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Americans typically spend about 40 hours per week on the job, which means you have at least 40 hours out of your week to experience an employment related injury. While personal injury statutes receive most of the media scrutiny, injuries that occur at work are more common and in many cases, more preventable.
Jennifer Motzkow suffered a lingering lower back injury caused by the repetitive motion of lifting cases of beer at the bar she worked at in Des Moines, IA. “The pain became so intense that I couldn’t work anymore,” Jennifer said during an interview. “I didn’t know the cause of the pain until I met with a doctor who treated me and he suggested I contact a lawyer who specialized in workers’ compensation law.”
Whether you fall from a poorly designed scaffold or suffer from the exposure to noxious chemicals, federal workers’ compensation laws ensure you receive financial compensation for medical costs, as well as the wages lost from work inactivity.
Workers’ Compensation Has a Legal Purpose
Workers’ compensation represents a type of insurance employers use to take care of the financial needs for employees who experience workplace-related injuries. The comprehensive employer insurance policy does not require proof of fault, just that the injury or injuries happened on the job, Workers’ compensation helps injured employees take care of living expenses during the period of work inactivity.
The employee injury insurance program is not meant to punish employers for workplace negligence. Workers’ compensation acts as a safety net to prevent economic hardship and prevent the use of public funds for temporary employee assistance. Workers’ compensation payments have a limit set by federal statutes, which prevents abuse by workers who receive injuries, but recover enough to go back to work. Payments decrease over time to account for the decrease in medical costs, as well as motivate employees to resume their careers.
Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Workers’ compensation covers any type of injury caused on the job or by work-related activities off site. Falls represent the most common type of workers’ compensation claim, with falls at construction sites leading the list of venues. However, falls at retail outlets that use ladders to stock products also ranks high as a reason for filing a workers’ compensation claim. The recent media attention paid to repetitive motion injuries has increased the number of workers’ compensation claims filed for the constant lifting of heavy objects. In Jennifer’s case, this was a difficult assertion to prove, as she could have incurred lower back pain by lifting a heavy object at home. Nonetheless, Jennifer hired an accomplished attorney who presented convincing evidence that Jennifer’s chronic back pain resulted from the constant lifting of beer cases. Many workers’ compensation cases involve repetitive motion injuries, which require the legal expertise of a licensed labor law attorney.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits pay for medical costs and lost wages. If an injury forces you to retrain in another occupation, workers’ compensation covers the costs of training you for the new job. Many employees that sustain work-related injuries falsely believe that workers’ compensation also covers pain and suffering. Workers’ compensation does not include the filing of a lawsuit that addresses pain and suffering issues. Employer negligence that causes pain and suffering derived from a work-related injury falls under personal injury statutes that permit the inclusion of pain and suffering allegations.
Workers’ compensation attorneys offer clients immediate financial relief for the costs incurred for medical care and the income lost because of time off the job. If you succumb to an injury caused by work conditions on or off site, contact an employment law attorney who specializes in handling workers’ compensation cases.