Despite strict health and safety regulations, a significant number of people experience workplace injuries each year. According to the latest statistics, 2.7 million Americans working in private industry sustained non-fatal workplace injuries in 2020 alone, with a further 544,600 people suffering work-related illnesses, which highlights just how dangerous the workplace can be.
Being an office worker may not be amongst the riskiest professions, but an office environment can present a range of hazards which often result in harm. But what can you do if you’ve been injured at work?
Inform Your Employer
Depending on the severity of the accident, your employer may be immediately aware that you’ve been hurt, but if not, make sure you inform them as quickly as possible. Most employers have regulations regarding reporting, so be sure to check your contract or workplace handbook to find out how you should notify management.
If in doubt, make your employer aware that you’ve been hurt in writing, so that you can rely on this documentation in the future, if you need to. Not only will this protect any future claims you might want to make but it will also enable your employer to take steps to increase workplace safety and prevent other people from getting hurt.
Seek Medical Attention
The nature of your injuries will determine whether you need urgent, life-saving medical assistance or whether you’re able to seek help via a visit to the Emergency Room or a local medical clinic. However, many people experience shock when they’re involved in an accident, and this can temporarily mask pain. As a result, you may not realize how serious your injuries are straight away, which is why it’s so important to seek medical help, regardless of whether you’ve been involved in a traumatic accident or simple slip, trip, and fall.
When you obtain medical assistance following a workplace accident, you can ensure that your injuries are formally recorded, but you can also get a full diagnosis. This means that all your injuries will be properly assessed, and the appropriate treatment can be arranged. Swift treatment can significantly improve patient outcomes, so don’t hesitate to seek medical help following an office accident.
Claim Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation provides employees with financial compensation if they’ve been injured or contracted an illness in the course of their duties. After all, why should you suffer financial harm because of an incident that occurred at your workplace?
The latest statistics show that 147,918 non-fatal injuries were reported to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, while 2,654,700 were reported across the U.S. but not every claim is necessarily successful. As the claims process can be complex, it’s often advisable to seek legal advice to maximize your chances of successfully obtaining compensation. With help from a workers’ comp lawyer, you can establish your right to claim compensation, accurately calculate the economic losses you’ve incurred and proceed with a claim in accordance with the relevant timescales and statutory requirements.
Consider Further Legal Action
Although workers’ compensation is designed to ensure you don’t suffer financial loss because of a workplace accident or illness, it doesn’t include damages for non-economic harm, such as pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
However, if your employer was responsible for the incident that caused your injuries or illness, you may be able to make a claim against them directly. Again, accessing legal advice is an important way of determining what your legal rights are after an office accident, how much compensation you could be owed and when you should make a claim.
What Types of Injuries Can You Make a Claim For?
Many people assume that you can only obtain workers’ comp or take action against your employer if you’ve sustained traumatic or life-changing injuries, but this isn’t the case. In 2020, more than a third of injuries reported to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation were sprains, while contusions, crushing and bruising accounted for 17.5% of cases, and cuts, lacerations and puncture wounds were the source of 14.1% reportable cases.
As you can see, your injuries don’t necessarily need to be serious or require extensive medical treatment to warrant a claim for workers’ compensation. Providing you meet the eligibility criteria and have suffered economic loss due to the harm you suffered, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to obtain compensation following an office accident.
Common Office Accidents
Accidents can occur in all sorts of ways, but some are more common than others. For office workers, common injuries can include:
- Sprains, strains, and muscle injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Back pain
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Eye strain
However, many of these types of accidents and injuries could be prevented if employers took workplace safety a little more seriously. When a workplace becomes cluttered, for example, the rate of slips, trips and falls can increase. Alternatively, if employees aren’t provided with adequate office furniture, the risk of back pain and repetitive motion injuries can be heightened.
Are You Owed Compensation?
If you’ve been injured at work and you’re unsure whether you’re entitled to compensation, legal advice can help you to confirm your eligibility. With bespoke advice and assistance with your claim, you can simplify the process and discover exactly what type of compensation you’re eligible to obtain. Furthermore, you’ll be free to focus on your recovery while your legal team work to get you the compensation you deserve.