximum possible settlement. Your attorney may advise you to:
- Avoid Agreeing to an Upfront Settlement: When you call your insurance company, they may attempt to pressure you into taking a small settlement. Avoid this at all costs. Taking an immediate settlement will reduce or eliminate your ability to gain a larger accident settlement with the help of an attorney. In addition, avoid signing any settlement-related papers or agreeing to a settlement offered by a doctor, a doctor’s representative, a hospital, your employer, or a fellow driver (if the accident involves a car or truck).
- Avoid Admitting Fault: If you admit fault, or even say “sorry” to another individual or your insurance company, it could be used against you in a future settlement or court proceeding. While Florida is a no-fault state, the less you say, the more flexibility your attorney will have to negotiate a larger accident settlement.
- Beware of Insurance Companies: Whether dealing with your insurance company, your employer’s insurance company, or a third-party insurance company, be careful what you say. Insurance companies are designed to remain profitable, so it’s always their goal to pay out as little as possible in settlements. That may be good for them, but it’s certainly not good for you.
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What Should I Know About Workers Compensation?
Workers Compensation, also referred to as workers comp, is a government-mandated compensation system. Workers comp provides both one-time, lump-sum and structured payments to people who have been injured on the job. All employers in the state of Florida are currently required to provide workers compensation insurance for their employees.
Therefore, if you are injured on the job, you will often be offered a workers comp settlement by your employer’s insurance company. Don’t accept anything, however, until you’ve spoken to an experienced accident attorney. Insurance companies will generally try to negotiate an immediate settlement to avoid paying future medical expenses.
Unfortunately, workers comp settlements are not designed to compensate for pain and suffering, nor are they designed to cover lost work or reductions in working capacity. They are generally designed to compensate only for short-term medical expenses.
Sadly, accepting a settlement generally means that you will be unable to seek any damages in the future. Even if you wanted to consider accepting a workers comp settlement, unlike some states, Florida does not have a specific worker’s comp settlement chart. This means that there are no set amounts for various injury types, leaving the insurance company and the accident victim to negotiate on their own.
Insurance companies, as we’ve mentioned previously, are experts on paying the smallest settlements possible. This is a great reason why it’s ideal to have an experienced accident attorney. If you’ve been injured in an accident, your attorney can negotiate with your employer’s insurance company, giving you an upper hand in the settlement negotiations.
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When you are in the process of negotiating the settlement, be sure to speak with your attorney about:
- Lost wages and disability coverage: while typical workers comp settlements don’t fully pay for lost wages or any loss in earning capacity due to an injury, if you are permanently and totally disabled, there is a special settlement formula that is used to calculate your potential benefits.
- Future wages: For those not fully disabled, Florida may require an insurance company to pay out partial wage benefits for up to 104 weeks.
- Medical Expenses: as we mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons insurance companies like to settle so quickly is to avoid paying long-term medical costs. If an injury is likely to require surgery, physical therapy, or expensive medication, insurance companies will generally not offer to pay for it in their initial settlement offer.
- Job/Reemployment Training: If a worker is injured on the job, the insurance company may need to pay the accident victim 26 additional weeks of wage benefits.
What Are The Most Common Forms of Work-Related Accidents?
While there are a wide variety of accident types that can lead to serious injuries, a few types of accidents are somewhat more common than others. These include:
- Company Vehicle Accidents: Work-related and company vehicle accidents are a serious safety issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 2003-2018, nearly 30,000 people died in work-related car or truck accidents. If you’ve had an accident while at work, you might be left with major injuries as well as questions about who pays for what. Unfortunately, it may be hard to get a straight answer from your employer or their insurance provider. However, an experienced attorney can help you get answers. A good lawyer will ask both the employers’ workers comp and vehicle insurance companies targeted questions in order to achieve maximum compensation for their client. If the insurance company attempts to pay out a very small settlement, the negotiation process may include a series of offers and counteroffers or a even jury trial.
- Construction Site Accidents: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tells us that approximately 200,000 workers are injured each year in construction site accidents. A serious construction accident may leave you with injuries as well as robbing you of the ability to work. Add to that the complication of sorting out whether your insurance or your employer should pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, and you’ll often have a stressful situation on your hands.
- General Slip and Falls: A slip and fall incident may sound minor, but these incidents can often lead to concussions, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and even spinal injuries. The intensity of an injury is generally determined by factors including the height of a fall, the angles and surfaces involved in the incident, and the prior health of the victim.
