When you are at work, you deserve a safe environment that keeps you out of harm's way. Unfortunately, in some industries, that is simply impossible. In all lines of work, though, your employer should take reasonable steps to ensure your safety from the time you clock in until the moment you have clocked out. If they fail in this regard and you end up getting hurt in a workplace accident, you deserve to be compensated for your losses.
If you or someone you love gets hurt in a workplace accident in New Jersey, reach out to the personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen to get the legal help you need.
Workplace Accidents are Common
Regardless of your line of work, workplace accidents and injuries can happen. Even in the safest of offices, you can develop debilitating carpal tunnel syndrome from misaligned desks and office chairs, or can get terribly sick from fungus-infested ventilation systems. At more dangerous jobs like construction or manufacturing, though, workplace accidents are a constant fact of life.
Numbers from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show how bad workplace accidents can be. According to their most recent report, 4,379 private sector workers suffered fatal injuries while on the job in 2015. The agencies have also released their estimates for nonfatal workplace injuries in 2016, finding that there were approximately 2.9 million injuries and illnesses that year. That meant nearly 3 out of every 100 workers in the U.S. had suffered a workplace injury.
The real numbers, however, are likely higher than those reported by OSHA and the BLS because the official tally relies on data that is self-reported by employers who have an interest in making their workplaces seem safer than they actually are. A 2014 article in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that 9 in 10 employers were not complying with OSHA's regulations on how to keep records of workplace accidents and injuries.
Workers' Compensation is Often Inadequate
One of the things that injured workers often hear is that they can only seek redress for their losses through their state's workers' compensation scheme. While workers' compensation is one place you can seek recovery, it does not necessarily have to be the only one. Depending on the circumstances of the workplace accident, you could be entitled to recovering from one or more of a variety of different people or parties, including:
- The owner or manager of the premises where you got hurt,
- The maker of a product that proved to be defective and hurt you when it broke,
- The manufacturer of a toxic substance that you came in contact with while on the job,
- Your employer, if you were hurt by their intentional or exceptionally poor conduct or failure to keep you safe, and
- If you were hurt by someone else while on the job, like in a car crash, you can sue them for your losses.
Do not take someone else's word for it when they say you have to stop after filing a workers' compensation claim.
Types of Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents come in a wide variety of shapes and forms. Some, however, are far more common than others, though the specific context of the working environment plays a huge part.
In total, one of the most common ways to get seriously hurt in a workplace accident is a fall or other sudden trauma. This is especially true in the construction context, where workers are often high off the ground on ladders and rooftops. Many of these workplace accidents, however, are the result of defective ladders, poorly designed or improperly constructed scaffolds, or hazardous floors that cause workers to slip and fall.
Workers who do the same thing every day at their job are more likely to suffer a repetitive motion injury. Assembly line workers or even office workers who sit at their computers and type for hours every day can develop debilitating medical conditions if their employer does not take reasonable steps to ensure their safety.
Other workplace accidents result in injuries that are not apparent for some time. Exposure to dangerous chemicals or substances for long periods of time while on the job is a common issue in many industries. This type of workplace accident includes a situation that is often overlooked: Hostile or highly stressful work environments can cause a psychological or emotional workplace injury that takes time and medical attention to overcome.
Causes of Workplace Accidents
One reason employers often push injured workers down the workers' compensation path and insist there is no other action for them to take is that employers can be held liable for workplace accidents in a variety of situations. After all, employers have an obligation to their workers to give them a safe working environment, and many workplace accidents only happen because they failed to do this effectively.
Employers can even be liable for your losses from a workplace accident if the cause of the accident was one of your coworkers. If the coworker was inadequately or improperly trained, liability for the accident could extend back to your employer for not teaching them well enough.
New Jersey Workplace Accident Attorneys
Getting hurt in a workplace accident is frustrating because most people are only at work because they need to make a living. However, it can also be financially crippling if you do not get the compensation that you need and deserve. Not only are the medical bills for many workplace injuries very steep, but the inability to work while you recover can prevent you and your family from making any income while you are healing. Rushing through the healing process so you can get back to work often results in a setback that only exacerbates the situation.
This is why the personal injury attorneys at the New Jersey law office of Lavery, Selvaggi, Abromitis & Cohen fight for the rights and interests of hurt workers. Contact us online or call our law office at (908) 852-2600.