Common Workplace Injuries in Massachusetts
Workplace injuries are an inevitable part of working, even in Massachusetts. Luckily, the number of injuries at work has been steadily dropping. For example, in 2004, there were 93,400 nonfatal occupational illnesses or injuries in Massachusetts. But in 2015, that number dropped to 65,300. Despite these seemingly high numbers, the rate of workplace injuries in Massachusetts is actually below the national average and has consistently been that way for several years.
Many of these injuries occur in traditionally dangerous jobs, such as mining and construction. But some of the highest rates are in areas someone might not expect, like education and health services. To get a better understanding of what causes Massachusetts workplace injuries, it helps to begin by looking at the common workplace injuries.
Common Workplace Injuries
The human body is an amazing machine, but it’s not indestructible. Additionally, based on the body’s structure, some body parts are more susceptible to injury than others. No matter the job or workplace, any injury is potentially possible. However, the following is a list of injuries that tend to occur more often than others.
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Brain injury
- Sprain and strain of a joint or muscle, especially the back or neck
- Cut, abrasion, or laceration
- Illness from exposure to toxic substances
Causes of Common Workplace Injuries
Most injuries that take place at work are avoidable. Despite this fact, they are still almost impossible to completely eliminate. Many of them are true accidents. But some of them are the result of the intentional acts of others. The vast majority of workplace injuries are the direct result of one or more of the following:
- Repetitive motion or stress on the body
- Entanglement in machines
- Bodily collisions, such as walking into objects
- Slip or trip
- Overexertion; for instance lifting an object that’s too heavy or trying to work with an existing injury
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Falling objects or debris
- Violation of safety rules and regulations
- Negligent co-workers
- Intentional misconduct by fellow co-workers
- Substance abuse
- Bad weather
- Defective equipment or tools
Compensation Available to Injured Workers
Depending on how the injury occurred and those responsible for causing it, an injured worker will have two primary avenues of compensation: workers’ compensation and a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation will be the primary way most injured workers receive compensation for their injuries. The most notable workers’ compensation benefits include lost income replacement and reimbursement for medical care. After a workplace accident that results in an injury, the workers should promptly report it to the employer, obtain medical attention, and file a workers’ compensation claim.
To find out more about filing a workers’ compensation claim, please check out the Workers’ Compensation Claim Page on our website.
In a limited number of cases, an injured worker will also be able to file a lawsuit to recover for his or her injuries. Most of the time, this isn’t possible because workers’ compensation is the sole legal remedy available. But three major exceptions to this rule apply.
First, a third party is responsible for the injury. For example, let’s say a commercial truck driver loses control of his truck. After the accident investigation, it turns out faulty brakes caused the crash. Even though the truck driver may have a workers’ compensation claim through his employer, he may also have a personal injury lawsuit against the company that made the brakes or the truck.
Second, the employer has no workers’ compensation insurance. Subject to a few exceptions, most businesses in Massachusetts with employees will have workers’ compensation insurance. If an employer is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance, but does not when a workplace injury occurs, it’s impossible for the injured worker to file a workers’ compensation claim. Should this unfortunate situation occur, the worker may be able to directly sue the employer in court.
The final exception deals with an injury that is the result of serious and willful misconduct by the employer. An employer that knowingly exposes its workers to harmful chemicals could find itself sued in court if a worker becomes injured due to the exposure.
Hiring an Attorney Following a Workplace Injury
One of the first things an injured worker might wonder about is if they need to hire an attorney. Despite what many daytime television ads claim, hiring an attorney is not always necessary. Often times, an employer or workers’ compensation insurance company will do the right thing and ensure the worker receives necessary medical care and any other benefits they may require.
But should the workers’ compensation insurance company or employer take steps to deny workers’ compensation benefits, consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is probably a good idea. In situations where the workplace injury is particularly severe, it’s smart to double check with an attorney. This is true no matter how cooperative the employer and workers’ compensation insurance company are. The attorney can make sure the worker is getting everything he or she is entitled to and see that everyone responsible for the accident is held accountable.
Do You Need to Talk with a Massachusetts Workplace Injury Attorney?
You may not ultimately need to hire an attorney, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for a free consultation and explain your situation. After just a few minutes, you can confirm whether your rights are fully protected or if hiring a lawyer is something you should look into. If you’ve been injured due one of these common workplace injuries, contact us today to arrange your free consultation. Let our experience work for you.