The purpose of workers’ compensation laws is to guarantee that employees who are injured or disabled while at work receive compensation for their injuries or disabilities. The laws also ensure that the benefits of those workers, if they are killed at work, go to their dependents.
In addition, some laws are written to protect employers and other employees by limiting:
- The amount a worker can recover in damages
- The liability of fellow employees
State laws apply to most employees and vary by state. Federal laws apply to federal employees or those who work in some significant form of interstate commerce.
Four primary types of major disability compensation programs are overseen by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs of the US Department of Labor:
- Wage replacement benefits
- Medical treatment
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Other benefits to workers and their dependents
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2010 almost 3.1 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers. This equaled an incidence rate of 3.5 cases for every 100 equivalent full-time workers.
The rate of injury and illnesses was highest among mid-size companies or those who employed between 50 and 249 workers. The rate was lowest among small companies or those employing fewer than 11 workers.
According to the Workplace Safety Index, some of the most common injuries on the job include:
- Overexertion: This type of injury is related to pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying and throwing. The overexertion category has consistently rated as having the highest number of injuries according to most surveys and statistical analyses.
- Falls on a level surface: Examples are falls on a wet and slippery office floor or falls on snow-covered sidewalks entering the workplace.
- Falls from an elevated level: This would include falls on stairways or from roofs and ladders.
- Bodily reaction: These are injuries that are caused by slipping and tripping, but not falling.
- Struck by an object: These injuries include objects that fall from shelves or are dropped by another person.
- Struck against an object: These injuries include situations in which someone runs into an object such as walls, doors, glass windows, cabinets, or tables and chairs.
- Caught in or compressed by an object: These injuries usually occur in factories where heavy machinery is used.
- Repetitive motion injuries: These include injuries due to typing or using a computer that can strain muscles and tendons, and cause back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome or problems with eyesight.
- Assaults and violent acts: These include violence by other employees and by others.
- Exposure to extreme temperatures.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you were injured at work, or have developed a condition or illness related to your occupation, you should speak with a qualified attorney to make sure you receive the maximum amount of compensation owed to you by law. To schedule a consultation with a San Diego workers’ compensation attorney, contact The Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C. today.