- Mechanical/Manufacturing Accidents: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2018-2019, machine and manufacturing accidents added up to 15% of all non-deadly workplace injuries and accidents. That’s more than 32,000 strains, sprains, and tears, and more than 15,000 cases involving lacerations, cuts, or punctures.
Who is Most Likely to Be Injured at Work?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019, U.S. businesses reported 2.8 million job-related injuries. The industries and professions most likely to report injured workers include:
- Manufacturing Workers
- Heavy Truck and Tractor-Trailer Drivers
- Non-Construction Laborers
- Construction Workers
- Nurses and Nursing Assistants
- Retail/Industrial Stockers
- Retail Salespeople
- Janitors and Maintenance Employees
What Types of Injuries Can I Get From A Workplace Accident?
Since workplaces are highly diverse, so are the types of injuries that people can get while working. However, some of the most common types of workplace injuries that you may encounter include:
- Soft-Tissue Injuries, Cuts, and Scrapes: Cuts, scrapes, and other soft-tissue injuries can seem minor. Despite this, they could be outward signs of a more significant issue. This could include a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or an injury to an accident victim’s internal organs. Untreated cuts and scrapes can also become infected, which, in rare cases, could lead to hospitalization.
- Broken Bones: With slip and fall incidents a widespread source of workplace injuries, it’s no surprise that broken bones are a common job-related injury. Broken bones can lead to a loss of ability to work, and can significantly impact daily life activities. Broken bones are also more expensive than you might think. One recent study suggested that broken bone care costs averaged in cost between $4,000 for a single break and $39,000 for multiple fractures. While health insurance will generally cover most of these costs, copays and additional fees can still be expensive.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): A variety of workplace injuries may lead to trauma to the head, which often leads to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs vary in nature, with serious injuries often leading to learning and cognition issues, paralysis, memory loss, and PTSD, and somewhat less serious injuries sometimes leading to depression, anxiety, and headaches. No matter the severity, a TBI typically has a significant impact on an accident victim’s life. Unfortunately, many of the impacts of a TBI may not be experienced for weeks or even months after the incident. This is yet another example of why an accident victim or victim’s family member should never agree to sign any settlement without first consulting an experienced attorney.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: More serious workplace accidents may lead to spinal cord injuries. The most common side effect of spinal cord injuries is partial or full paralysis, which can change someone’s life forever.
What Are The Most Common Forms of Workplace-Related Deaths?
While most people sustain only minor injuries on the job, in some cases, a work accident can become deadly. If someone you love has died in a workplace accident, you could be eligible for significant compensation. Unfortunately, the death of a loved one can change your life forever, often leading to issues such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, as well as a potentially significant loss of household or family income.
Wrongful deaths related to work aren’t common, but they do exist. BLS data shows that 5,333 people died due to workplace injuries in 2019 alone. Common causes of death include:
- Transportation: 40% of all job-related deaths involved transportation in some capacity.
- Vehicle Crashes: More than 23% of deadly workplace injuries, nearly a quarter, involved vehicle collisions.
- Environmental Conditions: Nearly 8% of workplace deaths involved exposure to harmful materials or environments.
- Slip and Falls: 15% of on-the-job deaths involved a fall, slip, or trip.
- Violence: A shocking 13% of workplace deaths involved violence involving either an animal or another person.
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If You’ve Been Injured at Work, Call Gallagher and Hagopian Today
At Gallagher and Hagopian, we’re committed to putting your mind at ease. We’ve won over $100 million for our clients and are ready and waiting to help you get your life back on track.
By fighting for your rights, we work hard to reduce your anxiety in an already stressful situation. We’ll analyze your case at no cost, and if we accept it, we’ll do everything in our power to get you the maximum possible compensation. Plus, we’ll file your insurance claim and take care of all the paperwork, so you can focus on healing.
If you have been injured at work, we can assist in the following areas:
- Filing the appropriate paperwork
- Coverage for your medical bills, deductibles, and copays
- Damage to your personal belongings
- Workers compensation and lost wages
Work-Related Accident FAQ’s
If You’ve Been in A Work-Related Accident, Contact Gallagher & Hagopian Today!
As with any type of injury or accident, do not agree to sign any settlement or speak about your concerns, injuries, or damages with anyone other than an attorney. Do not allow anyone representing the insurance company, your doctor, hospital, or emergency room to record any statement until after you talk to our office. There is no charge for this initial consultation and we will come to you.
We are centrally located in Bradenton, FL which allows us to conveniently serve you no matter where you live in Manatee, Sarasota and surrounding counties on the West Coast of Florida.