Workplace accidents are a significant category within personal injury law. They occur when an employee is injured or becomes ill due to conditions or incidents at their place of work. This guide will help you understand what constitutes a workplace accident, how to prove negligence, and the damages you can recover in a workplace accident lawsuit.
Non-Fatal vs Fatal Occupational Injuries
According to recent data, In 2019, there were approximately 86,000 work-related injuries and illnesses reported by employers across the private and public sector workforce. A total of 98 workers lost their lives while working in Massachusetts in 2018, while the number declined to 86 in 2019. Across the United States, 5,250 workers died from work-related injuries in 2018, and the number increased slightly to 5,333 in 2019.
While any workplace injury is cause for concern, it’s important to note the significant difference between fatal and non-fatal incidents. Fatal injuries can result in devastating consequences for both the worker and their family, such as loss of income, medical expenses, and emotional trauma. Non-fatal injuries, on the other hand, can still have serious impacts on a worker’s life but are more likely to result in temporary disability, lost wages, and medical bills.
Employers have an ethical and legal responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This includes providing proper training, following safety protocols, and regularly reviewing and updating their policies to ensure compliance with industry standards. By prioritizing workplace safety, employers not only protect their workers from harm but also mitigate the risks of costly lawsuits and legal penalties.
It’s crucial that both employers and employees take workplace safety seriously. Simple measures, such as wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), reporting and addressing hazards, and taking regular breaks, can go a long way in preventing both fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries. By working together, we can create safer work environments for everyone.
What Constitutes Workplace Accidents?
Workplace accidents encompass a wide range of incidents, including:
- Slip and Fall Accidents: These occur due to wet floors, uneven surfaces, or poor lighting at the workplace.
- Equipment Accidents: These involve injuries caused by machinery or equipment.
- Exposure to Hazardous Substances: This includes illnesses or injuries caused by exposure to chemicals or other hazardous materials.
- Overexertion Injuries: These result from heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling.
- Workplace Violence: This involves physical injuries caused by altercations or attacks at the workplace.
- Stress: Repetitive microtasks can cause physical stress or strain on certain parts of the body.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2017, there were 882,730 cases of occupational injuries and illnesses. Out of these cases, 11% were due to overexertion in lifting or lowering, 64% of bone fractures occurred in service industries accidents, and 62% of slips, trips, and falls happened on the same level. Workers’ compensation coverage usually applies even if the employee was responsible for the injury. Employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to safeguard their employees when they are injured this way.
Proving Negligence in a Workplace Accident Case
Proving negligence in a workplace accident case involves demonstrating that the employer failed to provide a safe working environment, leading to your injury. Here are key steps involved:
- Evidence of Unsafe Conditions: Photos, videos, or witness statements can document the hazardous conditions that led to your accident.
- Violation of Safety Regulations: Evidence that the employer violated safety regulations can strengthen your case.
- Medical Records: These can establish the extent and cause of your injuries.
- Expert Testimony: Safety experts can testify about the standard of care and how the employer’s actions deviated from it.
Recoverable Damages in a Workplace Accident Lawsuit
In a workplace accident lawsuit, you may be able to recover damages for:
- Medical Expenses: This includes costs for medical treatment, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation.
- Lost Wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you can seek compensation for lost income and loss of earning capacity.
- Pain and Suffering: This refers to the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: This compensates for the loss of enjoyment of normal life activities.
It’s better if workplace accidents don’t happen in the first place. To prevent accidents, you should first become aware of the safety hazards in your work environment and understand them. Next, develop an action plan to prevent these risks from causing harm in your workplace.
Workplace accidents can have serious implications, but you don’t have to navigate them alone. At Cutler Law Boston, we’re committed to helping you understand your rights, prove negligence, and seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.