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Protecting the Rights of Injured Workers

Steve Wagner

In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nearly 3,000,000 recorded work-related injuries and illnesses. 908,300 of those injuries caused workers to miss days on-the-job. The average worker missed 8 days for those injuries or illnesses incurred.

In 2012, there were 4,383 fatal work-related injuries in the United States, including 1,044 roadway accidents, 668 fall or slip accidents, and 463 workplace homicides.

The most heartbreaking part of these statistics is that the majority of work related injuries are completely preventable. A large portion of work accidents occur for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Inadequate safety training
  • Misuse of equipment
  • Negligence of an employer
  • Overworking/Over-tired employees
  • Co-worker negligence
  • Lack of safety gear

When employers are diligent in their pursuit of safety, accidents are cut down to a minimum and workers are kept much safer. The sad truth is that it can often cost more money to be diligent about safety, and many employers may cut corners in order to boost their bottom line.

The worst part about all of this is that many employers can be difficult to work with once an employee has been injured. Companies or corporations may often try to deny allegations that they held any responsibility for the injury or illness. They have the insurance companies on their side, as well, because large payouts hurt both the employee’s company and their insurance company.

When an employee is injured, it is almost always an uphill battle to receive any type of compensation for their injuries, and it frequently turns into a David and Goliath battle between the
single employee and the much larger corporations.

Types of Injuries

The most common types of workplace injuries are lower extremity and knee injuries, followed closely by shoulder injuries, and then back/lumbar injuries.

Nationally, the most common ways these injuries occur are from slip and fall accidents, being struck by something (a falling object, moving equipment, a car in a construction zone, etc) and from overexertion in lifting heavy objects (one that could be totally avoided with the proper safety gear, training, and the use of heavy-lifting equipment).

These injuries occur most often in production environments, installation, maintenance and repair jobs, and construction and extraction sites. These types of jobs tend to be the most physically taxing and the work environments typically involve loud, heavy machinery that can make for an incredibly dangerous environment.

The Indiana Department of Labor, however, due to the large presence of farming and agriculture, reports differently than the national averages. The most “dangerous” jobs in Indiana in 2011 were agriculture (a 9.5% injury rate – well above the state’s average of 4.2 non-fatal injuries per 100 workers) manufacturing (an industry which suffered 23,700 injuries and illnesses that year – a 5.2% injury rate), healthcare and social assistance (17,300 injuries and illnesses – a 6.3% injury rate) and state and local government (13,500). Indiana suffered a total of 93,700 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2011.

Workplace Death and Homicide

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report thousands of men and women die each year in their workplaces, often leaving families and loved ones behind. Many of those families depend on the income of the loved one who was killed, and without it, they will suffer greatly and face major lifestyle changes.

Whether the death is caused by a machinery malfunction, a work-incurred illness or a co-worker dispute, all of these men and women are entitled to wrongful death benefits to ensure their families are well cared for in their absence.

Fighting the Insurance Companies

While state governments and non-profit organizations work to fight for the rights of injured workers, insurance companies are fighting back against large payouts that hurt their bottom line.
In instances where a worker is injured, it only makes (financial) sense for an insurance company to combat the case and hold onto their money. Perhaps they might make up for their losses with increased premiums to the employer, but in the present, it never pays for an insurance company to pay.

This business practice frequently leaves injured workers with no compensation benefits. If their employer and insurance company can contest their case in court (which will delay potential benefits to the worker, often leaving them worse off than when they started) the companies can often save themselves thousands, possibly even millions of dollars.

Working with a Professional

Fighting these insurance companies and demanding compensation payments from an employer may seem like an impossible task. The truth is it is often impossible without the help of a professional.

The good news is that the work comp lawyers and wrongful death lawyers at Wagner Reese have decades of experience in securing compensation for injured workers and their families. When you partner with a professional, you want a law firm who handles these types of cases every day.

It is beneficial to have a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of work comp laws, as well as one who has dealt with difficult insurance companies. Our experts at Wagner Reese have exactly that; our history of success with work injury cases speaks for itself, and we promise we will work hard and fight for your right to the compensation you deserve.

The best part about our services is that they are free to obtain; meaning, we will not charge you any lawyer fees until we have secured your compensation and you actually have the money in hand to pay us. We understand the difficulties to stay afloat without your income, or without the income of the loved one you lost, and we will never let finances stand in the way of your rights. Give us a call today for more information on how we can assist you. Schedule your free workers’ compensation consultation at (888) 204-8440.


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