Understanding the Financial Impact of a Workplace Injury
Most workers get their day started by doing their routine and tasks without the thought of anything else but getting their job done. While at work, the last thing on your mind is being involved in a workplace accident that causes a severe injury.
Not only does a severe work injury cause emotional and physical stress, but it can also pose financial burdens for you and your family. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), despite mandated legal requirements to provide workers with a hazard-free and safe work environment, over three million workers are severely injured every year. Thousands are killed on the job — and the burden of workplace injuries often fall on the shoulders of the injured worker and their families. Here’s what you need to know.
The Heavy Cost of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that roughly 4,500 workers are killed on the job each year. BLS also estimates that employer-mandated logs record almost three million severe occupational injuries and illnesses yearly and can range from fatal injuries to wounds, amputations, back injuries, and other injuries that require more extensive care than first aid.
OSHA statistics show that workers earn $31,000 (15%) less, spanning ten years following a workplace injury. Lower wage workers also disproportionately have a more considerable financial burden of occupational injuries and illnesses — and many of these low wage jobs have a higher risk of workplace hazards.
It is also speculated that these statistics could be higher as work-related injuries go underreported based on many studies.
Who Bears the Burden of Employee Injuries?
While workers’ compensation can help injured workers recover medical expenses and lost wages, it may not be enough. Since the workers’ compensation system runs on a “no-fault” system, workers lose their right to sue an employer for any reason relating to their injury. We’ll explain further in this article situations in which workers may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim in addition to workers’ compensation to cover costs.
Here is a breakdown, as reported by OSHA, of who bears the burden of worker injury costs:
Alarming statistic: 50% of costs related to workplace injuries are out of pocket expenses paid by the injured worker followed by:
- Workers’ compensation: 21%
- Private health insurance: 13%
- The federal government: 11%
- State and local Government: 5%
When it comes to work-related injuries, it is critical to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you learn your rights and give you all the benefits and options you are entitled to receive after a workplace accident. Having a lawyer protect your interests can ensure that your medical bills and other injury-related expenses are covered.
It’s also been noted that less than 40% of eligible workers apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Many may wonder how this happens since it’s a worker’s right, but here are some reasons why injured workers avoid filing for workers compensation:
- Fear of being fired. Retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim is illegal, and all injured workers have the right to receive compensation for their work-related injury.
- Worried about affording to hire a lawyer. The truth is most workers’ compensation lawyers get paid out of the workers’ compensation settlement. Which means you don’t have to pay anything unless your case is won.
- Their injury wasn’t severe. Even a minor injury can lead to complications. Filing a workers compensation claim offers you peace of mind and protection should your injury turn into something worse.
Can an Injured Worker Pursue a Personal Injury Claim?
While an injured worker has the right to file for workers’ compensation, a third-party claim may also be an available option for workers to pursue compensation to cover medical bills and other costs associated with the injury. Third-party liability means that bodily harm caused to an individual was due to the negligent or reckless actions of a third party. In the case of a workplace injury, a third party is not your direct employer. Here are some examples of third-party liability claims:
- Auto accidents: driving while performing your work duties and injured by a third-party driver.
- Pedestrian accidents: injured on the job as a pedestrian by someone outside of the company you work for.
- Premises liability: injured while working on someone else’s property (a private residence or third-party construction site)
- Product liability: injured on the job due to a dangerous or defective product.
Suffered Workplace Injury? Bandas Law Firm, P.C. Can Help.
Suffering a workplace injury not only impacts your health, but it can be financially taxing if you can’t physically work while trying to heal. When the healing process is long and complicated, and you need ongoing medical care and treatments, it can mean financial burdens for you and your family.
If you or a loved one has sustained a work-related injury, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Let us help you recover the money you deserve while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
When dealing with insurance companies that often give pushback or offer low settlements, our experienced personal injury lawyers are here to guide you every step of the way. We are in your corner and will work tirelessly to hold the negligent parties accountable for causing your injury and secure the compensation you deserve.
Contact Bandas Law Firm, P.C. today at (361) 238-2789 to learn how we can assist you.